Constitution Does Not Require Capitalism


The leftist American revolutionaries who drafted our Constitution created a political form of government. They did not adopt an economic system, or write a capitalist manifesto. In fact, the words free market and capitalism do not appear anywhere in it.

The political system they conceived replaced the dictatorial rule of a monarch, with elected representation under a republican form of government. They granted Congress the power to write laws, but no where did they adopt or require capitalism; nor did they outlaw socialism. On the contrary, they expressly delegated to Congress the power to provide for the general welfare.

Although our liberal ancestors fought a revolution against unfair taxes imposed by the English crown, they in turn expressly delegated to their own Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes.” Thus, they were not opposed to taxes; they were only against those levied without representation from overseas.

Although the founders objected to laws and regulations written far away in London, they expressly gave their own Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states, and with foreign nations. They were not against regulation; they were only opposed to it when it originated, without their input, in England.

Although many of the American revolutionaries were wealthy landowners, they did not bar Congress from taking property. They only banned seizures that were “without due process of law.” In fact, the Constitution expressly allows the taking of private property for public use, provided “just compensation” is paid.

We often hear misguided right-wing politicians talk about the U.S. Constitution, as if they understood it. Some like Michelle Bachmann even confuse the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776, with the Constitution, adopted 11 years later, in 1787.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the Congress is free to impose taxes, regulate businesses engaged in interstate commerce, and to seize private property, if they have a public purpose. Our lawmakers expressly have the power to provide for the general welfare. The line between more or less socialism and capitalism is up to the Congress; as the Constitution does not mandate one or the other.

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