Necessary and Proper Clause

Essay by cowgirl88High School, 11th grade April 2005

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The United States Constitution was first established in 1787 as an improvement to the Articles of Confederation, the first instituted form of government of America. Since then, the Constitution has been relied upon by every citizen as a guide to how American life has been and should be. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." This provision is also known as the "Necessary and Proper Clause," and is dramatically important, for it is from this that the implied powers flow. Implied powers are those which are inferred from the expressed powers. Many events in the history of the United States have relied upon the "Necessary and Proper Clause."

        One such case, proposed by Alexander Hamilton, was that of the construction of a national bank. Opponents argued that nowhere did the Constitution grant Congress the power to establish such a bank. This group of people was known as strict-constructionists who believed that the government had only those powers expressly granted to it by the Constitution and those powers absolutely necessary to carry out those expressed powers. Hamilton looked to the "Necessary and Proper Clause" who claimed that it gave Congress the power to do anything that was reasonably related to the exercise of the expressed powers. As for the National Bank, Hamilton argued, it was necessary and proper to the execution of the taxing, borrowing, commerce, and currency powers, all of which are expressed powers of the Constitution. Hamilton won his argument, and the Bank of the United States was established in 1791.

        Another such...