The Government Class Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 319 pages of information about The Government Class Book.

Sec.10.  The next clause provides that “no money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law.”  This places the public money beyond the reach or control of the executive or any other officer, and secures it in the hands of the representatives of the people.  In pursuance of this provision, congress, at every session, passes laws specifying the objects for which money is to be appropriated.  The latter part of the clause requires, that “a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.”  And it is by law made the duty of the secretary of the treasury to make to congress annually such statement, which is published by order of congress; so that the people may know for what purposes the public money is expended.

Sec.11.  It is next declared, that “no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States.”  Although the bare titles of lord, duke, &c., which are conferred upon citizens in monarchical governments, could not add to the political power of any person under our constitution; yet, as it is desirable that there should be equality of rank as well as of political rights, it is proper that congress should be prohibited from creating titles of nobility.  And to guard public officers against being corrupted by foreign influence, they are forbidden to “accept of any present, emolument, office, or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

Chapter XXXVIII.

Prohibitions on the States.

Sec.1.  The next section contains restrictions on the powers of the states.  “No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation.” [For the definition of treaty and the manner in which a treaty is made, see Chapter XL:  Sec.3-5.] An alliance is a union between two or more nations, by a treaty, or contract, for their mutual benefit. Confederation and alliance, have nearly the same meaning.  If the states, separately, were allowed to make treaties or form alliances with foreign powers, the rights and interests of one state might be injured by the treaties made by another state.  As the states united constitute but one nation, it is obvious that the power to treat with other nations properly belongs to the general government.  If the states also had the power, they might counteract the policy of the national government.

Sec.2.  Nor may a state “grant letters of marque and reprisal.”  If, as has been shown, this power is properly given to congress, it could not be safely intrusted to the states. (Chap.  XXXVI, Sec.5.)

Sec.3.  The power to “coin money” is also prohibited to the states.  It was given to the general government to secure a uniform currency. (Chap.  XXXIV, Sec.7.) But this object would not be likely to be attained, if the power to coin money were exercised by the states.

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The Government Class Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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