Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton, (1757-1804) American statesman, Secretary of the Treasury

Alexander Hamilton Quote

“No legislative act contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy (agent) is greater than his principal; that the servant is above the master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people; that men, acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid. It is not to be supposed that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their will to that of their constituents. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by judges as fundamental law. If there should happen to be a irreconcilable variance between the two, the Constitution is to be preferred to the statute.”

Alexander HamiltonAlexander Hamilton
~ Alexander Hamilton

Federalist Papers #78, See also Warning v. The Mayor of Savannah, 60 Georgia, P.93; First Trust Co. v. Smith, 277 SW 762, Marbury v. Madison, 2 L Ed 60; and Am.Juris. 2d Constitutional Law, section 177-178)

Ratings and Comments

David Welch, Iraq

This is a perfect representation of the time at hand. It's is amazing to me how much our fore fathers considered the future when they were forming our nation.

Michael, Arundel

Can God's laws be considered to be a constitution?

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

And already here in the comments on this quote we see that folks can not fathom the difference between running a country and their own personal religion... even our very religious forefathers who created this document saw that there is a difference and laid out that there should be a complete separation... too bad so many today are attempting (and succeeding) in perverting their intention... "One nation..." period.

Joel, Rochester, MI

Most of today's representatives believe they are better than the people. Congress writes legislation forbidden by the Constitution. The Supreme Court ignores the Constitution, and doesn't strike down the unconstitutional legislation. And the President continues to wage war on whomever he chooses. This is the arrogant tyranny that leads to events like 9/11.

Terry Berg, Occidental, CA

David is spot-on about this. Our forefathers were clearly aware that human nature often tends to go contrary to the common good and crafted a remarkable structure to accommodate that tendency. It was, after all the age of 'reason' as opposed to what we seem to be promoting today in which, I fear, we are tending towards an age of feuding sects.

john-douglas, nassau

To bad those who think they are impervious to the laws (i.e. both God's and man's e.g. the Constitution) cannot be touched or punished temporally by the laws which they ignore or transcend - but God will surely punish them in due course of time (which is running out).

  • Reply
C.S.LEWIS    3/17/07


Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

Alexander Hamilton speaking against unconstitutional acts? Wasn't he the one who gave us our first unconstitutional central bank?

J Carlton, Calgary

Good catch Byron, That was my first thought too. That and the tax act...

Mike, Norwalk

Well said David and Terry - Terry, welcome back. Anonymous from Reston through his prejudice displays that he doesn't want a competing religion to threaten his theocracy of choice. Unitedly, the founders discovered the principles and law of freedom and liberty. Individually they had their flaws. This quote gives credence to the fact that the Constitution is an unwavering, absolute, and non-changing in meaning (living) document.

E Archer, NYC

Another example of the true intentions of American Common Law -- the recognition and preservation of the sovereign status of the individual.

  • Reply
Cogitator    8/1/08

Hamilton often said things contrary to how he did things, and this is one of them. He was one of the original big government guys. But we have degenerated to the point where many, if not most, of the laws passed today are contrary to the Constitution. Thanks to government schools, most people think the way political business is carried out is okay.

warren, olathe

David they did not need to consider or see the future. Men always have been and always will be the same. They only needed to look around them.

Ken, Milford Pa

None of these men were perfect. However they did a darn site better job then most of our (servents) are doing today. For that matter then almost everyone since them also.. Anyway, again this shows what their mind set was, for those who seem to be unable to figure it out.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I only give it one star because today such a thought is simply a common place. That is what we all believe and what we argue about "what does the Constitution" the Sovereign say. When Hamilton wrote this maybe it rated a much higher mark. But today well it to me it just rates a "Duh well yeah man right on."


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