What You Should Know About the Enumerated Powers

What You Should Know About the Enumerated Powers


What You Should Know About the Enumerated Powers

The United States Constitution allows for certain powers to be explicitly listed that delegate the extent to which the United States Congress has authority. Congress can be said to have two sets of powers granted to the government body under the Constitution. Article 1 Section 8 includes the listed powers that are vested to Congress, which are referred to as the Enumerated Powers. However, Congress also has implied powers that are set forth and implemented through the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution, which is also found in Article 1 Section 8. Furthermore, Congress' authority has also been expanded due to the several Amendments committed to the Constitution.

The Enumerated Powers granted to the United State Congress are various and extensive. There are those who believe that the powers and authority of Congress should remain within the limits of the actual provisions as scripted in the Constitution. That is to say, the Constitution should be interpreted in terms of the actual text and that only those powers written into law of the Constitution should be the actual extent of Congress' powers.

However, there also others that believe that in order for Congress to effectually carry out its duties within the realm of its granted jurisdiction, abiding solely by the actual text is unwise. These people support the use of the Necessary and Proper Clause to grant Congress a wider breadth in terms of its jurisdictional authority in order to make sure that the Legislative Branch of government is working effectively and up to its intended purpose. 

As mentioned, there are various powers included as part of Congress' Enumerated Powers which are included into the Constitution's provisions. The following comprises some of the powers that are found in Article 1 Section 8:

          Congress has the power to impose and collect taxes which are to provide for the debts of the United States, as well as for the common defense and welfare of the country. All such taxes are to be implemented equally through the nation.


          The power to borrow money on behalf of the United States.


          The regulation of commerce, both on the international and interstate levels. This also includes Indian Tribes as well.


          Congress has the power to establish currency and coin money.


          The power to establish post offices.


          To provide for and maintain a navy.


          Organizing, training, and arming a militia.


          Exclusive powers to legislative matters of the country.

Other powers that have been granted after the original drafting of the Constitution have come in the form of Constitutional Amendments. Three particular Amendments gave specific powers and authority to Congress that were not included under the Enumerated Powers of Article 1 Section 8: the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and the Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. These Amendments gave the power to Congress to allow for legislation regarding the rights of African Americans, such as voting rights, due process, and equal protection under the provisions of law of the United States. 




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