cember, 1800, when they were to be removed to the permanent seat of government. The Continental Congress held their sessions in New York from January, 1785, till the Constitution was adopted, and the first Congress under the Constitution held the first two of its three sessions there. Thus, the seat of government was at New York from March 4th, 1789, till the close of the second session of the first Congress, then at Philadelphia for ten years, and has been at Washington since December, 1800.

The original District of Columbia was ten miles square, its boundary lines running N. E., S. E., S. W., and N. W. It was divided into two counties: Washington east of the Potomac, and Alexandria west. In July, 1846, the latter was retroceded to Virginia. The present area is about sixty square


Without it, the

Power of


The necessity of exclusive power on the part of Congress at the seat of government is abundantly manifest. officers of the government might be interrupted in their duties, the public archives and other property injured, and Congress itself insulted. When the Continental Congress was in session at Philadelphia, the building where they were in session was surrounded by some mutinous soldiers, clamoring for their pay. The executive government of that State not giving to Congress adequate protection, that body immediately adjourned to Princeton, New Jersey.

No less necessary is it that the general government should have exclusive control of the places where forts, arsenals, etc., are erected.

The Power Not Transferred from

The district in which the seat of government is located is obtained by cession from the State. The other places mentioned in the clause are purchased with the consent of the legislature of the State where they are located. In whichever manner acquired, the districts are under the exclusive control of Congress.

the State.

They hold to the government the same relation as the territories do. There is no transfer of political power from the State to the general government. The latter does not exercise legislation by virtue of any authority derived from the States, but by virtue of the general powers granted by the Constitution.

It was claimed, in a case before the Supreme Court, that Congress, when acting under this clause, must be considered as a mere local legislature, and not as administering the supreme law of the land. "But the Supreme Court held directly the contrary-that the power belonged to 'Congress as the legislature of the Union; for strip them of that character, and they would not possess it. In no other character can it be exercised. . . . Congress is not a local legislature, but exercises this particular power, like all its other powers, in its high character, as the legislature of the Union.'"' 1

"The efficiency of the government is all derived from the Constitution, and is equal in all places within its jurisdiction. It is supreme everywhere. It is inclusive of all subordinate governments, where there are any, and exclusive where there are none. It is permanently exclusive, if there can be no other. It is temporarily exclusive till a subordinate is instituted. It becomes exclusive again, if a subordinate is extinct, whether by right or by wrong; and it remains exclusive, when it is so, till a subordinate is rightfully restored." 2

As direct taxes are by Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, to be apportioned among the several States according to their reDirect Tax on spective numbers, it might be thought that the the District of inhabitants of the District of Columbia would be Columbia. exempt. But the Supreme Court has decided that Congress has the power to levy a direct tax on the District of Columbia and also upon the territories. Congress is not bound to do it, but the power is possessed, qualified in the same manner as in regard to the States; i. e., the tax must be in proportion to the population. A direct tax was levied upon the States in January, 1815. In February of the same year a tax was levied on the District of Columbia. The direct tax of

1 Farrar, page 360. Story, 1226.

2 Farrar, page 363.

$20,000,000 a year, according to act of August, 1861, included the District of Columbia and all the territories then existing. In the cessions to Congress under this clause, there has generally been a reservation of the right to serve State process, civil and criminal, upon persons found therein. Thus, these places can not be made sanctuaries for fugitives.

On the 16th of April, 1862, slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia by act of Congress. At the same session of Congress (the second of the Thirty-seventh Slavery AbolCongress), an act was passed declaring that there ished by Conshould be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude


in any of the territories then existing, or which should be formed thereafter. In the District of Columbia provision was made to remunerate loyal owners for the slaves thus set free, not exceeding $300 each in the aggregate. For this purpose

the sum of $1,000,000 was appropriated.



In 1871 a territorial government was established for the district. provided for a Governor, Secretary, Council (upper legislative house), Board of Health, and Board of Public Works, to be ap- Territorial pointed by the President and Senate. There was a House of Delegates to be elected by the people. The district had also a Delegate in Congress. In 1874 the act was repealed, and until a new system could be framed the government was entrusted to three Commissioners, to be appointed by the President and Senate.

Present Government.

In 1878 the government of the district was placed-under a Board of three Commissioners; two to be appointed by the President and Senate for three years; and the third, an officer of the Corps of Engineers of the army, to be detailed by the President. These Commissioners have general charge of the municipal interests of the district, appointing the police, firemen, school trustees, and all other officers. They submit each year to the Secretary of the Treasury a detailed estimate of expenses, which, on his approval, is transmitted to Congress. If Congress approves the

estimate, one half the amount is appropriated from the general treasury, and the other half is assessed upon the taxable property of the district.

Clause 18.-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.


A Constitu


for carrying into execution the powers vested in the general government by the Constitution, even if this clause had not been inserted. If the Constitution provides for a government, and invests it with powers, it follows tion Requires as an unavoidable inference that the legislative department of that government can make the laws needful for carrying those powers into execution. Mr. Madison says,1 "Few parts of the Constitution have been assailed with more intemperance than this; yet, on a fair investigation of it, as has been elsewhere shown, no part can appear more completely invulnerable. Without the substance of this power, the whole Constitution would be a dead letter." He proceeds to show the folly of attempting a positive enumeration of the powers necessary and proper for carrying their other powers into effect; that "the attempt would have involved a complete digest of laws on every subject to which the Constitution relates; accommodated, too, not only to the existing state of things, but to all the possible changes which futurity might produce." No less chimerical would it be to enumerate the powers or means not necessary or proper for carrying the general powers into execution.

"Had the Constitution been silent on this head, there can be no doubt that all the particular powers requisite as means of executing the general powers would have resulted


to the government by unavoidable implication. No axiom is more clearly established in law, or in reason, that whenever the end is required, the means are authorized. Wherever a general power to do a thing is given, every particular power necessary for doing it is included." Thus Mr. Madison.

Mr. Hamilton uses similar language." "It may be affirmed with perfect confidence that the constitutional operation of the government would be precisely the same if these clauses were

1 Federalist, No. 44.

2 Federalist, No. 33.

« ForrigeFortsett »