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Source & Citation Info

title:“James Madison to Judge Roane”
authors:James Madison
date written:1819-9-2

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:59 a.m. UTC
retrieved:May 11, 2021, 7:54 p.m. UTC

Madison, James. "Letter to Judge Roane." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

James Madison to Judge Roane (September 2, 1819)

September 2, 1819.
It could not but happen, and was foreseen at the birth of the Constitution, that difficulties and differences of opinion might occasionally arise in expounding terms and phrases necessarily used in such a charter; more especially those which divide legislation between the general and local governments; and that it might require a regular course of practice to liquidate and settle the meaning of some of them. But it was anticipated, I believe, by few, if any, of the friends of the Constitution, that a rule of construction would be introduced as broad and pliant as what has occurred.1 And those who recollect, and, still more, those who shared in what passed in the State conventions, through which the people ratified the Constitution, with respect to the extent of the powers vested in Congress, cannot easily be persuaded that the avowal of such a rule would not have prevented its ratification.
[Footnotes as included or written by Farrand]
  • 1 Decision of Supreme Court in McCulloch vs. Maryland.
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