The more that I read and study the matter, the more convinced I become that adopting the Constitution and implementing the government outlined therein was the biggest mistake our country ever made. Yet to utter such words might cause one to be labeled as treasonous; and if not that, certainly unpatriotic because it implies that the person saying it does not support their government.
On the surface the Constitution is not that bad – if it is adhered to in the strictest of senses – and as originally intended. However, if one begins to dig, to study, they will find that due to the omission of certain key words and by the delegating of certain powers the Constitution is actually a Pandora’s Box that allows for the entity it creates to become a monster that functions contrary to the stated purposes in the Preamble.
Among those who actually vote there are three camps that the media pundits love discussing; there are the Republicans, the Democrats, and those they call the Swing Voters; those who flip flop back and forth between Republican and Democratic candidates based upon what the candidates say on the campaign trail. Yet how many times does one hear those same media pundits discuss the Constitution itself, and whether or not the things a candidate is campaigning on conform to its limitations upon the powers delegated to our government?
Let me ask you a simple question; if the documents that established both our country and its system of government hold no meaning to you then what is to stop the government established by our Founders from becoming one that subverts the liberty of those bodies it was established to represent?
You see, no matter what you have been told, it is not YOUR government – not entirely anyways. Yet I constantly hear people use the term ‘We the people’ as if that means that this government we have was established solely to serve their needs. WRONG!!!
In January of 1787 the United States existed as a confederation; a loose union of States with a centralized government with few powers. At that point in our country’s history the State Legislatures held far more power than did the central government. The Articles of Confederation, which established that central authority, were enacted by the consent of the State Legislatures and its authority did not extend to the lives, property or liberty of the inhabitants of each State.
Then along came a snake in the grass known as James Madison. Madison felt that the existing government gave the States far too much power, and that for the UNION to survive that must change, that a strong centralized government must be formed which took from the States most of their authority, leaving them “…subordinately useful.” (Source: Letter to George Washington, April 16, 1787)
Yet had Madison came right out and said that this was his intended purpose, no State would have sent a single delegate to Philadelphia to attend his convention; and the Constitution would never have been written – so he lied. Madison, as well as all the other delegates, went to Philadelphia with the authority to only come up with proposals to amend and strengthen the Articles of Confederation. However, as soon as they began their deliberations the doors were locked, the windows covered, and they were all sworn to secrecy lest word of their evil machinations find their way back to their respective State Legislatures. Had the States found out what they were doing it is quite possible that they would have recalled their delegates, and the Constitution would never have been written.
While it was generally agreed to that a stronger government than the one outlined by the Articles of Confederation was needed; that’s where the agreement ended; as there were varying ideas as to how that system of government be organized and what powers it be allowed to exercise. There was also much debate within the convention over what powers the States ought to retain; while there were some who called for the almost complete abolishment of the States as sovereign and independent entities; consolidating them all under one central authority.
People today, with their perverted understanding of State vs. federal authority, cannot understand the extent to which many back then were jealous of any infraction upon the authority of the States to manage their own internal affairs as they saw fit. Having so recently fought a war to free themselves from the oppressive rule of a tyrant it is unthinkable that they would then turn around and create a system of government that opened the doorway for a tyranny of their own creation.
To the people living in the period which saw our Constitution come into existence, their home State was their country, and any form of government that intruded upon the authority of their State to regulate their lives was considered tyrannical. Therefore, to get them to agree to the proposed Constitution they were promised that the general government it created would act externally to the State authority.
To calm the fears of the people, at least those of the people living in New York, a series of essays were published in the New York Press expounding upon the need for a stronger more energetic government, and the assurance that it would not pose a threat to the States or to the liberty of the people. These essays became known as the Federalist Papers; and they were nothing more than a lengthy ad campaign to con the people of New York into adopting their precious Constitution.
Nonetheless what was written in the Federalist Papers, as well as what was said in the various State Ratifying Assemblies, is the reasons why the Constitution was agreed to; even though sometimes the vote was close. For instance, Virginia voted to adopt the Constitution by a vote of 89 in favor and 79 against. Then there were the tactics used early on in the State of Pennsylvania where some of the delegates to the Ratification Assembly were forcibly brought to the chambers so that a quorum could be obtained to rapidly adopt the system without a thorough and comprehensive examination of its attributes.
The key point in all this is that those who voted in favor of the Constitution did so for one of two reasons. There were those who hoped to benefit from the adoption of this new system of government; meaning leaders of industry or banking who saw this new form of government as a means of obtaining favors from the government they were tasked with debating. Then there were those who truly sought to do what was best for their State, and only adopted the Constitution based upon the promises made to them during the ratification debates.
One of the key points regarding State vs. federal authority is explained/promised by Madison in Federalist #45 where he states, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined.” That should be clear enough not to require an elaboration on my part, yet to be sure that it is fully understood let me say that few means just that; not very many, and defined means that the powers this new government was given are specifically listed – leaving no room for interpretation.
Madison then goes on to discuss those powers reserved to the States, “Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” Again, that should not require any elaboration, but to be on the safe side let me say that indefinite simply means without limit.
And here is where we get to the crux of the matter; where Madison discusses where the authority of the federal government shall extend. Madison states, “The former [federal] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected.”
