Monthly Archives: December 2011

Purpose of US Constitution & Health, Safety, Welfare


To sum it up in layman’s terms:

The purpose of the US Constitution was to define and limit the powers of the Federal government.


“Health, Safety and Welfare”

“Health, safety, and welfare” is not a power (i.e. authority) delegated to the Federal government. The States retained “police powers” which enable them “to enact measures to preserve and protect the safety, health, Welfare, and morals of the community.”  This is the core of when you hear individuals espouse “states rights”…which should really be articulated as support for federalism – which is the system created by our founders.

As stated by James Madison in Federalist 45:

The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State. 


Further reading:

Congress: A Wealth-Eating Virus (Background on the General Welfare Clause by Bob Greenslade)

The Original Constitution (by Robert G. Natelson)