cross-posted from the Georgia Tenth Amendment Center
In the last paragraph of Antifederalist paper No.17, “Brutus” states the probability that the Federal Government would eventually look to usurp all the powers of the States.The writing of the paragraph seems almost to be a script from the teleprompters of the daily news. It is so obvious that what is taking place in Washington today is a direct result of the Statist’s progressive agendas, slowly but surely infringing on the liberties of the people and the powers specifically given to the States.
Insuring the State powers would not be trampled upon and eventually negated was a huge concern, as it was plausible that the warnings of Antifederalist 17 could very well come to fruition. Imposed by a federal leadership that perceived individualism or personal liberties as a threat, the usurpation of state powers would enable the federal government to be more involved at the states local levels, virtually controlling its programs and thus be an authority to the people. Once this authority was obtained, whether through blackmailing, threats of loss of federal funds for state projects, or other tactics, the federal government would then be in position to control those who could stand in the way of their authority and eliminate any hindrance to their plans of total control. Insert dictatorship, hard tyranny, or totalitarianism here… your choice of nomenclature…
But the builders of our governments foundations and the implementers of it’s construction had the foresight to see the potential of tyrannical regimes coming to power; those hungry for control and mindless of freedom. In it’s perception of utopia, the power of the federal state would be supreme, not the liberty of the individual. Unalienable rights would be non-existent because there is no natural law, only the law which it deems appropriate to enact, to the furtherance of its goals
On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified. The last of these amendments was proposed and ratified with the intent that the state and ultimately the people, would have all power that was not explicitly enumerated in the main text of the Constitution.
The 10th Amendment, as ratified:
Amendment X (10): Powers retained by the states and the people
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.
Brutus’ warning in Antifederalist 17:
It is not meant, by stating this case, to insinuate that the Constitution would warrant a law of this kind! Or unnecessarily to alarm the fears of the people, by suggesting that the Federal legislature would be more likely to pass the limits assigned them by the Constitution, than that of an individual State, further than they are less responsible to the people. But what is meant is, that the legislature of the United States are vested with the great and uncontrollable powers of laying and collecting taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; of regulating trade, raising and supporting armies, organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, instituting courts, and other general powers; and are by this clause invested with the power of making all laws, proper and necessary, for carrying all these into execution; and they may so exercise this power as entirely to annihilate all the State governments, and reduce this country to one single government. And if they may do it, it is pretty certain they will; for it will be found that the power retained by individual States, small as it is, will be a clog upon the wheels of the government of the United States; the latter, therefore, will be naturally inclined to remove it out of the way. Besides, it is a truth confirmed by the unerring experience of ages, that every man, and every body of men, invested with power, are ever disposed to increase it, and to acquire a superiority over everything that stands in their way. This disposition, which is implanted in human nature, will operate in the Federal legislature to lessen and ultimately to subvert the State authority, and having such advantages, will most certainly succeed, if the Federal government succeeds at all. It must be very evident, then, that what this Constitution wants of being a complete consolidation of the several parts of the union into one complete government, possessed of perfect legislative, judicial, and executive powers, to all intents and purposes, it will necessarily acquire in its exercise in operation.