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No. 16 "The Constitution Still Stands" Speech of Jouett Shouse Delivered under the Auspices of the Young Men's Hebrew Association at St. Louis, Missouri, February 12, 1935. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky Am_Lib_Leag_16 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. No. 16 "The Constitution Still Stands" Speech of Jouett Shouse Delivered under the Auspices of the Young Men's Hebrew Association at St. Louis, Missouri, February 12, 1935. American Liberty League. American Liberty League. Washington, D.C. 1935. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Pamphlets Available Copies of the following pamphlets may be obtained upon application to the League's national headquarters: American Liberty League Speech by Jouett Shouse The Tenth Commandment Why, The American Liberty League? Statement of Principles and Purposes Progress vs. Change Speech by Jouett Shouse Recovery, Relief and the Constitution Speech by Jouett Shouse American Liberty League Its Platform An Analysis of the President's Budget Message N. R. A. Its Past, and Recommendations for the Future Analysis of the $4,880,000,000 Emergency Relief Appropriation Act Economic Security A Study of Proposed Legislation Democracy or Bureaucracy? Speech by Jouett Shouse The Bonus An Analysis of Legislative Pro- Write to AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. The Constitution Still Stands â˜… â˜… â˜… Speech of JOUETT SHOUSE President, American Liberty League, Delivered under the Auspices of the Young Men's Hebrew Association at St. Louis, Missouri, Tuesday Evening, February 12, 1935 AMERICAN LIBERTY LEAGUE T^ational Headquarters NATIONAL PRESS BUILDING WASHINGTON, D. C. 24 Document No. 16 The Constitution Still Stands â˜… In any attempted appraisal of the processes of our government we must bear in mind that all its powers come from the people. The Constitution is the expression of the will of the people. It can be changed only at their command. Laws enacted by the Congress must conform to the terms of the Constitution. The officials who administer those laws, as well as the legislators who make them, are answerable to the people. In the conduct both of the Federal government and of a State government, each of which is sovereign in its own field, the people are supreme. Without a system of checks and balances based on authorized laws, popular government might be perverted into mob rule. We have a constitutional government. By that is meant government according to fixed principles instead of by arbitrary power. A constitutional government is peculiar to a democracy. It could not prevail in an autocracy. Woodrow Wilson defined it as "one whose powers have been adapted to the interests of the people and to the maintenance of individual liberty." In a democracy the source of all sovereignty lies in the general body of citizens. In an autocracy the ruler is supreme. The United States has the most notable example of a written Constitution. While the British have what is broadly understood as a constitutional government, they do not have a written Constitution but instead rely upon customs handed down from ancient days, royal grants, the Magna Carta, the Habeas Corpus Act, the Bill of Rights, trial by jury and the common law to furnish their guiding principles. Government Agent of People The wisdom of those who wrote our Constitution has been justified by the experience of the years. The chief end of popular government is 3 the promotion of the interests of individuals. The government is the agent of the people in protecting their rights. When the government adopts rules which affect the individual it is motivated by a desire to further his best interests. Essential to popular government are freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the right to engage in political activity without restraint. When a government is autocratic instead of democratic, civil or military officials, deriving their powers not from the people but from a ruler, are in control. Instead of promotion of the best interests of the people, the primary concern of an autocratic government is to satisfy the ambitions and build up the power of the ruler or of the state. In an autocracy the governing powers often conceive it in the interest of the state to sacrifice the rights of the individual. Thus control is exercised in matters affecting religion, education, politics and expression of opinion both on the platform and in the press. The lives and habits of the people are not their own to direct. Theoretically a benevolent despotism might furnish the most perfect government. The American people, however, are not willing to surrender their liberty to attempt an experiment of this sort. It is inherent in the American system that the collective judgment of a group of chosen representatives of the people shall be supreme over that of any one official. The excesses of present day dictatorships in European countries have confirmed the soundness of this viewpoint. In constructing the framework for our system of popular government the founding fathers might have chosen either pure democracy or representative government. In their view it was wiser to attempt a system half way between. In a pure democracy the voters would administer directly the affairs of state, passing upon all questions of policy and selecting and advising administrative officials. In a representative government the voters choose their representatives, upon whom rests full responsibility in determination of policies. The all-powerful British Parliament forms an example of pure representative 4 government. The American system is a mixture of democracy and representative government because the framers of the Constitution realized that there were dangers in democracy as well as in autocracy. They sought to avoid the perils and at the same time to give individual citizens the largest possible voice in the management of the Nation. The Declaration of Independence, signed in 1776, marked the revolt of the people of the thirteen colonies against the oppression of the British Crown. At that time the colonies had been brought into close association through developments during the hundred and fifty years their settlement had been in progress. All of them had given allegiance to Great Britain, but each was independent of the