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A LIVING CONSTITUTION The US Constitution Does it stand the test of time In 1835 less than half a century after the ratification of the US Constitution Alexis de TocqueviUe observed in his famous book Democracy in America The social state of America is a very strange phenomenon Men there are nearer equality in wealth and mental endowments than in any other country of the world or in any other age or recorded history1 Indeed by Tocquevilles time America had already begun to live up to the legacy that the Founding Fathers had ardently expressed in the Constitution that America be the exemplar of freedom and equality Today America continues to grow and prosper from these ideals of democratic governance And in so doing the Constitution lives on as it regulates and adapts to new generations and new ideas Much of the Constitutions flexibility can be attributed to the elastic clause Article I Section 8 which gives Congress the power to make all laws that are necessary and proper to carry out the laws explicitly listed in the Constitution Such implied powers allow Congress not to be limited solely to the expressed powers of the Constitution and have been used throughout history as a means to adapt to a rapidly changing culture For example in the landmark case McCulloch v Maryland 1819 the controversy regarding whether Congress had the power to charter a bank was brought to the forefront2 Albeit the Constitution made no explicit reference to a national bank Marshall declared that chartering a bank was among the implied powers of Congress necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers such as taxation borrowing money and regulating commerce3 thus allowing the Constitution to evolve along with the changing needs of the nation Another means by which the Constitution lives through today is the amendment process As James Madison explained It guards equally against that extreme facility which
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