We Hold These Truths

Oct 23, 2011 by

The Constitution of the United States is a document crafted out of necessity. The Articles of Confederation granted insufficient power to the national government to protect the principles of The Declaration of Independence. The Constitution was written and ratified to correct this problem creating a stronger national government to better protect the rights of the people (equality, life, liberty, happiness, self government), and to form a “more perfect union” of the states. When we forgot that basic historical fact, it became inevitable that the powers created in the Constitution would be used against the people of the states.

The Constitution is the structure and powers of the federal system made up of the national and state governments. A system that has two equal parts, each given specific powers and duties. The national and state governments main purpose is to protect our rights and provide a safe, secure environment to exercise those rights. The Declaration of Independence gives birth to the union and prescribes the form in which it is to take shape. Any structure merely puts into practice what the Declaration called for “in the name and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are and of right ought to be, free and independent states” and “as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do.” The Articles of Confederation, our first constitution, did not form a satisfactory union to protect the principles of the Declaration, and therefore were “amended out of existence” according to James Madison. The framers of the Constitution believed that this new structure would accomplish the task of securing the promise of the Declaration by forming “a more perfect union” of the United States by acknowledging “[w]e the people” are sovereign. The Constitution is limited in scope of authority, duties, and power. All other rights not contained in the Constitution are given to the people by the 9th amendment, and all other powers are reserved to the states by the 10th amendment. If you were to read the Constitution, and all citizens should, it would become clear how limited the national power really is. The power of the state government is far more extensive. Are the people/citizens of the states and national government still sovereign?

Article 6 section 2, the “supremacy clause” states that the “constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” Each official of both the national and state governments according to Article 6 section 3 of the Constitution takes an oath of office. Why would state officials take an oath or affirmation if the federal system was not a combination of national and state governments?  It is clear that the Constitution proper and the 9th and 10th amendments comprise the government of “[w]e the people” and therefore the combination of the national and state governments are supreme in their respective powers and duties as outlined. Why then does the national government usurp the authority of “the good people” of the states?

In McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) Chief Justice John Marshall writes “[w]e admit, as all must admit, that the powers of the government are limited, and that its limits are not to be transcended.” Why then has the national government transcended its powers to enact and enforce laws that it does not have the constituted power to legislate? The national government does not have constituted power to legislate national systems of health care, retirement, or transferring income, and a host of other unconstitutional measures. Each state has its own constitution. The states are empowered to offer all those programs that are not in opposition to their respective constitutions, if they so wish. Why did not the states take on this type of responsibility? Did they even want this power?

John Marshall opened the door for the national government to take this and any other power it cared to have in stating that “we think the sound construction of the constitution must allow to the national legislature that discretion, with respect to the means by which the powers it confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body to perform the high duties assigned to it, in the manner most beneficial to the people.” Thus Marshall generalized the broad construction that must be given to the “necessary and proper clause” of Article1, section 8 “to take all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited but consist with the letter and spirit of the constitution, are constitutional” to sanction the usurping of state power. The translation in plain language is that the national government can do whatever it want as long as it is “beneficial to the people”. But, the “necessary and proper clause reads “[t]o make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and other powers vested by this Constitution” which according to Marshall is a government “of enumerated powers”. Enumerated as defined means a detailed accounting. Sounds like letter and not spirit. How do we remedy this injustice?

My good friend, Jesse Harris, rightfully declared that for states to take back their constituted power they must first stop taking hand-outs from the national government. The states are servants to their national masters as long as they are financially dependent on revenues distributed by them. We must take back the political process by doing away with political parties, the ultimate herd, and elect those people who have merit and will be faithful to the people. Then the fountain of self-government will spring forth and we will be uninhibited to exercise virtue.

1 Comment

  1. Diggory

    -claps-

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