others. With the Declaration of Independence the colonies became independent States. Sixteen months later, on November 15, 1777, the Continental Congress adopted Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. The Revolutionary War was in progress and some such measure of conjoint government was necessary. The Congress of the Confederation was given authority to manage the War and to handle foreign relations. It also had the power to establish a postal service and to manage Indian affairs, and, with the consent of nine States, it could make treaties, borrow on the joint credit, coin money and issue bills of credit. It could not levy taxes, however, and was obliged to depend upon the raising of funds through quotas assigned to the States. Difficulties under Confederation During that early period any sacrifice of the independence of the States was vigorously resisted. So reluctant were some of them to approve even the meager authority conferred upon the central government in the Confederation that the last of them did not ratify its Articles until 1781. With the conclusion of peace in 1783 the States were even more inclined to go their separate ways. There was little interest in the central government. State Constitutions were adopted, but there were grave difficulties which 5 needed to be overcome. The Confederation of the States lacked money to pay the Army or to pay interest on the debt accumulated during the Revolutionary War. The absence of authority to regulate trade created difficulties. It became essential, finally, that definite action must be taken to strengthen the Union. Accordingly a Constitutional Convention was assembled in May of 1787 in the City of Philadelphia for the ostensible purpose of supplementing and strengthening the Articles of Confederation. While the Constitution has proved adequate in a remarkable degree to the changing conditions of successive generations, it must not be supposed that it was the result of unanimous agreement among the fifty-five men making up the Convention. Its final draft was signed on September 17, 1787, by thirty-nine members, but few even of that number regarded it with complete approval. It represented a compromise of many important views. It set up a double form of government in an effort to satisfy the extremists on both sides those who wanted a stronger centralized Federal Government and those who wished the States to maintain their full powers unimpaired. In consideration of present day proposals for broadening the activities of the Federal Government it should be emphasized that by the express terms of the Constitution the Federal Government derived its powers from the States, and such powers as were not conferred upon the Federal Government remained in the States. The necessary nine States ratified the Constitution by mid-summer of 1788. Following an election arranged by the Congress of the old Confederation, the new government took office on April 30, 1789. It was not until a year later, however, that Rhode Island, last of the thirteen States, fell into line with its ratification of the Constitution. So flexible have the provisions of the Constitution proved to be that relatively few amendments have been necessary during the nearly hundred and forty-six years since George Washington took office as the first President. In all, twenty- one amendments have been adopted. The first ten, embracing the Bill of Rights, should have been included in the original draft. They were submitted immediately by the Congress and were added at one time, their ratification being completed in 1791. The Eleventh and Twelfth Amendments, the former adopted in 1798 and the latter in 1804, were designed to clarify what appeared to be ambiguities in the original document. The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, ratified successively in 1865, 1868 and 1870, grew out of the Civil War. The Sixteenth Amendment, permitting the imposition of income taxes, was ratified in 1913, and the same year the Seventeenth Amendment, providing for the direct election of United States Senators, became effective. The Eighteenth Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors, was ratified in 1919. The Nineteenth Amendment, authorizing woman suffrage, was ratified in 1920. The Twentieth Amendment, abolishing the "lame duck" session of Congress and changing the dates on which the President, Vice President and members of Congress take office, was ratified in January of 1933. The most recent Amendment, the Twenty-first, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment, was ratified December 5, 1933. The Bill of Rights It was to obtain release from oppression by a government in which they had no representation that our fathers fought the Revolutionary War. The principle of liberty overshadowed all else in the successive steps which culminated in the formation of the American Government. The various guaranties of liberty in the Constitution are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. The idea of a Bill of Rights was not new with the framers of the Constitution. No doubt it had its origin in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, but also the thought and the principle and the substance were upheld in the constitutions adopted by the original States during the period between the Declaration of Independence and the framing of the Federal Constitution in 1787. 7 As originally adopted the Federal Constitution contained no bill of rights. It included several clauses protecting persons accused of crime, but there were no guaranties in other cases. This was a serious defect, and was so regarded. Indeed, the omission of a bill of rights was the basis of many of the most serious objections to ratification of the Constitution by the States. Just five months after the new government under Washington had taken office the Congress submitted to the States the ten amendments making up the Bill of Rights and they were ratified in 1791. Let us briefly review them. The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or infringing upon the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The Second Amendment provides that whereas a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and to bear arms shall not be infringed. The Third Amendment holds that no soldier, in time of peace, shall be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war