"Our Rights are like a cookie, no matter how big the cookie and
how small the bites, eventually you run out of cookie"
In Part 1 of this series a concept was
presented that runs a bit contrary to current public conception –
that the term States’ Rights can be used more for partisan
benefit than a true effort to protect the God-given Rights of the
Some background is in order. Let’s start with
the body of the Constitutio of 1787. Remember this is the report of
the Constitution Convention of 1787 back to the government of these
United States, then operating under the Articles of Confederation.
A search of the body of The Constitution of
1787, excluding the Amendments - produces one match for either
"rights" or "right" in Article I, Section 8:
promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for
limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their
respective Writings and Discoveries;
This language in the Constitution of 1787 most will recognize as the
basis for the Copyright and Patent laws of The United States.
Perhaps some might find it interesting that in the Constitution of
1787 the only direct reference to a "Right" is to empower the
government to protect certain citizen’s rights for a limited time
There is nothing in the body of the Constitution of 1787 that states
the purpose of government is to guarantee the God-given rights of
The body of the Constitution of 1787
despite its many strong points was obviously flawed in some or many
aspects depending on your point of view. One of these flaws is its
failure to clearly state that its main, or even one of its secondary
purposes is to guarantee the citizen’s God-given Rights. This is
simply a statement of fact. Within a very short period of time after
adoption of the Constitution of 1787 - ten amendments (Bill of
Rights) were added in an effort to correct this specific flaw.
Since the transition from the Articles of Confederation until today,
there has been periodic if not constant debates, disputes and even
armed aggression concerning the allocation of not only "powers to
govern" but what rights the citizens have. Today and through much of
our history since the transition - the term "States’ Rights"
has been used to represent the concept of a federated form of
government as opposed to a national form of government.
From a definition (The Columbia
Electronic Encyclopedia® Copyright © 2007) of federated government:
" … The
distribution of powers between the federal and state governments is
usually accomplished by means of a written constitution, for a
federation does not exist if authority can be allocated by ordinary
[In later parts of this series the author
will submit for readers consideration that this definition should be
expanded to include " … by ordinary legislation, judicial edit or
military power … "]
The bitter partisan disputes that are occurring today are anything
but new. Their roots lie in the State conventions of 1788-89 as the
transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution of
1787 took place. Or for that matter in the struggle for independence
from the English Crown if one does not limit the subject to just
The author believes in and desires a federated form of government
with clearly delegated powers and shared sovereignty. Despite this
strong desire – I do not see much hope of returning to such a form
of government. It certainly does not exist today and grows more
distant with the passage of time.
interesting reference from the first State of the Union address of
President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1807):
combined with the increase of numbers, have produced an augmentation
of revenue arising from consumption in a ratio far beyond that of
population alone; and though the changes in foreign relations now
taking place so desirably for the whole world may for a season
affect this branch of revenue, yet weighing all probabilities of
expense as well as of income, there is reasonable ground of
confidence that we may now safely dispense with all the internal
taxes, comprehending excise, stamps, auctions, licenses, carriages,
and refined sugars, to which the postage on news papers may be added
to facilitate the progress of information, and that the
remaining sources of revenue will be sufficient to provide for the
support of Government, to pay the interest of the public debts, and
to discharge the principals within shorter periods than the laws or
the general expectation had contemplated."
One way to read this statement is that the "new" government
in just a few short years was "already" collecting taxes beyond what
was needed to meet its new Constitutional duties. What would
President Jefferson think of the vast array and amount of the taxes
that modern day citizens face?
Whatever your political affiliation or views on proper form of
government, it is virtually impossible to not agree that our taxes
today are more pervasive than those our Colonial forefathers faced
under the King of England. Sadly the early signs of this fiscal
mentality had already reared its ugly head by 1801.
Another excerpt from this same State of The Union address:
"When we consider
that this Government is charged with the external and mutual
relations only of these States; that the States themselves have
principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation,
constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well
doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too
expensive; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied
unnecessarily and sometimes injuriously to the service they were
meant to promote."
Here we have the essence of the position today called States’
Rights. What President Jefferson is describing is a federated
form of government, which mostly still existed in 1801. But his
words also conveyed the warning that all was not well in this
" … we may well doubt
whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive;
whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily
and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to
Alas, from the creation of American Liberty during the Colonial
period - this land by 1801 had not only undergone a transition from
the Articles of Confederation but was already showing early signs of
incursions nibbling away at American Liberty. Did not President
Jefferson imply that authority or allocation of power was being
accomplished by legislation?
If President Jefferson was right and by 1801 – "offices and
officers had been multiplied unnecessarily " – what does that
say about our land today?
As stated in Part I,
American Liberty is
rapidly approaching the cliff. It's up to you the citizen to change
that direction if it's going to be changed.
Now, for a few closing words on the subject of these articles. If
the concept referenced by the use of today’s term States’ Rights (or more properly State’s Powers) is that referenced by President
Jefferson above, it certainly has merit. All good intentions aside,
if today’s States’ Rights efforts are not directed at
resolving the causes of the failure to achieve a federated form of
government and to guarantee the citizen’s God-given Rights - then it
is partisan political activity of the type that President George
Washington warned us about in his Farewell Address.
To be Continued …