Ep. 33: U.S. Constitution – Art. I, Sec. 8 – Limited Powers of Congress, Part 5

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Ep. 33: U.S. Constitution - Art. I, Sec. 8 - Limited Powers of Congress, Part 5
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Show Notes

In this episode, Jason continues the discussion about Article I, Section 8 focusing on clauses 11 – 14. He describes how Congress may declare war, but the President is left to conduct war or repel attacks and invasions. Jason also talks about how the Framers intended to prevent a standing army, but not a standing navy and the reasons why.

[11]“[The Congress shall have Power]… To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

[12] “[The Congress shall have Power] … To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;”

[13] “[The Congress shall have Power] …To provide and maintain a Navy;”

[14] “[The Congress shall have Power] …To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;”

  • Jason’s article “On General Welfare”
  • Records of the Federal Convention (see vol 1, vol 2, vol 3).
  • Definition of “Marque” from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
    • “Letters of marque are letters of reprisal; a license or extraordinary commission granted by a sovereign of one state to his subjects, to make reprisals at sea on the subjects of another, under pretense of indemnification for injuries received. marque is said to be from the same root as marches, limits, frontiers, and literally to denote a license to pass the limits of a jurisdiction on land, for the purpose of obtaining satisfaction for theft by seizing the property of the subjects of a foreign nation. I can give no better account of the origin of this word.”
  • Definition of “Reprisal” from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary:
    • Something seized by way of retaliation for robbery or injury.
  • Definition of “Reprisal” from Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
    • 1. The seizure or taking of any thing from an enemy by way of retaliation or indemnification for something taken or detained by him.
    • 2. That which is taken from an enemy to indemnify an owner for something of his which the enemy has seized. Reprisals may consist of persons or of goods. Letters of marque and reprisal may be obtained in order to seize the bodies or goods of the subjects of an offending state, until satisfaction shall be made.
    • 3. Recaption; a retaking of a man’s own goods or any of his family, wife, child or servant, wrongfully taken from him or detained by another. In this case, the owner may retake the goods or persons wherever he finds them.
    • Letters of marque and reprisal a commission granted by the supreme authority of a state to a subject, empowering him to pass the frontiers [marque, ] that is, enter an enemy’s territories and capture the goods and persons of the enemy, in return for goods or persons taken by him.
    • 4. The act of retorting on an enemy by inflicting suffering or death on a prisoner taken from him, in retaliation of an act of inhumanity.”

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