Then Madison concludes by stating where the sphere of authority of the States will apply, “The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
Now you tell me, and be honest, how in the world does that even come close to resembling the relationship between federal and State authority today? When Madison said that the internal order of the States would be within the purview of the States he meant the enforcement of laws that directly affected the lives and liberty of the people residing in each State. Yet we have agencies such as the DEA, the BATF, and the FBI that routinely interpose upon State authority to control their own order.
How can you reconcile that with what Madison promised would be the relationship between State and federal authority?
Our federal government, as promised to those who agreed to it, would act primarily upon the States in their political capacities, while serving to defend them as a Union of States who had agreed to a central government of very limited power.
Unfortunately, as soon as this government went into operation, there were those chosen to run it who felt that it should use its taxing and coercive power to benefit business and banking interests, and to grow America into a mighty economic empire. At the same time there were those who sought to keep the government to its few delegated powers and allow the States to manage their own internal affairs. This was the origin of the first political parties in America; and they came about over the argument that the Constitution granted the federal government hidden, or implied powers.
Yet in arguing against ratification, Patrick Henry declared, “You are not to inquire how your trade may be increased, nor how you are to become a great and powerful people, but how your liberties can be secured; for liberty ought to be the direct end of your Government.”
I don’t think Henry was opposed to the idea that America become a great and mighty economic power; only that government not be utilized to further that goal. For men like Patrick Henry, government should exist for one reason only – to safeguard and preserve the liberty of the people.
If America were to become a great and powerful people, it should be due to the industriousness of the people living within each State, not by laws passed, or taxes imposed that benefited business and industry. And the authority over the internal affairs of each State, at least according to Madison in Federalist 45, lay with the State Legislatures.
Our federal government was not established to represent business, industry, and banking interests; it was established to represent the great body of the people and the States in their political capacity. That is why we have/had a bicameral Congress which represented the States, via their choosing members to sit in the Senate, and the people who chose their members to sit in the House.
The moment that partisan politics entered the scene it ushered in the beginning of the end to a limited government established to secure liberty for the people. Once people saw that the unlawful exercise of power created jobs, which improved their lives, they were willing to allow government to overstep its lawful authority even further if it promised them safety, security and comfort.
To bolster this economic growth protective tariffs were imposed upon the importation of foreign goods; much like what Trump wants to do right now. As most of the big businesses and industry were located in the North, those tariffs affected those living in the South to a much greater extent than they did those living in the North. In the 1830’s the issue of these tariffs led the sitting Vice President to resign his seat so that he could be elected to the Senate to fight against them for his home State of South Carolina. (Research the Nullification Crisis for further details)
Couple those crippling tariffs with the North’s attempts to abolish slavery; which was perfectly legal under the Constitution, and you see that the South was being forced to live under the authority of a government that did not represent them, yet taxed them heavily to fund the growth of Northern business interests. When Abraham Lincoln won the election of 1860 the South felt that their chances for restoring their say in government went out the window – so they seceded.
Now you might argue that the North was right in attempting to abolish slavery; and it was, as slavery is an evil practice. But does that mean the Northerners were any less prejudiced than their Southern counterparts? Well, according to Alexis de Tocqueville, it seemed that the North was worse regarding the black man than the South. In his book Democracy in America de Tocqueville writes, “In that part of the Union where the Negroes are no longer slaves, have they come closer to the whites? Everyone who has lived in the United States will have noticed just the opposite. Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known.”
The point is, that whether it be due to the North’s attempts to interfere with the legal institution of slavery, or whether it was due to the governments imposing crippling tariffs upon them, the South felt it had no other option than to revoke their consent to the government they had a hand it establishing. The government said, “Nope, you can’t do that; the Union is perpetual, as is our authority over you, and we’re here to see that it remains so.”
Had the government not used its coercive and taxing power to benefit Northern business interests there would have been no Civil War; but it didn’t, and there was. Ever since the States have slowly lost their say in what laws our government enacts, until finally in 1913 they lost all say with the ratification of the 17th Amendment; completely shutting the States out and reducing them to exactly what Madison had intended, ‘subordinately useful’ entities.
Those who adopted the Constitution back in 1787-89 were promised that it contained checks and balances designed to prevent abuses of power, but Patrick Henry saw through their fake promises and their ultimate goal of a consolidation of the States into a single national empire, “But now, Sir, the American spirit, assisted by the ropes and chains of consolidation, is about to convert this country to a powerful and mighty empire: If you make the citizens of this country agree to become the subjects of one great consolidated empire of America, your Government will not have sufficient energy to keep them together: Such a Government is incompatible with the genius of republicanism: There will be no checks, no real balances, in this Government: What can avail your specious imaginary balances, your rope-dancing, chain-rattling, ridiculous ideal checks and contrivances?“
And if that is the case, then those who adopted the Constitution made a huge mistake, which ultimately has led us to where we are today. It also means that Lysander Spooner is 100% correct in saying, “But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.”
For one thing is certain, whether you choose to accept it or not, if we have a government today that does not conform to the government which was promised to those who originally agreed to put it into operation, then we have tyranny; and no matter who you elect that will not change until you stop voting for party and start learning why your system of government was originally established, and start voting accordingly.
But I’m not holding my phuocking breath on that ever happening….
February 12, 2019
~ The Author ~
Neal Ross, Student of history, politics, patriot and staunch supporter of the 2nd Amendment. Send all comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you liked Neal’s latest column, maybe you’ll like his latest booklet: The Civil War: (The Truth You Have Not Been Told). Life continues to expand for this prolific writer and guardian of TRUE American history.