The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday comes from Article I, Section 10, Clause 1: "No State shall … grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal…." There was an obvious reason why this provision and other provisions in Clause 1 were included in the U.S. Constitution; it included in order that the States would understand that this authority rested with the federal government.
"The word marque is a seal associated with letters of authorization from a sovereign nation to one of its private citizens to seize or destroy (commit reprisal against) the ships or other resources of an enemy.
"Such a letter would be dangerous if issued by a single state, since it could involve all of the other states in a conflict with some foreign nation…" (W. Cleon Skousen, The Making of
- The Substance and Meaning of the Constitution, pp. 492-493). America
"Many of the federal government's enumerated powers relate to foreign affairs and have corresponding restrictions on states in Article I, Section 10. Article VI of the Articles of Confederation had permitted the states … to grant letters of marque and reprisal after Congress had declared war…" (Brannon P. Denning, The Heritage Guide to the Constitution, p. 168).