Thursday, September 03, 2009

Constitution was about Protecting the States

When one looks at the state of affairs today and the leviathan that we have called the federal government, it is hard to believe that our national government was actually quite small and was designed to keep the states sovereign. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention had the overriding objective to keep the states strong and the federal government very weak. You see this in some of the most important themes in the US Constitution. These same themes are among those that the left and the media are most hostile towards today.

  • Electoral College. The Electoral College, which gives each state a certain number of votes based on the number of House members and Senate, is among the most hated of US institutions among liberals and the media because it is "undemocratic." It was designed, for the explicit purpose of making sure every state, regardless of its size, mattered when the federal government made decisions. Without an Electoral College, the ten largest cities (or less) could determine the next President of the United States because of their population. All the many states in between those cities would be completely dismissed and we would have a White House that would only -- and always -- look out for urban interests and not the interests of the rest of the nation.

  • The Bicameral legislature. The founders chose a system with two houses of Congress, one to represent the populations in the states (House of Representatives) and one to represent each state equally regardless of population (the Senate) in order to make sure, again, that each state received equal representation.

  • The unique nature of the US Senate. The US Senate was not designed for any other purpose but to represent the interests of the state governments that chose to send them to Washington. Historically, Senators were appointed by Governors and approved by the legislatures to look after the states' business. This was the single biggest check against a federal government growing out of control and the strongest guard of states rights. Senators had powers not granted to any other federal officials. Their offices included legislative (in the bills they proposed and voted on), executive (in the approval of treaties and Presidential appointments), and judicial (in its unique impeachment role). In 1913 the 17th Amendment was passed to make Senators directly elected like members of the House. This was done because political activists at that time grew tired of how long it took the Senate to move on legislation. By the early 20th century one of the Senate's greatest virtues (its ability and desire to deliberate slowly) became seen as its biggest vice.

  • The Tenth Amendment. There were ten major areas that stood between the newly written US Constitution and ratification. Those issues were addressed in the Bill of Rights. One of those, the Tenth Amendment, reminded the federal government who was actually the main seat of power by stating "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." Simply put, whatever implied powers existed in the Constitution had to be clearly delegated to the federal government or it was left to the states.
Those people who founded this republic were men on a mission. They were passionate crusaders for the dispersion of power and believed the best way for that to be accomplished was to have the power in the states they represented. The delegates from Virginia, for example, saw themselves as Virginia delegates to the Constitutional Convention and not US delegates from Virginia. They had a different mindset from those who governed today. They knew that freedom was found closer to home and not from an increasingly assertive federal government.
Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on AM 650 (M-F at 11 am) in Houston, Texas and on AOL Radio. His articles often appear in Chicago Sun Times, Reuters, USA Today, and other national media. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home