Defending the Constitution’s much-feared necessary and proper clause in Federalist 33, Alexander Hamilton, a proponent of a strong central government, argued:
What is a power, but the ability or faculty of doing a thing? What is the ability to do a thing but the power of employing the means necessary to its execution? What is a LEGISLATIVE power but a power of making LAWS? What are the means to execute a LEGISLATIVE power but LAWS? What is the power of laying and collecting taxes but a legislative power, or a power of making laws, to lay and collect taxes? What are the proper means of executing such a power but necessary and proper laws?
This simple train of enquiry furnishes us at once with a test by which to judge of the true nature of the clause complained of. It conducts us to this palpable truth, that a power to lay and collect taxes must be a power to pass all laws necessary and proper for the execution of that power …” [emphasis in original]
January 2, 1788