The Constitutional Powers of Congress
The national legislature created by the Articles of Confederation lacked sufficient powers to govern the country properly. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 created a stronger Congress with adequate powers to govern. The legislative powers were enumerated, or listed, in Article I, Section 8, whereas Article I, Section 9 enumerated powers which Congress was constitutionally restricted from exercising. Article VI made constitutional congressional laws and treaties part of the supreme law of the land. During the 1787-1788 ratification debate over the Constitution, the Federalists defended the strengthened, though limited, legislative branch and its relationship to the executive and judicial branches. The Anti-Federalists were critics of the Constitution including the Congress because they argued that it had unlimited powers and would destroy liberty.