Examining the Demise of Federalism

NapolitanoFederalism is essentially the doctrine describing the union or relationship between the States and the central government, and the sharing of powers between the States and the central (federal) government.

The federal government is a creation of and servant to the States and the people of America. The federal government was never intended to boss around the States and lord it over them.

The federal government was granted certain enumerated powers in Article 1 Section 8, and the authority of the central/federal government is limited to those powers alone.

The fact that all other authorities and powers do not belong to the federal is further clarified by the Tenth Amendment which says

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.

The federal government was never intended to have broad powers to be exercised largely on domestic matters; the founders knew too well the dangers of an overly-powerful government.

Rather, the federal government was to be concerned internally with few things such as acting as a kind of “referee” in things like interstate commerce, and primarily on external matters affecting the union of states.

James Madison, known as the “Father of the Constitution,” described it this way:

The powers delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. … The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all 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 states.

You can find out more about how our government is supposed to work here.

Unfortunately we the people–who are the final authorities and guardians of our liberties–have failed to hold our federal government accountable to remain within the confines of the U.S. Constitution. Consequently, from the time of FDR on, federalism, the Constitution, our free market, and our freedoms have been under assault by an increasingly assertive and belligerent federal government.

For some important insight into how the important doctrine of federalism has been eroded–and some of the ways we the people may have to cage this out-of-control federal government–be sure to watch Judge Napolitano’s discussion in the video below.

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