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States – the next Revolutionary Battleground

January 27, 2013

news_flag_hdr1When the Founders created the Constitution one of the biggest fears of many Americans was that the soverign states would loose their powers fully to a “consolidated” government.  While there was a desire to protect the liberties of the people of the former colonies and create a government at the head that could defend against foreign powers and other threats, without destroying individual freedoms and local governments and customs long established. During the ratification process by the several states, great debates over the pros and cons of the document took place between the “Federalists” and “anti-Federalists” with states rights being at the center of the discussion.

One of the acts of the first Congress under President Washington was to ratify the Bill of Rights, of which the 10th Amendment stated that “the Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. “, which helped to cement this foundational principle that all power flows from the people of the several states….E Pluribus Unim, or “from many, one”.  James Madison in the 1800 Report  on the Virginia Resolutions stated that the term “state” could have several meanings but that it meant

…the people composing those political societies, in their highest sovereign capacity……..all will at least concur in that last mentioned, because in that sense the Constitution was submitted to the “states:” in that sense the “States” ratified it; and in that sense of the terms “states” they are consequently parties to the compact from which the powers of the federal government result.

The Constitution of the United States was formed by the sanction of the states, given by each in its sovereign capacity.  It adds to the stability and dignity, as well as to the authority, of the Constitution, that it rests on this legitimate and solid foundation.  The states, then, being the parties to the constitutional compact, and in their sovereign capacity, it follows of necessity that there can be no tribunal, above their authority, to decide, in the last resort, whether the compact made by them be violated; and consequently, that as the parties to it, they must themselves decide, in the last resort, such questions a my be of sufficient magnitude to require their interposition.

This referred to the recent “Alien and Sedition” acts that led to the ideas that states could “nullify” or ignore, federal laws that they felt to be “unconstitutional”.  Jefferson, a great states right advocate later said in his 1821 autobiography:

But it is not by the consolidation, or concentration of powers, but by their distribution, that good government is effected.  Were not this great country already divided into states, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and that it can so much better do tan a distant authority.  Every state again in divided into counties, each to take care of what lies within it’s local bounds; each county again into townships or wards, to manage minuter details; and every ward into farms, to be governed each by it’s individual proprietor.  Were we directed from Washing when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.  It is by the partition of cares, descending in gradation from general to particular, that the mass of human affairs may be best managed for the good and prosperity of all.

So shall the states begin again to flex their muscles and remind the Congress, executive and judiciary in DC from where their powers are derived, and that they indeed are enumerated and limited.  There are currently 30 states, many of them so called “blue”, that have conservative Governors and Republican state houses.  These states will be the incubators for cures to the fiscal malaise, and they will create a sharp contrast to the bloated ineffective government at the federal level.  States that have no individual income that, right-to-work laws, low debt and balanced budgets and low corporate tax rates are showing that they are economic winners. States will push back against federal over-reach, such as we are seeing with many that are refusing to assist the federal government in implementing Obamacare by not creating the necessary insurance exchanges.

The next Revolution will be fought by the states and the people of those states, and it will be fought to reinstate the powers given up to the federal government.

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