At the time of writing the Constitution, the Founders desired to strike a balance between a national government that had sufficient power to work properly but not so much that it would lead to domination. They never wanted a government like the British monarchy, where the king has the authority over the government. They did not either want another type of Articles of Confederation. Most powers were given to the states, in America’s first Constitution in the Articles of Confederation. A weak central government that was unsuccessful in supporting the young nation was one of the many issues in the Articles. There was a need for a stronger national government and the Founders knew that.
Expressed Powers of the US Constitution: What are they?
The U.S government has three branches, the executive branch (the President, described in article II), the legislative branch (Congress, explained in Article I), and the judicial branch (the Supreme Court and federal court system, Article III). Every branch has particular powers and duties, but Congress has the most clearly expressed powers in the true sense. And this is how exactly the framers of the Constitution wanted to see it.
Today, only the President executes legislative acts and is constrained by the Constitution heavily. On the other hand, Congress has wide-reaching powers, but most Americans today tend to see the President as the most powerful in the government. And since there is only one President, this makes sense. Framers of the Constitution thought the executive would be a type of governmental middle manager
Although there are several expressed powers in the US Constitution, let us choose one of the expressed powers and explain why it is important.
Congressional Powers Objectives
- Borrow money
- Establish laws of naturalization (a way to become citizens for people)
- The power to tax and spend for general welfare and defense of the U.S.
- Coin money
- Balance commerce with other countries and between all the states
- Makes laws administering armed forces
- Promote the science and arts by granting copyrights and patents for discoveries
- Establish roads and post offices
- Punish plagiarists of money and securities
- Punish piracies and felonies on the ‘high seas’
- Make necessary laws for carrying out all the powers
- Raise and support the navy/army
- Declare war
- Make the District of Columbia the federal government’s home
Constitutional expressed powers of the president
- The president of the U.S has the following powers according to Article II of the Constitution
- Appoint officials of the Cabinet, Supreme Court justices, and White House staff
- See that the laws are executed faithfully
- Gather Congress in special sessions
- Apply the “executive power”
- Grant pardons and reprieves for federal offenses
- Appoint officers for armed forces
- Act as a commander in chief of the armed forces
- Receive ambassadors from different nations
Examples of expressed powers that the federal government has
Some examples of expressed powers of the federal government are below:
Power to lay and collect taxes, regulate commerce, raise and support armies, declare war, borrow money on the credit of the U.S. regulate coin money, and make all laws essential for the execution of its powers are among the express powers of Congress.
Expressed powers of congress
- Include power to declare war, regulate commerce and currency, and levy taxes
- Article I, section 8 of the Constitution consists of 27 expressed powers of Congress
Granting the legislative branch a great amount of authority over American national policy, both domestic and foreign comes under the 27 expressed powers of Congress of Article I.
Power to tax, regulate commerce and currency, support armies and maintain navy, power to borrow money, and power to declare war are some of the important powers. These powers provide Congress the authority to make policies on the basic matters of war and peace.
The most well-known superpower in American movies is Superman, as we all know he could fly. He also had an x-ray vision and was strong. Everyone knows this, but how? It is because they are expressed verbally (superman tells people in the movies what he can do) and non-verbally (with his actions). The same rule applies to the government, they need to be expressed and made clear by implementing them. If powers are not made clear, the governments will have trouble dealing with various situations.
Some of the founding fathers of the United States were very concerned about these powers of the government because, in their time, they lived through combat over the nature of power and had also witnessed many frightening situations since the powers were undefined. This is why they were strictly committed to stating as clearly as possible regarding what the government can and cannot do while writing the Constitution. And these are the expressed powers of the Constitution of the U.S.
Powers that the Constitution has specifically given to the federal government are the expressed powers and they are:
- to coin money
- to tax
- to make treaties
- to grant copyrights and patents
- to raise and maintain the army/navy
- to conduct foreign affairs
- to fix standards of measures and weights
- to regulate domestic and foreign commerce
“The powers administered by the Constitution to the federal government are only a few and defined” according to the essays and papers written in favor of the Constitution. Clearly stating the powers was one way to ease the fear that a powerful national government would use its powers wrongly. These expressed powers are explicitly listed in the Constitution and they are specifically created for the national government. They are also called enumerated or delegated powers Most of these powers come under Article 1 and section 8 of the Constitution, which highlights the powers of the Congress.
The Founding fathers established a government that would be narrow in scope by listing the particular powers in constructive language. Powers that are not given to the national government would be reserved for the states, making sure that the powers of states would be protected.
The ultimate result was a Constitution that settled a strong national government to unify the nation and provide order, while still assuring the best possible powers for the states.