One of the reasons the U.S. Constitution was “ordain(ed) and establish(ed)” was for the purpose of promoting the general welfare of the citizens. We’ve certainly grown accustomed to the idea that the government should seek to help those among us who are in need, but was that something originally intended as a role for the government?

Surprisingly, the Constitution makes no mention of the government’s ability to give charitably. It’s interesting to observe that nowadays the idea that the government should authorize charitable giving from the treasury is taken for granted, but this should come as no surprise — since our nation’s early years, elected officials have faced with the temptation to use money from the treasury for charitable giving. This temptation arises from the cultural pressure rooted in the Christian values that were vital to the formation of our nation: Who would be so selfish as to deny the basic principle that it is “more blessed to give than to receive?”


Devin Patton is a fifth-generation Wallowa County native whose pastimes include the study of ag economics, history and free thought.

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