save in a manner to be prescribed by law. The Fourth Amendment deals with search and seizure. It asserts that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated. It stipulates that no warrants shall be issued except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. The Fifth Amendment contains highly important guaranties relating to arrest for capital crimes and to deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. It provides that no person shall be held to answer for a capital offense or an infamous crime of some other nature, unless on indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in military or naval forces in actual service in time of war or public danger. It further asserts that no person shall be subject to be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense; that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, and that private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation. The Sixth Amendment states that in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, that he shall have the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him, the right of compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor and the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. The Seventh Amendment asserts that the right of trial by jury shall be preserved where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars and that no fact tried by jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States except according to the rules of the common law. The Eighth Amendment says that excessive bail shall not be required, or excessive fines imposed, or cruel or unusual punishments inflicted. The Ninth Amendment specifies that the enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or to disparage others retained by the people. The Tenth Amendment proclaims the important fact that 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. These ten amendments, constituting the Bill of Rights, represent essentially the protection of the citizen from attempted imposition of improper or unjust powers by government. The Constitution has been very properly designated as the living voice of the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights may be said to preserve to the citizen the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness upon which the Declaration of Independence was based. Many have felt impatient with the "due process" clause of the fifth section of the Bill of Rights by reason of the inhibition which it im- plies against far-reaching legislation of various kinds. Social and regulatory measures have had to run the gamut of the courts because of real or possible infringement upon the guaranty against deprivation of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The founders of our government were unquestionably wise in providing protection of our citizenship against excessive extension of Federal powers bearing upon life, liberty and property, and the American people should give careful thought to any suggestion that their privileges and protection in this regard should be impaired. Amendments Properly Difficult The Constitution itself sets out the methods through which it may be amended. Such amendment properly is made difficult in order that the people may have the opportunity to consider unhurriedly the necessity of change in their organic law. If a change in the Constitution becomes necessary in order to attain desirable objectives for which there is an overwhelming demand, such proposal should be submitted in an orderly manner. Those who would justify impatience with constitutional restraint or would counsel the attempt to pervert the Constitution through Congressional interpretation are acting not in the interest of the people of this country, but in the interest of some group which would upset the rights of the people contrary to the document formulated to insure their protection, their liberty and their happiness. To any student of modern trends it is apparent that there have been serious invasions of constitutional principles in at least two specific fields. One is encroachment on the rights expressly reserved to the States and thus the establishment of a centralized Federal Government such as was never contemplated or desired by the founding fathers. The other is the dangerous relinquishment of legislative powers to the Executive branch of the government. The late James Bryce, eminent British historian, in his discerning work on "The American Commonwealth" found the most striking feature 10 of our government to be its dual form. He pointed out that it represents a double government, a double allegiance and a double patriotism. America, he said, is a Commonwealth of Commonwealths, a Republic of Republics, and a State which, while one, is nevertheless composed of other States even more essential to its existence than it is to theirs. The dual system of government was a natural product of the conditions which prevailed at the time of the adoption of the Constitution. The thirteen colonies had been entirely independent of each other although with a mutual bond of relationship to a distant government. In becoming members of a Union it was logical that they should desire insofar as possible to preserve their independence. The framers of the Constitution compromised the divergent sentiment for a strong central government and for independent States by fashioning a masterly combination of the two. Neither the Federal Government nor a State is vested with complete powers. Each possesses sovereignty in its own field, and the term "sovereignty" implies absolute freedom from control by other governments. In matters in which they are supreme the States are entirely free from any control by the Federal Government. Let it be remembered always that the powers exercised by the States have not been delegated by a higher authority. The thirteen original States conferred upon the Federal Government such powers as were necessary to create a strong Union, which would be effective in dealing with the larger problems involving relations with each other and relations with foreign countries. They reserved to themselves powers which most closely affected citizens in their daily lives, and the range of powers remaining in the States was more extensive than those vested in the Federal Government. Reserved Powers of States Let it again be