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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, March 30, 1868
Volume 142, Page 2168   View pdf image (33K)
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1868.] OF THE SENATE. 755

and deliberate upon measures of public policy, representative

agents of the people are at once a palpable necessity ; and
the highest object of the Constitution is to define and limit

their powers and duties. The Representative is but the
agent of the people ; and the Constitution is the warrant of
his authority. It is his power of attorney, and he cannot
transcend the limit of its authority. Nay, he is required to
make solemn oath to support the Constitution and be bound
by its restrictions.

The Constitution plainly enumerates and defines the
powers of Congress ; and by all rules of legal interpretation,

that body could assume no power not expressly granted

therein. But the people, jealous of the growing anxiety of

their agents for more power, and fearing their public ser-
vants should aspire to rule as masters, determined, after a
short experience, to add the Tenth Amendment to the Con-
stitution, which provides tható

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the

Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved
to the States respectively, or to the people."

The force of this constitutional inhibition is in nowise
weakened as regards the Congress, because it applies alike
to all the departments of the United States Government. It
is the people saying plainly to their public servants in the
United States Government, "you have your warrant of au-
thority, whatever powers are not expressly given you in the

Constitution, we, the people, reserve to our State Govern-
ments and to ourselves."

Where, therefore, the Federal Constitution, in the second
section of the first Article, provides that "No person shall
be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of
twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the
United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an in-
habitant of that State in which he shall be chosen," it has

defined all the qualifications which may be exacted by any
power or authority, save and except that each House may
require, in addition, satisfactory evidence that a member has

been legally elected.

The provision of the fifth section of the first Article, "That
each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and

qualifications of its own members," means only this, and

can be made to mean nothing more. Nor can the qualifica-
tion be altered or enlarged indirectly by the requirement of
an amplified oath ; for the Constitution not only prescribes
and defines all the qualifications that may be exacted, but as
plainly and definitely declares the oath which shall be re-

quired of a Representative in Congress. In the third clause

of Article six is provided: "The Senators and Representa-
tives before mentioned, and the members of the several State


 
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Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly, March 30, 1868
Volume 142, Page 2168   View pdf image (33K)
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  << PREVIOUS  NEXT >>


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