In the early days of the federalist republic the United States first adjusted, then flourished under American Federalism. Though only given a brief trial, federalism’s embrace of liberty and responsibility gave birth to a new country’s ability to succeed.
First embodied in theories debated globally; framers created and founders supported the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights in 1791, bringing American Federalism to life. This document represented agreements and compromises among the representatives of the people living in thirteen nations dedicated to governing against tyranny and anarchy, oppression and chaos.
Accepting the responsibility that is liberty people formed cooperative associations and strong, local self-government. Less than 50 years later Alexis de Tocqueville wrote of the amazing passion the American people had for their Constitution and government yet it was hardly seen and was not oppressive as his own French government was.
Downward spirals would begin through the ensuing war over economics and slavery, industrial growth, and a flood of new European immigrants clamoring for work and opportunity while bringing an acceptance of centralization and democracy with little knowledge of republican federalism. Understanding of the fundamental document waned as lessons on administrative progress through bureaucratic experts emerged strong, first in Germany and then quickly through academia and political factions in the United States.
By 1913 majority and minority leadership roles were being implanted into the legislative branch, changing it from the people’s government to the dominant factions’ government. Progressive Era leader Woodrow Wilson won against Teddy Roosevelt’s challenge to lead progress in the U.S. toward a democracy focused on delegated powers and administrative law. (Wilson’s and Roosevelt’s trust in human nature’s progress would be tested fully for the next hundred years.) The 16th Amendment made it legal for the general government to take productive wages directly from the people while the 17th Amendment altered forever a bi-cameral legislative branch. States suffering a blow to separation of powers proved no match to a stronger general government, silencing the 10th Amendment while significantly muting the 9th. As the year closed the Federal Reserve was born and Supreme Law was softened further in preparation for the emerging bureaucracy.
Centralizing bureaucratic rule in Washington D.C. over the next century left the Constitution battered, ignored, and scoffed by proponents of progressive’s ‘living constitution’ approach to governing. Lobbyists, PACs, and bureaucracy grew to a point of acceptance as the way things are done in a democracy. Today few challenge the methods of making rules and laws. Collusion among governing agencies and corporations squashed out capitalism’s benefits, leaving modern society an adulterated crony-capitalism unfairly weighted in favor of those giving to campaigns, willfully lobbying for competitive dominance with the aid of government. Political factions continue to mount campaigns for further transformation, saying today’s problems can be fixed with more progress, ever more centralization. The hope of bureaucratic rule praised by Wilson shows no signs of helping as cities, counties, and states suffer from the imposed regulatory grasp progressive changes provide.
Despite taking an Oath of Office to defend the U.S. Constitution elected and bureaucratic leaders embraced governing approaches defiantly violating the tenets of American Federalism. Not designed for efficiency, federalism’s unique experiment was reliant on a steadfast, educated electorate willing to self-govern locally, select the best servants and protectors to serve as representatives, and expecting each level of government to check the other in an effort to balance sound governing with freedom’s ability to spark prosperity for the people.
As factions grew human nature’s lust for power, money, and greed broke through the parchment protection of the Supreme Law. Progressives deny following original intent will work in a modern society, founders of modern progressivism proclaimed no historic evidence federalism could last. Evolution in laws, driven by popular vote and any current perceived need, must be embraced if people are to be protected and served. Despite the failures of bureaucracy, despite the mounting oppression felt from burdensome rules and regulations supporters show no understanding of history’s lessons on centralized power.
A well-educated, representative electorate helped bring early success while a less informed, more democratic and divided electorate is quickly leading toward failure. The soap box is shaken, ballot box corrupt, bullet box locking down, and the only box left is something to be carefully considered by all for all are human and currently living together.
Oaths are still taken but almost never upheld. Elected officials openly support delegated authority, definitely violating their sworn oath, yet nobody cares and millions actually cheer and call for further ignoring of constitutional law in favor of bureaucracy. The country no longer appears as 50 nations united for mutual support but rather one nation divided along special interest lines controlled by a cabal simply called government or the feds.
Powerful bureaucracies are busy beating the final breath from liberty’s guiding document, blatantly ignoring any sworn oath they’ve taken to do the contrary. Each branch supports administrative law as if their Oath of Office was taken to defend crony-capitalism rather than republican federalism. Lobbyists, PACs, bought media, and delusional interest groups embrace transforming government further toward oppression while the leaders of the movement become inexplicably wealthy.
For all those cheering the death, throwing stones and protesting for faster demise, their future is clearly written in history. Progressing toward a stronger fascist approach in governing has never been successful. The U.S. shows no promise in the ability of progressive leaders to be the first to rewrite a disastrous history of fascism or socialism. Federalist republicanism fell not from its inability to support liberty and freedom but from the greed and lust for power, money, and influence, the very enemy American Federalism was designed to check while balancing today’s passions, protecting tomorrow’s children; a more perfect union.
There are many saddened by the constitution’s passing. American Federalism has been given so little chance despite such great promise. It is possible there could be a resurgence in constitutional law over administrative law but the probability of doing so wanes as the dying corpse is further torn apart rather than being given lifesaving resuscitation.
There are too few oath keepers and too many greedy people; parchment cannot stop such a terrible assault. American Federalism is now near death, are you cheering?
- Jeff Sessions Reminds Us of Our Need for the Tenth Amendment - January 9, 2018
- The Ninth and Tenth Amendment: Partners in Federalism for Liberty - October 30, 2017
- A Closer Look at the American Creed - April 10, 2017