Despite their many differences, most countries have one thing in common: a centralized government as the ruling body, with smaller parcels of territory sectioned off for subordinate leaders to directly control the populace. Such was the governmental system in place when our thirteen founding colonies were established. However, our forefathers revolted against the British precisely to escape this sort of oppressive governing. They saw a better way that allowed the people to rule over their government rather than having the government rule over them. That better way is a governmental system called “federalism.”
Federalism is neither an ideology nor a form of government. Federalism is the term used to describe the act of more than one government controlling the same geographic location. This approach to government differs from most others because it grants the average citizen power over their centralized government while retaining the infrastructure required to maintain a unified banner.
Our country began as thirteen individual colonies of Britain under the Colonial Government. These colonies were essentially allowed to make their own decisions and hold their own elections, most under the scrutinizing eye of royally-appointed governors. When Britain passed the oppressive Stamp Act of 1765, the colonists united in resistance. The colonists may not have intended to found an entirely new country, but as British rule began to decay in 1773, a pathway opened for the creation of the first Continental Congress in 1774. Thus, the colonists started down the road toward independence.
The end of the colonial government occurred when the royal governors were displaced. In 1776, the Continental Congress advised the colonies to form their own governments. As each colony adopted its own constitution, they became sovereign, independent states. Throughout the following decade, the Continental Congress convinced these newly formed states to join a union of mutual defense and by 1787, our national Constitution was signed. Thus, the federal government was born.
When more than one government controls the same area, there must be rules to determine who holds jurisdiction over which areas of governing. That is the purpose of our national Constitution. The wording of the document makes it clear that our individual states, and the people, hold power over our federal government. The 10th Amendment explains that any power not specifically granted to the federal government in Section 1, Article 8 are powers retained by the states. Since the states are directly controlled by the people, Amendment 10 grants control over most governing issues to the people.
These concepts have been delicately – and deliberately – obfuscated through the centuries. The political party process gave rise to the “party lines” concept, which focuses on acquiring and maintaining power for specific, privately held organizations rather than an open citizenry. As political parties continue to weave themselves into the fabric of our state and local governments, these operatives gradually relinquish power bestowed upon the states by the Constitution to the federal government. This is how the federal government took control and maintains control over the formerly sovereign states. We have come full circle, from one form of centralized government to another.
How easily we forget our union was created for defense, not control.
However, hope is not yet lost. We still have the opportunity to wrest the domineering control away from the federal government and place it back into the hands of the states and, therefore, the people. There are several means of achieving this goal. We still retain the ability to thoroughly vet candidates and elect those to local office who understand and support the Federalist nature of our government. From our city leaders to state legislatures, these are the people who can refine our local systems to properly support our state citizens, thereby removing the perceived need for federal overreach. Remember, political party is not nearly as important as a candidate’s overall governing philosophy.
As we place these federalist-minded politicians within our state governments, or continue to support the ones already there, we also need to help promote a Convention of States.
“Article V of the United States Constitution allows us to call a Convention of States to restrict the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, effectively returning the citizens’ rightful power over the ruling elite.” – Convention of States
The Convention of States (COS) project is an organization already in place working tirelessly to educate the populace on the existence and necessity of the solution granted to us by Article V of the Constitution.
“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.” – Article V, U.S. Constitution
This National Update map shows which states are taking the various steps necessary to convene a Convention of States. Regardless of where your individual state is along the process, there is still much you can do to help. Remember, electing the proper, federalist-minded politicians into local office is the most step you can take with the most, direct impact.
The United States government was uniquely designed to keep the power over our destinies in the hands of the American people. Our federal government has been working for centuries to methodically transition that power out of our hands and into theirs. May all the corruption of our 2016 election cycle serve as a final warning and may it motivate you to stand with us against our own subjugation. We remain free only for as long as we allow it.