Abbildungen der Seite

tides; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.

§ 103. This provision is borrowed from the British Constitution, where the Commons, or Lower House, are the exclusive representatives of the people. In the United States it has been continued, in consequence of the Senators being rather the representatives of the state governments than of the people.

§ 104. Bills for raising revenue do not include every bill which brings money into the treasury; for, bills for establishing the Post-office, and the Mint, originated in the Senate; so also bills for the sale of public lands, though directly productive of money, are not included in this phrase: its proper meaning is confined to bills to levy taxes.

§ 105. 2d clause. Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that House it shall become a law. But, in all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner, as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.

§ 106. The power of the President to return bills with his objections has been repeatedly exercised. It

was exercised, we have seen, by General Washington, in respect to the bill fixing the ratio of representation; by President Monroe, in 1817, on the Internal Improvement Bill; by President Jackson on the Maysville road, the United States Bank, and in other cases.

$ 107. This power, and the mode of its exercise, are so clearly defined by the Constitution as to admit of little doubt or misconception. If the President abuse the Veto, it is presumed the representatives of the people will pass the bill in question, by the constitutional majority of two-thirds.

§ 108. If a bill be not presented to the President more than ten days before the end of the session, the President has it in his power to defeat it, by simply withholding his signature, for he is obliged to return it with objections (if he has any) only within ten days; of course, if Congress by adjournment prevent that return within that time, the bill must fail, if not signed by the President.

$ 109. 3d clause. Every order, resolution, or vote to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment), shall be presented to the President of the United States, and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

$ 110. The “order, resolution, or vote" to which the President's signature is, by this section, required, are not those orders, resolutions, and votes which relate to the separate and internal government of each House. Rules of order, resolutions in respect to their own conduct, judgments upon their own elections, votes of censure and thanks, being matters exclusively relating to themselves, do not come within the scope of this provision.


Clause 1st. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States:

§ 112. This clause, divided by the semicolon, does not confer upon Congress two separate powers, one « to lay and collect taxes,” &c. and the other to “provide for the general welfare;” but it is the grant of one pou. er, viz. 6 to lay and collect taxes," &c.-limited by the object, which is for the purpose of providing for the general welfare.91

§ 113. Taxes are of two kinds,—direct and indirect. Direct taxes are all burthens imposed immediately upon the person or estate of the citizen; thus, a tax upon houses, lands, money, &c. is a direct tax: indirect taxes are the burdens imposed upon articles of consumption, and chiefly upon imported articles; thus, the revenue, or duty levied upon each yard of broadcloth, or cotton sheeting, brought to this country from abroad, is an indirect tax.

§ 114. Indirect taxes increase the price of imported articles, and thus act as a burden upon those who purchase them. The difference between the two modes of taxation is this: direct taxes act directly upon the person and property of the citizen, and is independent of his will; indirect taxes, by being imposed upon articles imported from foreign countries, or used in consumption, leave the people at liberty to pay them or not, by using or not using the articles upon which they are imposed. Thus, a farmer cannot avoid the payment of a tax levied upon his land, but he may avoid the payment of the duty upon coffee, by not using it. And previous to the

iJefferson's Opinion on the Bank of the United States, 1791; Monroe's Message, May, 1822; Hamilton's Report, Dec. 1791; 9 Wheaton's Rep. 199.

Revolution, such was the fact, as we all know, in relation to the duty upon tea. The people, by a patriotic impulse and common consent, abstained from the use of tea, and thus prevented the levying of the duty.

§ 115. In general, all the necessaries of life, such as coarse clothing, bread, meat, fruit, wood, and iron, are the productions of our own country,—so that the whole import duty, or nearly the whole revenue of the country, as now lèvied, is a mere matter of voluntary contribution

upon the part of each and every citizen; hence it is that indirect taxes, being in a measure unfelt and voluntary, are comparatively popular, while direct taxes are more or less odious.

§ 116. The terms imposts and duties, as now used, are nearly synonymous;' but originally, the word duty had a general signification, as it respects taxes, of which imposts was a particular application. Now they are applied indiscriminately to the revenue obtained from imported articles.

§ 117. The term excise is defined to be a duty on commodities, but of late it has been confined to a tax on domestic distilled liquors. In this sense it is a tax, not only on the productions of the country, but also a tax on the manufacture of them: it is a tax, at once, upon the raw material and the labor put upon it. Such a double duty, it is obvious, could never be imposed by the Legislature, nor borne by any people, but from a conviction in a large portion of the community, of the disastrous influence of spirituous liquors, and a strong desire to repress their use. Even with this conviction


the intelligent, an excise duty has never been imposed but in time of great public emergency, and then at the risk of civil war.

In the year 1793, Congress laid an excise duty on distilled spirits, and appointed inspectors, officers, &c. to collect it. This law became so excessively odious to a portion of the people, that potwith

I Madison's Letter on the Tariff.

standing the unrivalled popularity and commanding influence of General Washington, who was then President, they were excited, especially in the neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, into open acts of violence. The inspectors were attacked in their houses, the mails robbed, the marshal resisted, and numerous other outrages, amounting to open insurrection, were committed.' At length, the President called out the militia, and by the display of superior force, and the determination to use it, quelled the insurgents. In this brief history, we see the effect of excise duties, of which the chief cause, next to the appetite for spirituous liquors, may be found in the onerous nature of a tax both upon labor and production.

$ 118. But all duties, imposts, and excises, must be uniform. In the case of Hylton vs. United States, the Supreme Court decided that a duty levied indiscriminately upon all carriages was not a direct tax, and was therefore properly laid, and uniform. Had it been a direct tax, it must, according to a previous provision of the Constitution, (( 42), have been apportioned in proportion to the population of the several states.

$ 119. In the case of Loughborough vs. Blake, the court decided that the power of Congress to tax extended over the District of Columbia, and all other territories; that the power of taxation was co-extensive with the government, but that when exercised, direct taxes must be in proportion to the population. The court decided that Congress were not obliged to extend taxation to the territories, although when they did so, the Constitution gave a rule of assessment.

§ 120. 2d clause. To borrow money on the credit of the United States:

This power has been constantly exercised, and for the plain reason that no state or government could

15 Marshall's Washington, 585. 23 Dallas, 171,
35 Wheaton, 317.

« ZurückWeiter »