The United States was founded as a limited-government republic. That meant a federal government with very few and limited powers. That’s what the Constitution was for — not only to bring the federal government into existence but also, at the same time, to set forth its few, limited powers. If a power wasn’t enumerated, then the federal government was not authorized to exercise it. A close examination of the Constitution shows how few and limited such powers were.
Why didn’t the Framers instead use the Constitution to bring into existence a government with omnipotent powers? After all, in this new governmental scheme, the president and the Congress were to be democratically elected. Why not vest them with the power to do anything they deemed necessary and beneficial to the country? Why tie their hands with few and limited powers?
The reason is simple: The American people would never have accepted that type of government. Remember: After the Revolution, the American people had been operating for 13 years under the Articles of Confederation, a type of governmental system in which each state retained its independence and sovereignty. Under the articles, the states had simply come together in a confederation. Under this type of governmental system, the federal government’s powers were so few and limited that the federal government didn’t even have the power to tax.
That’s the way the American people wanted it. The last thing they wanted was a federal government of general, omnipotent powers to do the “right” thing for the nation. Americans were convinced that that type of governmental system would end up being a grave threat to their freedom and well-being…..Read More