Grover ClevelandGrover Cleveland, (1837-1908) 22nd & 24th US President, mayor and governor in New York state

Grover Cleveland Quote

“I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds... I find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution.”

Grover ClevelandGrover Cleveland
~ Grover Cleveland

In 1887 when vetoing an appropriation to help drought-stricken counties in Texas

Ratings and Comments

Mike, Norwalk

hmm, WOW, a revolutionary concept at natural law.

Justin, Elkland

Hasn't that document been dead since 1861?

J Carlton, Calgary

Justin, That's about right. I think it actually became a contemptible document when GWB said "The Constitution is just a damned piece of paper" Americans should take that personally too. After all Presidents are elected to uphold the Constitution, aren't they?

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Anon    9/2/09

J Carlton, I agree but the problem is the president, whoever he might be, has his own set of laws called executive order, privilege and immunity. Sounds like a tyrant to me but most think those powers are for everybody's own good while the pres laughs all the way to the bank. One things for sure, one day they will know the truth and I don't think it'll be the same truth that sets one free.

jim k, austin

Great comments above.

cal, lewisville, tx

Presidents should uphold the constitution and forget the Supreme Court's liberal interpetations of it.

Waffler, Smith

He may have been correct about the immediate situation in Texas but overspoke his reasons. Like Pierce before his inference from the specific Texas case and Pierce's mental health case to the general case of what The Constitution says or meant is unfortunate. I feel certain these guys would have opted out of the second world war do to the fact that it was just a charitable effort in which we should not get involved in. When local jurisdictions like Texas droughts, San Francisco earthquakes, and New Orleans floods occur the foll should just be left alone according to these guys. One star for thought provoking.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waffler, had the US opted out of the first world war...there would not have been a second world war.

Waffler, Smith

Why do you say that J? Would Germany have won in your opinion? My opinion of what caused the WWII was of course the overbearing treatment of a defeated Germany in WWI but also a failure of the isolationist Republican Congress to ratify Wilsons League of Nations. The UN replaced the inepte League of which we were not a member and voila! there has not been a WW since.

J Carlton, Calgary

Waff, we are partially in agreement here. It was the Treaty of Versailles and its goal of limiting German endeavor (for the benefit of the British) and the starvation of 800,000 Germans to force them into signing that Germany never forgot and which set the stage for WW2. England had been angling on a war with the Germans since the 1800's as Germany was emerging as an industrialized and colonizing nation which threatened British Global influence. At what point was any of this worth spilling American blood over? Adherence to the Constitution would have prevented all of it and changed the course of history.

warren, olathe

Too bad the mental clarity he had did not stay put in Washington. Katrina taught us that the "somebody needs to take care of us" attitude is largely what made the disaster so devastating. People stood around waiting for somebody to help them. The mayor stood around waiting for the governor to tell him what to do. The governor stood around waiting for somebody to tell her what to do but there was a Republican in the white hose so what he said was ignored. People that could have gotten out on there own didn't. Busses that should have been removed full of people were left to be ruined by flood water. Levies that should have been upgraded several times with the federal money given to Louisiana for that purpose were left alone so the money could go to other pet projects. We had helicopters grounded because the press had told them that the choppers were being shot at. We had food and supplies sitting out side of a stadium and not being distributed because the press misinformed them that they could be shot if the entered do to a violent disturbance inside. And of course George Bush caused it all.

Waffler, Smith

Sadly Warren failed to mention the Senior Senator from Mississippi who ignored the Army Corps of Engineers who stated emphaticly that development was being done to close to the coast and in fact the Senator had the guy who was telling the truth fired and just kept on building.

Cold Dead Hand, Dallas

'The rest of the story" to this quote is that private charitable contributions flooded in to help the farmers and amounted to ten times what the Legislature was asking. That's the way America is supposed to work. Give wealthy, productive people a chance and they give to help their neighbors voluntarilly. When their money is confiscated by currupt unConstitutional politicians, it takes a lot of the joy out of giving. What? Some wealthy folks wouldn't give away anything?! THAT IS THEIR RIGHT under the law of the land. It does not justify taxation robbery. A few exceptions prove the viability of the rule of voluntarism. But we'll never see this story repeated in our lifetimes, shall we? The branches of what is left of our government are spinning out of control every 'good idea' MUST be implemented whether their is money or its Constitutional or not. I've never seen a political party as out of control as the Democrats at this time. They don't even bother to PRETEND that there are checks and balances anymore. Just load all the pork and payback you can find, dump it into an incomprehesable 'bill', and pass it hours later without debate of even a chance to read what's in it. Power mad. Evil. UnConstitutional. The Founding Fathers tried to save us from the consequences of what is being done. We turned their successfull dream of liberty for all into just another Mediocre Socialist Country of slaves.

