The subject is the superior system of the Republic in respects to the equal application of the Rights of all Citizens. The erosion of this extremely important principle from the governance of this country has been devastating to the cause of the individual, no matter what race, creed or gender.
Those who seek majoritarian rule have transformed us into a national society and that fact has, in essence, crippled the proper and equitable functions of the Republic. The Constitution was not given by the assent of individuals that composed a nation, but as individuals that composed the independent and very distinct States in which they held citizenship. The States, based upon the authority of the People, then assented to the ratification of the Constitution as being federal in nature and not national. There is a very distinct and important difference that directly effects the not only the legislative process, but the application of law relating to the Right of the People and how the government functions.
It is rare that we refer to ourselves as citizens of the individual State Republics; it was once the only reference to citizenship within this country. The reason for that was that this country was not viewed as a nation state, but a nation of States united under a federal system and not a national one. The thought of being a national citizen was contrary to the entire Republican ideal and for good reason; the federal government was only a reflection of the States and the authority the citizens invested, through the States, to the federal government. The People always acted as citizens of their respective States and not as citizens under the auspices of an aggregate national government.
The Founders, well aware of the tendency of majoritarianism, intentionally placed walls of separation within this Republican system and for a very good reason. They knew that if the Constitutional transaction were to work properly, it would not, could not be regarded as forming one nation, but a federal union of States. They knew that if such a national system were to be placed above that of the federal union of States then the will of the majority would gradually bind the minority within society.
Yes, I am aware that there will be those who will relate this to the catch phrase “States Rights”, and will dutifully denigrate any suggestion that we return to a system that allowed the States such authority and powers, yet there is nothing more Constitutional then doing just that. I make no apologies whatsoever for such a stance, for I know that it is one of the primary factors in saving this country from the terminal illness it now faces under the increasingly dangerous usurpations of the so-called federal government. While the Founders instituted attributes to the government that are national in nature, such as those relating to foreign relations, treaties, and interstate commerce; those attributes were extremely limited and were delegated to the federal government but not innately expressed.
The Founders never adopted principles that remotely resemble the system that we now allow ourselves to be subjected to in this country. It was clear that the Framers of the Constitution always considered each State to be a sovereign body, composed of sovereign individuals, independent of all other States and bound only by the voluntary act of a reflective union of States. The Constitution established this union of States federally, not nationally. I will not, at this time, delve into the various actions and acts that have transformed this federal union of States into a National Union, but suffice to say, it has had the exact effects foreseen by Our Founders. They pegged the results of such a transition exactly and indeed their fears have become a reality in this country.
The Founders were extremely wise in their delegation of powers, the system of elections that provided for the House of Representatives severed a national attribute because the their powers are derived directly from the People who are proportionally represented. On the other hand, the Senate [although no longer due to the 17th Amendment], served a federal attribute because it derives its powers from the State Republics and indirectly from the People. It was an incredible system that functioned to protect the People not only against the possible abuse of powers by the government, but from the possible threat of majoritarianism.
Federal powers were limited to a defined sphere of influence because the Founders realized the propensity of power to corrupt those who hold power. It is readily easy to see that they were correct in their assumptions and had this country remained a Republic, such corruption would find a rather difficult expression due to all the checks and balances embedded within the system. At the time of the writing and ratification of the Constitution, the Founders placed the dependency of the federal government on the States rather than the States being dependent upon the federal government. Ultimately however, both the federal and the State governments were to be dependent on the People and their consent to be governed.
While the federal government was fitted with a multiple layer of checks and balances, so too the States were placed under an equally powerful system of checks and balances. The interconnectivity of the system balanced the system and kept the respective powers and authorities in check. As the federal government was to reflect the States, so too was the States to reflect the districts, counties and local governments. Each layer of governmental processes reflected the consent and will of the People and in that reflection there was a high degree of restraint placed on each level of government. Those facts are extremely important if the application of law is meted out with justice and equality.
The possibility of ambitious encroachments by either the States or the federal governments would be inhibited by the opposition of either level of government, not to mention the possibility of the vocal opposition of the People. The Constitution did not combine powers in a way that would lead to an accumulation powers that would pose a danger to the Liberty and Rights of the People. They were very precise in purpose to decrease, although not eliminate, the possibility of such consolidation.
The Founders took particular note of the writings of Charles de Secondat, Baron de la Brede et de Montesquieu in the formation of this system of government. Indeed, the Baron stated: “When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person or body there can be no liberty because apprehensions may arise lest the same monarch or senate enact tyrannical laws to execute them in a tyrannical manner. Were the power of judging joined with the legislative, the life and liberty of the subject would be exposed to arbitrary control, for the judge would then be the legislator. Were it joined to the executive power, the judge might behave with all the violence of an oppressor.” He was, of course, right in his assumptions and we see such combined powers in play today as the various branches of our government either relinquish powers or their powers are usurped by another branch. Likewise, the powers and authorities of the States have been trumped by the increased powers of the federal government.
I will refrain from going into the various delegations of powers found within the Constitution, but suffice to say that the Founders thought of just about everything regarding the proper uses of powers and authorities within the system. Perhaps it is once again time to place our trust in a system that proved far wiser then the fading credibility of our present government; once again we should hearken to the voice of wisdom when it comes to the proper role of government in this country.
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