Skip to comments.The neglected areas in the Constitution due to a government out of control
Posted on 06/22/2010 7:25:33 AM PDT by Patriot1259
I feel like a broken record, but the Constitution is explicit about what the federal government can and cannot do. Article I of that document lists seventeen powers that the federal government can do. The Tenth Amendment was designed to dismiss any notion that the federal government had broad powers beyond those laid out in Article I. The founders' agenda was clear -- very restrictive powers for the federal government and vast powers to the states and local governments. Thomas Jefferson may have summed it up best when he wrote in 1816 that "The way to have good and safe government, is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many, distributing to every one exactly the function he is competent to. Let the National Government be entrusted with the defense of the nation and its foreign and federal relations; the State governments with the civil rights, laws, police, and administration of what concerns the State generally; the counties with the local concerns of the counties, and each ward direct the interests within itself. It is by dividing and subdividing these republics from the great national one down through all its subordinations, until it ends in the administration of every man's farm by himself; by placing under every one what his own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best."
(Excerpt) Read more at thecypresstimes.com ...
James Madison wrote to Washington before the convention, 16 Apr. 1787:
Conceiving that an individual independence of the States is utterly irreconcileable with their aggregate sovereignty; and that a consolidation of the whole into one simple republic would be as inexpedient as it is unattainable, I have sought for some middle ground, which may at once support a due supremacy of the national authority, and not exclude the local authorities wherever they can be subordinately useful.
Subordinately useful? Ain't that a kick in the nuts! He goes on:
Over and above this positive power, a negative in all cases whatsoever on the legislative acts of the States, as heretofore exercised by the Kingly prerogative, appears to me to be absolutely necessary, and to be the least possible encroachment on the State jurisdictions. Without this defensive power, every positive power that can be given on paper will be evaded & defeated. The States will continue to invade the national jurisdiction, to violate treaties and the law of nations & to harrass each other with rival and spiteful measures dictated by mistaken views of interest.
Here the complaint is compliance. That was a problem in the confederation. But look at the cure! Total absolute veto power over the states on anything whatsoever. This shows you where Madison, Hamilton, and Washington wanted to place the balance of power.
Another happy effect of this prerogative would be its controul on the internal vicisitudes of State policy; and the aggressions of interested majorities on the rights of minorities and of individuals. The great desideratum which has not yet been found for Republican Governments, seems to be some disinterested & dispassionate umpire in disputes between different passions & interests in the State. The majority who alone have the right of decision, have frequently an interest real or supposed in abusing it. In Monarchies the sovereign is more neutral to the interests and views of different parties; but unfortunately he too often forms interests of his own repugnant to those of the whole. Might not the national prerogative here suggested be found sufficiently disinterested for the decision of local questions of policy, whilst it would itself be sufficiently restrained from the pursuit of interests adverse to those of the whole Society?
It's as if Madison is forseeing the civil rights movement. All the various "rights" movements. The national government, according to Madison, was to be our Great Protector, the Disinterested Umpire of all things.
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