Constitutionality of the National Bank:
The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution.
I. They are not among the powers specially enumerated...
II. Nor are they within either of the general phrases, which are the two following:-
1. "To lay taxes to provide for the general welfare of the United States." ... The [Congress] are not to do anything they please, to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose... It was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers, and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect...
2. The second general phase is, "to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers." But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank, therefore, is not necessary, and consequently not authorized by this phrase.
It has been much urged that a bank will give great facility or convenience in the collection of taxes. Suppose this were true; yet the Constitution allows only the means which are "necessary" not those which are merely "convenient," for effecting the enumerated power.
Return to: The Evils of Necessity, the National Bank
Constitutionality of the National Bank: Alexander Hamilton