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  1. #1
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    The text gives me a headache - really hard to understand

    1) What does "the instrument" mean?
    2) Does "the body" refer to "the legislative branch"?
    3) What does "the latter" refer to?

    Context:

    This is more particularly the case in relation to that part of the instrument which treats of the legislative branch, and not only as regards the exercise of powers claimed under a general clause giving that body the authority to pass all laws necessary to carry into effect the specified powers, but in relation to the latter also. It is, however, consolatory to reflect that 'most' of the instances of alleged departure from the letter or spirit of the Constitution have ultimately received the sanction of a majority of the people. And the fact that many of our statesmen most distinguished for talent and patriotism have been at one time or other of their political career on both sides of each of the most warmly disputed questions forces upon us the inference that the errors, if errors there were, are attributable to the intrinsic difficulty in many instances of ascertaining the intentions of the framers of the Constitution rather than the influence of any sinister or unpatriotic motive.

    More:
    Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States

  2. #2
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The text gives me a headache - really hard to understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    What does "the latter" refer to? The legislative branch.
    So "the former" refers to "the instrument" (the Constitution)?

  3. #3
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The text gives me a headache - really hard to understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Maybe I missed it, but I couldn't find "the former" in the text. When Harrison used "the latter" here he was referencing the part about "the body". "The latter" doesn't always need "the former." For example, "As was pointed out in the latter part of the argument, the defendant was not in the country during the time the crime was committed."

    I've got a translation book published by Shanghai Jao Tong University Press in which it says "the latter" refers to "a general clause (of the Constitution). That's why I asked what was "the former" to make things crystal clear.

  4. #4
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The text gives me a headache - really hard to understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    Yes, I was not specific enough. The latter is the general clause concerning the legislative branch.
    I repeatedly read the passage for more than 9 times, and it still looks having many "latters":

    and not only as regards the exercise of powers claimed under a general clause giving that body the authority to pass all laws necessary to carry into effect the specified powers


    Do I have to cram up the meaning? It is still a grammatical baffle to me.

  5. #5
    NewHopeR is offline Senior Member
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    Re: The text gives me a headache - really hard to understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillnetter View Post
    1 The general clause
    2. giving that body
    3. the authority to pass all laws
    4. necessary

    As you work backwards in this text you will find that #4 is dependent on #3, which is dependent on #2, which is dependent on #1.

    Cool. It partially helped.
    Do we call anything (that serves as the principal part as the general clause above) to be "the formers" (just like "the instrument" is one of "the formers" here)?

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