emphasized that the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 11 States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The field of State legislation as provided under the Constitution embraces all the civil and religious rights of citizens. The States have the responsibility for the education of the people; they regulate the exercise of the suffrage; they control rules affecting marriage and legal relations of husband and wife, and parent and child; they control relations between masters and servants, and principals and agents; all matters affecting business transactions, including laws with respect to partnerships, debts, credits and insurance, are under their jurisdiction. The chartering of corporations, both private and municipal, comes under the control of the States. The possession, distribution and use of property, and all contract relations are State matters. While the Congress has recently enacted Federal laws to supplement State laws in dealing with crime, the formulation and administration of criminal laws except those affecting crimes committed against the United States, on the high seas or against the law of nations are peculiarly a function of the States. I shall not attempt to be specific in citing the frequent instances where tendencies of modern legislation have attempted to infringe upon, even to break down completely, the rights reserved to the States. Some of them have been based upon a sincere desire to promote the National welfare, others have had their origin in a mischievous disregard of all constitutional restriction. It is not infrequent to hear the advocates of certain reforms argue that the result of the Civil War destroyed the doctrine of States' rights. With any such assertion I take definite issue. The Civil War did not abrogate the Constitution nor the division of powers in the Constitution as between the Federal Government and the States. The only changes in the Constitution that came out of the War were the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. The United States can not be compared with a Republic like France. There the smaller administrative units are merely subdivisions of the 12 whole and possess only such powers as are delegated to them by the central government. Here the States possess inherent power. The States are themselves Republics which are joined together in a larger Republic, and the smaller Republics, just as the larger Republic, derive all the powers directly or indirectly from the body of the people. The Lesson of Prohibition In a territory so vast as ours, any attempt at a centralized Federal government which would seek to exercise the powers that belong in the States would result in an utter breakdown. No more striking instance need be cited than the attempt at Federal prohibition. Here through the Eighteenth Amendment of the Constitution there was turned over to the Federal Government the effort to enforce laws which dealt specifically with the lives and habits of the people. It was foredoomed to failure. It came to represent a travesty. It created disrespect for all laws, it induced a rebellion against all authority and, after thirteen years of ghastly experimentation, the American people by an overwhelming vote repealed this provision which their own generation had put into the Constitution and returned to the States rights and powers which never should have been taken from them. Under stress of the emergency due to the depression, our Federal Government is now engaged in a series of undertakings which induce serious questions of States' rights. Many of these matters are now before the courts where decision of their constitutionality must be finally determined. I do not attempt to predict the outcome. However, I do call your attention to a recent decision of the Supreme Court in the Minnesota Mortgage Moratorium case. There the edict was laid down that Emergency does not create power but may furnish the occasion for the exercise of power. Also I suggest if the dual form of our government is to be preserved, if we are to continue under the division of powers which has proved successful in the administration of our affairs and in the protection of our rights, we 13 must not attempt to confer upon the Federal Government powers and responsibilities that by the Constitution were expressly reserved either to the States or to the people. There could be no more certain way to destroy the perpetuity of our institutions than to establish now a strongly centralized Federal Government which in the writing of our Constitution was forbidden. I take it that it is scarcely necessary to point out to you that through successive recent years the Congress of the United States has shown more and more the tendency to abdicate the functions for which it was created. There are three separate divisions of power in our government the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial. The Legislative branch is charged with the duty of making, changing or repealing the laws. The Executive branch is created to administer the laws. The Judicial branch must interpret and apply the laws in actual situations which arise and see that they are obeyed. Executive Encroachments In order to facilitate the attack upon economic factors responsible for the depression the Congress has conferred very broad authority upon the Executive during the present Administration. However, the tendency did not begin there. For years past, to a constantly greater and greater extent, for this reason or for that, the Congress has been asked to extend the powers of the Executive and thereby to limit its own powers. A notable example is in the authority to tax. In 1922 during the Harding administration the Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act was passed. In it, for the first time in the history of our government, the power to regulate taxation through adjustment of the tariff was given to the Executive. In the debate on that measure the statement was made repeatedly by Senator Mc-Cumber and other defenders of the measure that this was merely a temporary expedient made necessary by the wide fluctuations of European currencies and that as soon as existing conditions had passed the power should and would be withdrawn. It is notable, however, that it never has 14 been withdrawn. On the contrary, in the tariff bill passed during Mr. Hoover's administration