The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause

The Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause

By: Gary Lawson (author), Guy I. Seidman (author), Geoffrey P. Miller (author), Robert G. Natelson (author)Hardback

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The Necessary and Proper Clause is one of the most important parts of the US Constitution. Today this short thirty-nine-word paragraph is cited as the legal foundation for much of the modern federal government. Through three independent lines of research, the authors trace the lineage of the Necessary and Proper Clause to the everyday law of the Founding Era - the same law that American founders such as Madison, Hamilton, and Washington applied in their daily lives. Origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause are found in law-governing agencies, public administration, and corporations. Moreover, all of those areas were undergirded by common principles of fiduciary responsibility - reflecting the Founders' view that a public office is truly a public trust. This explains the choice of language in the clause and provides clues about its meaning. This book thus serves as a reference source for scholars seeking to understand the intellectual foundations of one of the Constitution's most important clauses.

About Author

Gary Lawson is a Professor of Law and the Abraham and Lillian Benton Scholar at Boston University School of Law. Professor Lawson has authored (with Guy Seidman) The Constitution of Empire: Territorial Expansion and American Legal History, five editions of a casebook on Federal Administrative Law, and more than sixty articles in law reviews and other journals. Geoffrey P. Miller is the Stuyvesant P. Comfort Professor of Law at New York University Law School. Miller is the Director of NYU Law School's Center for the Study of Central Banks and Financial Institutions and is a founder of the Society for Empirical Legal Studies. Robert G. Natelson is Professor of Law at the University of Montana. He is an expert on the framing and adoption of the United States Constitution, and on several occasions he has been the first to uncover key background facts about the Constitution's meaning. Guy I. Seidman is an Assistant Professor of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliva, Israel. He is a former visiting scholar at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Dr. Seidman is primarily interested in Administrative and Constitutional law, and in Comparative law and legal traditions.


1. Raiders of the lost clause: excavating the buried foundations of the Necessary and Proper Clause; 2. Discretionary grants in eighteenth-century English legislation; 3. An ocean away: eighteenth-century drafting in England and America; 4. The legal origins of the Necessary and Proper Clause; 5. The framing and adoption of the Necessary and Proper Clause; 6. Necessity, propriety, and reasonableness; 7. The corporate law background of the Necessary and Proper Clause.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780521119580
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 190
  • ID: 9780521119580
  • weight: 480
  • ISBN10: 0521119588

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