[Back to the Unit Three Summary]
Alexander Hamilton, "Opinion on the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States" (1791)

Hamilton supported the bank and defended its constitutionality from Jefferson's attacks.  Think carefully about how Hamilton's position on the constitutionality of the bank reflected Federalist ideology.

If the end be clearly comprehended within any of the specified powers, and if the measure have an obvious relation to that end, and is not forbidden by any provision of the Constitution, it may safely be deemed to come within the compass of national authority.

There is also this further criterion, which may materially assist the decision: Does the proposed measure abridge a pre-existing right of any state or of any individual? If it does not, there is a strong presumption in favor of its constitutionality...

... "Necessary" often means no more than needful, requisite, incidental, useful, or conducive to... [A] restrictive interpretation of the word "necessary" is also contrary to the sound maxim of construction, namely, that the powers contained in a constitution... ought to be construed liberally in advancement of the public good.

A hope is entertained that it has, by this time, been made to appear to the satisfaction of the President, that a bank has a natural relation to the power of collecting taxes--to that of regulating trade--doe that of providing for the common defense--and that, as the bill under consideration contemplates the government in the light of a joint proprietor of the stock of the bank, it brings the case within the provision of the clause of the Constitution which immediately respects [relates to] the property of the United States [Evidently Article IV, Sec. III, para. 2: "The Congress shall have the power to... make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States..."]
[Back to the Unit Three Summary]