in 1930, at the insistent demand of the Executive, this power was not merely retained but was extended. This is an illustration of the historic circumstance that power once assumed by an Executive is held by him if possible, nor does such fact necessarily impute any improper motive to the Executive himself. What is the practical result of conferring additional power upon the Executive? Obviously, he cannot himself perform all of the manifold duties of administration that are involved. Obviously, he must in turn appoint officials to act for him. And thus is created a Federal bureaucracy. The evils of bureaucracy constitute an old story. Throughout the history of democratic governments it has been a lurking menace. By the term "bureaucracy" is meant government by bureaus. There is implied an excessive multiplication of power in subordinate branches. As generally understood, it means official interference in the private affairs of individuals and in the conduct of business. The issue of bureaucracy in a broad sense concerns the extent to which government properly may apply its regulatory powers over the life and property of individuals. I am not here attempting to attack specific governmental agencies that have been set up temporarily in the hope of combating some of the evils of the depression. I do, however, call your attention to the result. Maze of Executive "Law" The American Bar Association through its Special Committee on Administrative Law makes the following statement: "From March 4, 1933, to June 15, 1934, as nearly as can be calculated, the President approved 674 Executive Orders, aggregating approximately 1,400 pages, of which many are a combination of several parts (as high as 15) and represent a number of separate orders. The total volume is, conservatively-estimated, greater than the total of the preceding four-year period from March 1, 1929, to March 4, 1933. during which 1,004 orders were approved, most 15 what is necessary to relieve the distress of those who are out of employment through no fault of their own or who are unable to care for themselves. I concede that if through a work relief program that does not involve a waste of funds for unnecessary or impractical projects men can be taken off the dole and can be given the opportunity to earn their bread in the sweat of their face, it is better than that they should be merely the recipients of charity. I do have sympathy, however, with the suggestion offered by a number of Democratic Senators that the question of the huge expense involved cannot be wholly ignored in the face of our continuing and increasing Federal deficits, and I have sympathy with their further contention that no program has been disclosed for the expenditure of this money and that, therefore, it may be assumed no program has as yet been worked out. All of this entirely apart, I point out the fact that by the terms of this bill, in the form it passed the House, the Congress is surrendering to the Executive the power of appropriation of Federal funds, it is permitting him to determine the policies with which the Legislative body should deal, it is permitting him to write the regulations for which the Legislative body should be responsible and to fix punishment for those who violate the regulations which should be embodied only in specific statutory law. If such a course is to be followed by the Congress, as seems to be evident here, the power of the Government of the United States is no longer distributed among the three divisions contemplated by the Constitution. Supreme Court Speaks May I call your attention, also, to the fact that as recently as January 7th the Supreme Court handed down a decision in the Amazon Petroleum case in which it held that section 9 (c) of the National Industrial Recovery Act was unconstitutional because of improper delegation of authority by the Congress to the Executive. If that decision means anything, it indicates clearly that the Emergency Relief Appropriation Bill 18 is unconstitutional. But in spite of that decision the Emergency Relief Appropriation Bill was sent to the Congress by the Executive and passed the House of Representatives under orders on January 24th. You ask "Is there not remedy in the Courts?" Unfortunately, there does not seem to be, because the Supreme Court has held successively that it will not entertain the suits of taxpayers, and, therefore, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible to bring before the Court the question of the constitutionality of this measure; at least before the money has been in large part spent. As this is written I do not know what will be the action of the Senate upon the bill in question. I hope that many of its most glaring defects will be cured and I hope if you agree with me that, despite its very worthy objectives, the form of the legislation is not only improper but definitely menacing, you will communicate with your Senators in an effort to have them use their influence toward its correction. A while ago I stated that many of the recent measures which seem open to constitutional question are now before the courts, and in due course we shall have decisions concerning them. It is interesting in that connection that a distinguished spokesman for the Administration in a recent important speech took, as his text, not the Constitution of the United States, but the Preamble to that Constitution, and apparently based his defense of legislative and administrative policy alike upon what he called "the spirit of the Constitution" as embodied in the "general welfare" suggestion of the Preamble. The "General Welfare" Clause It is probably unnecessary to direct your attention to the fact that there have been numerous decisions which hold that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution and does not confer any power. The one most frequently cited is that of Mr. Justice Harlan in the case of Jacobson against Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11. At page 22 of that decision I quote from the opinion of the distinguished Justice: 19 "We pass without extended discussion the suggestion that the particular section of the statute of Massachusetts now in question (s. 137, c. 75) is in derogation of rights secured by the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States. Although that Preamble indicates the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the Constitution, it has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government of the United States or on any of its Departments. Such powers embrace only those expressly granted in the body of the Constitution and such as may be implied from those so granted. Although, therefore, one of the declared objects of the Constitution was to secure the blessings of liberty to all under the sovereign jurisdiction and authority of the United States, no power can be exerted to that end by the United States unless, apart from the Preamble, it be found in some express delegation of power or in some power to be properly implied therefrom. 