Waffler, Smith

Something missing here. Does no one read the news. Economy up, stock market up, banks paying back the treasury, treasury is making a nice profit on its bailouts, Detroit is hiring and uping production. The only ones who are self destructing is right wing nuts. From Sarah down on the line they are just blathering idiots.

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    Anon    9/3/09

    Wait Waff, the next round of profit taking and nation breaking is yet to come. The ignorant are being sucked into compacency again and it's obvious you've bought into the facade too. The winners this time will be the same winners as last time. The one worlders who used the economic debacle to further centralize their power. All in a days work.

    J Carlton, Calgary

    Waff, the money supply is right off the scale since 2002. There has been more "thin air" money created in the last seven years than in all the history of the US. The Dow's P&E numbers are floating at over a hundred. That figure is historically not more than 30. In other words, your "recovery" is artificial and inflated, and it IS going to crash. So some of us right wing nuts who actually understand what is going on are going to be a lot better prepared than the lefties who will starve with their only resources being what they've always been... their knees.

    Waffler, Smith

    Go live with Sarah J I think she is right up your alley and according to some news, available.

    E Archer, NYC

    It's a far cry from the policies of the current Republicrats...

    A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL

    Apparently both presidents Pierce and Cleveland didn't understand the Preamble to the Constitution: ,,,"promote the general welfare".

    Mike, Norwalk
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    Mike, Norwalk A.Jurgensen, Stuart, FL 1/22/24

    A Jurgensen, to whom was the clause "promote the general welfare" directed at. Originally, it was understood to mean the State's representative (the federal government; — commencing with the individual sovereigns, authority was passed to the Counties, then to the States, then the Federal representative). Promoting the "general welfare" was understood to be, if the body politic were healthy - representing, promoting and protecting inalienable rights and liberty at nature's law (see the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence) all would be well. This blog site is replete with Congressmen, Senator, etc. that explained the meaning.

    Clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, caring for the ill, financing the indigent and all like such are tenets of religion. Again, the de jure States united was to be a secular representation of inalienable rights and liberty at nature's law.

    The statist theocracy now infesting this land is: not secular (creating and enforcing theocratic socialism's dogmas and canons) and is ANTI-inalienable rights / liberty / nature's law. The stated status theocracy has changed the meaning of many words and concepts to confuse even the very elect (We The People  the individual sovereigns). The status theocracy's seminaries (government schools), priesthood (administrators) and missionaries (MSM) have done an extremely good job at dumbing down a once home of the brave and land of the free.

    Paul Stone, Salt Lake, UT

    It's a shame that such great thinking and actual respect for our Constitution has been lost. Liberals are shocked to learn President Cleveland was a Democrat!

    R. West, Anderson, CA

    I'd have to argue, Cleveland understood the constitution very well and he respected it, and it's intended purpose, to limit the power of government, and protect individual freedoms. How is a drought related to "general welfare"? my favorite line, "though the people support the government the government should not support the people"

    Dwight Rounds, Austin, Texas

    The "general welfare" line is perverted so many times. What portion of the people would have benefited from the drought handouts?

    JT, Ohio
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    JT, Ohio    7/27/11

    Mr. Jurgensen, Promoting the general welfare is the rationale for the enumerated powers of the constitution, not a power in and of itself. -JT

    Patrick Henry, Red Hill

    Evidently, President Cleveland well understood that charity is Charity only when it is voluntary, and ministerial in character.

    John Shuttleworth, New York City

    IF government is a reflection of the people's will and taxes are a common fund for cooperative development and maintenance across a nation, then funds for disaster relief are an appropriate use of public monies. We have seen demonstrated in disaster relief both magnanimity and exploitation occur, simultaneously. Public funds have been both misapplied and malappropriated. That is called human nature and can only be guarded against, like devotion to liberty, by eternal vigilance. It is sickly humorous; but necessary, to have a certain portion of charitable funds be dedicated to assurance of their purported use. Charitable funding by government is viable only if it is mandated by the constituents of that government. Otherwise: let 'em eat cake.

    Mick, Manchester

    Re earlier comments concerning America's charitable act in entering WW2. America entered the war when Germany declared war on America in December 1941 and prior material support was hardly given without ties. This certainly chimes with the benevolence for benefit stance of many in these posts.

    Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

    Public funds withheld from public service sounds misguided and hypocritical. It is wise to invest in a determined public's attitude to preserve humankind's best interest. To invest in a vigorous public attitude toward survival is not charity, but a necessary imperative of evolutionary design.


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