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In the United States the power of declaring war is lodged in congress. In Great Britain the same power is vested in the crown. No state can engage in war unless in time of actual invasion or in cases of great danger.
Money is the standard by which all merchandize is valued. It should be of uniform value throughout a whole nation. Consequently the constitution gives congress power to coin money, to regulate the value thereof, to regulate the value of foreign coin," and also to punish counterfeiters of the coin of the United States.
For similar reasons congress has power “ to fix the standard of weights and measures."
With a view of coining money a mint was established at Philadelphia in 1792, where gold, silver and copper coins are produced. Branches of this mint have since been established in different parts of the country. There is a branch at New Orleans, La.; one at Dahlonega, Ga.; and another at Charlotte, N. Carolina.
What power has congress as to war?
An eagle is valued at ten dollars, and must weigh 10 pennyweights and 18 grains of gold. A dollar must weigh 17 pennyweights and 41 grains of silver. And a cent must weigh 11 pennyweights of copper.
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.
The establishment of post offices, and post roads, is among the
the powers given to congress. As the mail is to be carried in every direction all over the union, the state governments could not be intrusted with the Post Office Department without leading to endless difficulties.
Under this power congress has also laid out and built new roads with the consent of the states through which they pass. And in the case of the road from Nashville to Natches, the consent of the state was not obtained.
The Post Office Department was not originally intended to be so much a source of revenue to the country as a matter of convenience to the people. Through its operations the facilities of correspondence, &c., have been greatly augmented. Of late a reform has been introduced into this department reducing the postage on letters, newspapers, pamphlets, magazines, &c.
What are the weights of those coins ?
According to the post office bill which passed at the last session of Congress (1845) and to take effect in July following, the rates of postage have been much reduced. For letters not weighing over half an ounce, the postage is 5 cents, for 300 miles ; over 300 miles 10 cents. Formerly there were four rates for single letters, viz: 6, 121, 187, and 25 cents, according to distance.
PATENTS AND COPYRIGHTS.
The author of a new and valuable work, and the inventor of a new and improved machine, are public benefactors. They deserve a recompense for their labors. Congress is therefore empowered by the constitution, to secure to them for a limited time the exclusive right to their respective inventions, writings or discoveries. If they have produced anything valuable they are thus enabled to enjoy the fruits of their own genius. This affords encouragement to others to “ seek out new inventions;" for the hope of reward is one of the strongest inducements to human action.
What are the rates of postage on letters ?
Piracy is often defined to be robbery on the high
But by act of congress of 1790, murder, robbery, or any offence which if committed on land would be punishable with death by the laws of the United States, is defined piracy.
The sea is a great highway, common to all nations. And all nations have jurisdiction over it as to all offences committed by their own sailors on board their own vessels.
Pirates being plunderers of the seas and enemies to all nations, may be punished by any nation. For the constitution gives congress power to define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations. The term “high seas” means all the oceans, bays, channels, &c., below low water mark, around the world.
The laws of nations are the rules and regulations arising from necessity, or adopted by common consent, among all civilized nations.
As there is no great general government including the civilized world, to enforce these laws, each nation
How is piracy often defined ?
is bound to obey them as the law of nature and
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
About the close of the Revolutionary war, the continental congress, then sitting at Philadelphia, was surrounded and insulted by a body of mutineers from the continental army. Congress applied to the executive authority of Pennsylvania for protection, but were unable to obtain it. They then adjourned to Princeton, in New Jersey. And from thence they soon after adjourned to Annapolis, in the state of Maryland. In order to guard against such intimidation, the constitution gives congress "exclusive legislation over a district not exceeding ten miles square, which may become the seat of government of the United States."
In 1790, the States of Maryland and Virginia ceded a tract of land ten miles square to the United States, which has since been called the District of Columbia. In 1800, the city of Washington, situated in that district, became the seat of government of the United States, and has so continued till the present
When and where was congress surrounded and insulted by a mob? What measures did congress take to guard themselves against
any like occurrence in future ? When and by what states was the District of Columbia ceded to
the United States ? When did Washington become the seat of government ?