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Did James Madison, the "father" of the U.S. Constitution and primary author of the Bill of Rights, consider it constitutional for the federal government to create social welfare programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security?

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In the Federalist Papers, James Madison wrote that the "general Welfare" clause of the Constitution applied only to the specific powers listed in the Constitution, such as coining money, raising armies, and enacting immigration laws. He also wrote that it would be "an absurdity" to interpret the Constitution in a way that would allow the federal government to create social welfare programs. Even Alexander Hamilton, who later became an advocate for federal social programs, previously wrote in the Federalist Papers that the Constitution only gave the federal government "certain specified powers," not "sweeping" ones to create any programs it pleased.

DocumentationConstitutionality of Social Programs



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