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By sunshinecavalluzzi
On October 13, 2018

Bell Ringer: The Necessary and Proper Clause

"Achieve Those Things Written in the Text" - The Necessary and Proper Clause

University of Arkansas Law Professor Mark Killenbeck explains the Necessary and Proper Clause, as articulated by the Supreme Court in McCulloch v. Maryland.


Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution begins "The Congress shall have Power To" and goes on to delineate the expressed powers of Congress. The final clause of the section, commonly referred to as the "Necessary and Proper Clause," reads "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • According to Professor Killenbeck, how does the necessary and proper clause expand the powers of Congress?
  • According to Professor Paulson, how does the McCulloch v. Maryland decision's consideration of the necessary and proper clause provide for a broad view of federal government power?
  • The Necessary and Proper Clause is often referred to as the "Elastic Clause." What might be a reason for that?
  • AP Government - Questions to Consider: How does the Necessary and Proper clause relate to dual and cooperative federalism? How does it align to each major political party's view of the federal government? What are examples of key legislative undertakings that involve the necessary and proper clause?

Additional Resources



    • Article I
    • Congress
    • Constitution
    • Elastic Clause
    • Federalism
    • Mcculloch V. Maryland
    • Necessary And Proper Clause


    AP U.S. Government Key TermsConstitutional FoundationFederalism and State IssuesSupreme Court Cases


    Middle SchoolHigh School