XXI. Direct Tax & the Census, Seaports & Duties, Treasury & Appropriation

Catechism of the Constitution Book CoverThe Federalist Papers has posted a PDF copy of an Elementary Catechism on the Constitution from 1828 written by Arthur J. Stansbury. I’m publishing it on Mondays in a series of posts. Because the date of publication was 1828, some content has been changed by later Constitutional amendments. There are no sections in the book, so I’m dividing it into any natural breaks of topics and the posts will vary in length. Any emphases within the text are Stansbury’s.

XXI. Direct Tax & the Census, Seaports & Duties, the Treasury & Appropriation

Q. When a direct tax is laid, that is, when Congress order that a certain sum of money must be paid by each citizen, for the public use, what is the rule by which it is to be collected?

A. The census, or public counting of the people.

Q. May any money be required to be paid on goods exported, (that is, carried out,) from any of the States?

A. No.

Q. May any law be passed giving to the ports of one State, (that is, the places where vessels arrive and depart with goods) a preference over those of another, so that goods coming to some ports, shall have less duties to pay to Government than the same goods coming to other ports?

A. No.

Q. May vessels coming from sea with goods which they wish to deliver in one State, be obliged to land those goods, or to enter them, that is, give an account of them at the Custom-house, or to pay the duties on them in another State?

A. No.

Q. When a vessel leaves the ports of one State with goods which she is carrying to sea, can she be obliged to clear those goods, that is, give an account of them at the Custom-house, in another State?

A. No; each State may carry on its own commerce without the interference of any other State.

Q. In what way can the money of the United States be drawn out of the Treasury? (or place where it is kept)

A. It can be drawn out only by authority of a law of Congress; and such a law is called an Appropriation.

Q. Must a full account be kept of all moneys received into the Treasury, and paid out of it; and must this account be published, that is, printed and sold from time to time?

A. Yes.

In the heading under Charters of Freedom, you will find a copy of the Constitution as well as links to other pertinent primary documents and commentary on the Constitution.

Essays at The Heritage Guide to The Constitution:

Elementary Catechism on the Constitution posts:

Elementary Catechism on the Constitution (Preface)
I. The Necessity of Government and Its Forms
II. The American Revolution
III. The Occasion and Purpose of the Constitution
IV. State and National Laws
V. The House of Representatives
VI. The Senate
VII. Impeachment
VIII. Impeachment of the President & The Rule of Law
IX. Meetings of Congress
X. Members of Congress
XI. The Making of Federal Laws
XII. Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises
XIII. Finance and Commerce
XIV. Courts & International Offences
XV. Declaration of War
XVI. State Militia
XVII. Congressional Governance of Washington, D.C. & Military Facilities
XVIII. Congressional Authority On Enactment Of Laws
XIX. Slaves
XX. Habeas Corpus, Bill of Attainder & Ex Post Facto Law
Book image from The Federalist Papers. Other reading formats of the Elementary Catechism on the Constitution can be found here.


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