1 Story's Const, s. 462." The only other place in the Constitution where reference to the "general welfare" occurs is in connection with the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, found in Clause 1, Section VIII, Article 1, and while there has never been a clear interpretation by the Supreme Court of this particular provision, the weight of competent legal authority holds that the intention was to limit the levying of taxes, duties, imposts and excises to specific purposes, embracing the payment of debts and provision for the common defense and general welfare. Mr. Justice Story, in his elaborate work upon the Constitution, section 907, says that otherwise "the Government of the United States is in reality a government of general and unlimited powers notwithstanding the subsequent enumeration of specific powers." Further, in section 909, the same authority states: "The Constitution was from its very origin contemplated to be the frame of a national government, of special and enumerated powers, and not of general and unlimited powers. This is apparent from the history of the proceedings of the Convention which framed it, and it has formed the admitted basis of all legislative and judicial reasoning upon it ever since it was put into operation, by all who have been its 20 friends and advocates as well as by all who have been its enemies and opponents." I have been attempting to address you on the subject "The Constitution Still Stands." I hope that premise may successfully be defended. I hope that fears which have been instilled in the minds of millions of our citizens may be removed. I hope that all branches of our Government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial alike, may unite in clarifying the situation. This is my devout and earnest hope. Yet in all frankness I must confess that existing conditions are fraught with grave danger. Time to Call a Halt On every side we hear men talking about the duty of the government to the citizen. All too rare is there discussion of the duty of the citizen to the government. We are being taught to look to Washington for everything, and to the Executive rather than to the Legislative arm. The flaunting of States' rights has become appalling. The enlargement of Federal bureaucracy is a growing menace. The Congress, under Executive pressure, has abdicated many of its important functions. Unless the American people without delay call a halt to the processes that are now well advanced they cannot continue to enjoy the privileges conferred by the Constitution. Nothing herein said reflects upon the good intent or the high purpose of the Administration. The argument is not against worthy social objectives. The plea is for an observance of the principles and purposes of the Constitution, not to defeat specific measures or to restrict individual power, but solely to preserve the form of government under which we have developed and prospered and grown great. The ills that have befallen us during the world-wide depression are not due to the provisions of the Constitution. To cure them and to prevent their recurrence we do not need to abrogate the Constitution. It is a practical and efficient charter of both individual liberty and prosperity. Its provisions are a safe-21 guard to the people in time of adversity as well as in time of prosperity. Liberty League's Principles Because of an unshaken belief in the fundamental principles of the Constitution some of us have created an organization known as the American Liberty League. It is a liberal, constructive body, formed to do its part in the attempt to solve our national problems, to help bring about business recovery, reduce unemployment and improve the living conditions of the average man; to try to aid in restoring the confidence of the people in themselves, in each other, in American institutions and in their government. It does not favor one political party as against another. It is neither for nor against any elected officer of government. It does oppose those who do not obey their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution. It attempts to study important pieces of legislation as presented to the Congress, to analyze them without prejudice and without partizanship, to give the public the facts as to the proposals presented and to make such recommendations as seem in the interest of the whole people of the country. It holds that the preservation of human rights, which embrace property rights, are necessary to the maintenance of any stable form of government. Primarily at all times and in all circumstances it will do what it can to sustain and to defend constitutional principles. If you feel as do we that there is in present tendencies a threat to constitutional privileges, we shall welcome your membership in the American Liberty League. I am fully conscious of the fact that at many important junctures in the history of our Nation men have viewed with alarm and have pictured with pessimism the conditions surrounding us. I know that in spite of difficulties and dangers we have found our way through whatever wilderness confronted us. I have faith in the basic soundness of the American people. I have faith in American institutions. I believe in the Ameri-22 can form of government, which has been made possible only through the Constitution, and, with the help of God we shall, I believe, succeed in overcoming present difficulties as we have those of the past. But I reiterate to you, my countrymen, the note of warning that perhaps as never before in our history you need to be on guard if you would preserve our dual form of representative government and if you would protect the guaranties of liberty contained in the Bill of Rights. 2.3