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The Constitution and Legislative Power

Learn about Constitutional limitations on Congressional authority, the Supreme Court’s expansive view of Congressional authority, and the Civil War Amendments and other expansion of Congressional authority.


I. Introduction

If one compares Congress’s output of legislation over the nation’s first century-and-a-half to Congress’s output since the end of World War II, a huge difference becomes apparent. Congress legislated on comparatively little in the years leading to the Civil War, then, after a flurry of legislation immediately after that war, slowed down again. Congress’s output rose during the 1890s, then expanded significantly in response to the Great Depression, which started in 1929. After...