Too often, the 10th Amendment, is referenced with the term “States Right,” which in turn is a reminder of our nation’s dark history in which “states rights” was used in the secession attempts of the southern states for multiple reasons, including the continuation of the practice of slavery. It is for that reason that I offer the following.
The term “States Rights” is somewhat of a misnomer. The correct terminology would be “State Sovereignty” as imbued in the original principles and definition of “Federalism” and as enforced in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution.
Historically, the sovereignty of the states was a critical aspect in the formation of our union of states as our nations founders and the original states were, with the exception of Hamilton and a few others, vehemently opposed to centralized governance having just freed the infant nation from the oppression of governance from a foreign central government. In fact the structure of governmental powers as defined by the 9th and 10th Amendments clearly depict a structure of governance emanating from the origin of all governance, “We the People.”
As specifically recognized in the Declaration of Independence it is only by the consent of “We the People” that the states received a level of authority necessary to govern and administer the laws and infrastructure required in the states. It was only those powers and authority which was needed to administer interstate infrastructure and commerce and national currency and defense that were granted to the federal government by the consent of, “We the People” and the States. In short the federal government was to be an agent of the people and the states created only to facilitate interaction between the sovereign states and as a unified defense of our nation and standardized currency.
This is the history and structure of governance we have and are not being taught in our public schools and universities.
I invite readers to study the foundations of our nation leading up to and proceeding from the establishment of our Republic in 1789. Our Liberty, our Freedom and our survival as a nation are dependent on our knowledge.