U.S. Constitution for Kids – Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 5-6 – March 24, 2011

March 24, 2011 – Article 1, Section 8, Clause 5-6 – Interpretation of Dr. Troy Kickler’s Essay

Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 5-6

5To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; 6To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

Today we receive another important grant of power from the Constitution to Congress. Dr. Kickler’s Essay is very insightful and in the Fun Facts below, we will decipher what this clause really means.

Fun Fact #1

Our Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution to correct the obvious and unobvious mistakes that were in the Articles of Confederation. One of them, they felt, was the concept that the Articles allowed the states to individually coin their own money. Now, if you look at Europe, you would see what the United States would be if our wonderful founders had not written and brilliantly composed the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers saw that the states were up a creek after the Revolutionary War. They had all accumulated masses of debt and were printing money out the kazoo! Inflation began to emerge as a hot topic, just as it is today. So, our framers found the perfect solution, or so it was back then: they took the power of coining money from the states and placed it into the federal government’s hands.

Fun Fact #2

So, now that the Federal Government had the exclusive power to coin money, a knew issue arose. The issue was related to Foreign coins and money. They felt that there needed to be a uniformity regarding the value of Foreign Coins. So, they gave congress the ability to regulate the value of foreign coins, instead of the states individually.

Fun Fact #3

Now, you are probably wondering what the deal is with this counterfeiting clause. Well, counterfeiting is when someone illegally prints or coins money. In England, they considered counterfeiting as a treasonous act. The Constitution does not state that counterfeiting is treason, it just gives Congress the ability to choose the punishment for the person committing this act of counterfeit.

Fun Fact #4

Now, one last Fun Fact to leave you with. Now, if you look closely at the wordage of the Constitution, you will find that Congress is granted the ability to coin money. Today, Congress is printing money. Does this mean that their acts of printing money is unconstitutional? Hugh Williamson, the founder of North Carolina, stated that he felt that the printing and passing out of paper money ruins the economy, in his essay “Remarks on the New Plan of Government” in 1788.

So, does this mean that our Congress is committing unconstitutional acts everyday? The Supreme Court in rulings that took place in the late 1800s such as Knox v. Lee, states that Congress could print money, expanding government’s hold on our monetary system.

Fascinating and thought provoking!

God Bless,

Juliette Turner

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