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[145] state and ‘national’ authority subordinated to the extreme authority of Congress, as the supreme power, in the peril of external or internal hostilities. The ordinary provisions of the Constitution peculiar to a state of peace, and all laws and municipal regulations, were to yield to the force of martial law, as resolved by Congress. This was designated as the ‘war power’ of the United States government.

I should deem an apology due my readers, in offering for their perusal such insane extravagances, under a constitutional government of limited powers, had not this doctrine been adopted by the United States government and subsequently made the basis of some most revolutionary measures for the emancipation of the African slaves and the enslavement of the free citizens of the South. One must allow that the Chamber of Deputies of the French National Assembly of 1798 had some claims to a respectable degree of political virtue when compared with the Thirtyseventh Congress and the Executive of the United States.

The specious argument for this tremendous and sweeping usurpation, designated as the ‘war power,’ as presented by its adherents, may be stated in a few words, thus: the Constitution confers on Congress all the specific powers incident to war, and then further authorizes it ‘to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.’ The words are these:

Congress shall have power to declare war; to grant letters of marque and reprisal; to make rules concerning captures on land and water; to raise and support armies; to provide and maintain a navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; to provde for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasion; and 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.1

It will be seen that this unlimited, despotic power was claimed for Congress in the conduct of the war under the last clause above, viz., ‘to make all laws which . . . ’; whereas no one familiar with the rules of legal interpretation will seriously contend that the powers of Congress are one atom greater by the insertion of this provision than they would have been if it had not appeared in the Constitution. The delegation of a power gives the incidental means necessary for its execution.

Another step in the usurpations begun for the destruction of slavery was the passage by Congress of an act for the emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia. The act emancipated all persons of African

1 Constitution of the United States, Article I, section 8.

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