Tuesday, June 11, 2013

State Governments are NOT Subordinate to the Federal Government

Maybe the anti-federalists were right, maybe the Constitution made it  too easy for the federal government to take over.  Thomas Jefferson didn't believe that, however.  The constitution and the bill of rights were written so that neither has more power than the other and that is the way it should be. 

Thomas Jefferson wrote about our Constitution: With respect to our State and federal governments, I do not think their relations correctly understood by foreigners,” sadly, I believe many of the citizens of the United States of America do not understand how the relationship between state and federal governments is supposed to work.  Jefferson relates that when the founders wrote our constitution, they had the ability to write what they pleased, that they had no “musty records” or laws they needed to follow.  They were free to create a document, laws, of their own choosing.  They choose not only the wording, but also the format of our government. Our government was founded  so that the state and federal government work hand in hand, each having their own responsibilities, separate, but equal.  But many citizens don't understand this.  They believe the federal government has control over state government and therefore allow them to act as such.

Exactly what are the responsibilities of the state and federal government?  Ours is a constitution based on Federalism, power is divided between a the federal, state and local governments.  Many are confused as to the relationship between the two.  This is why the Bill of Rights was written by our founders, Amendments that clarify what is written in the Constitution and the rights of the people and the government, both state and federal.  It is why Jefferson pushed for the Bill of Rights in the first place.  Jefferson states, “[Those who don’t understand the relationship between the state and federal government] generally suppose the former subordinate to the latter. But this is not the case. They are co-ordinate departments of one simple and integral whole. To the State governments are reserved all legislation and administration, in affairs which concern their own citizens only, and to the federal government is given whatever concerns foreigners, or the citizens of other States; these functions alone being made federal. The one is the domestic, the other the foreign branch of the same government; neither having control over the other, but within its own department.”

The state government gives power to the citizens while the federal government is concerned with foreigners matters.  Here’s where the problem arises. It is not the job, as put forth by our founders, for the federal government to be creating legislation, laws, that apply directly and only to citizens of the United States. That is what the state’s government is for. The federal government, time and time again, oversteps their bounds.  They interfere with issues that are clearly the domain of the state government. The state government is not subordinate to the federal government, yet the federal government acts as though it is. They are both equal and one does not have the power to dictate to the other.  State governments are NOT subordinate to the federal government, though the federal government continues to attempt to enslave them.

Jefferson believed Amendment X to be foundation of our government and it states: “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.”  These are the rights that the citizens and the states must protect. The states must stand up and reclaim what is inherently theirs, what is given. 

The responsibilities the federal government pertaining to foreign matters is outline in Amendment XI, and limits state’s rights pertaining to foreign affairs and treaties.  Amendments X and XI were written to specifically clarify the responsibilities and limitations of the federal and state governments.

These are the rights which the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, protects, which are rights of the citizens of our states.  "The true foundation of republican government is the equal right of every citizen, in his person and property, and in their management."

Of course, our Constitution is a living document, it is able to be changed, as Jefferson says: “Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.”  Why change the foundation upon that which our great nation was founded?  It is when we attempt to change the foundation, to allow federal government to encroach upon what is clearly the responsibility of the states, that there are problems. This is the reason there is an enormous federal debt.  It is what Jefferson feared when he said: “[The people are] our dependence for continued freedom. And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.

The federal government was not created to care for the people, the federal government was created to attend to foreign affairs and affairs of the country as a whole.  The state governments, with the extension to local governments, were created  "that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press."

The federal and state governments are separate, but they are equal, one not more powerful than the other.  And yet, as Jefferson himself predicted, "even under the best forms, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."  
Our citizen's are not well informed, government run schools and media that supports the federal government have tainted the minds of our citizens. I fear that because our citizens no longer know about the responsibilities, duties and limitations of the different branches of government they will not take corrective action to correct what has gone so terribly wrong.  If you don't know it's broken, you can't fix it.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." --Thomas Jefferson to Col. Charles Yancey, 1816.

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