Reply To: Hamilton


Congress was given power to regulate trade with foreign countries in part so that it could via adoption of tariffs discourage purchase of imports. This theme runs through James Madison’s correspondence for years before the Philadelphia Convention, and other framers shared this goal. The point of patent protection wasn’t to “tak[e] control of business,” but to encourage innovation — though some libertarian scholars today argue that intellectual property stifles innovation, and thus should not be protected.

Reference to original understanding — “the Founders” — is necessary if you subscribe to the Jeffersonian idea that the people’s will was expressed through the ratification process, and so their understanding is controlling. Many currently dispute this idea too, for various reasons.