We have brought the founding generation’s greatest fear to life.
That fear was centralization of power.
One of the most forceful arguments against ratifying the Constitution revolved around what founders called “consolidation.” They feared that the new general government created by the Constitution would swallow up the states and effectively turn the United States into “one nation” with all power and authority flowing from the national government. Massachusetts ratifying convention delegate Fisher Aims warned, “A consolidation of the States would subvert the new Constitution,” and said too much provision cannot be made against it.
Patrick Henry offered an even more emphatic warning, telling the Virginia ratifying convention,
” Consolidation must end in the destruction of our liberties.”
Today, their fears are reality. The federal government exercises almost complete control. It dictates everything from your healthcare to how much water flows into your toilet. When some local government in Nebraska violates somebody’s rights, it becomes a federal case. We even say a pledge calling America “one nation.”
Henry warned that this kind of consolidation would lead to “complete despotism.”
“When he asks my opinion of consolidation, of one power to reign over America with a strong hand, I will tell him I am persuaded of the rectitude of my honorable friend’s opinion, (Mr. Mason,) that one government cannot reign over so extensive a country as this is, without absolute despotism. Compared to such a consolidation, small confederacies are little evils; though they ought to be recurred to but in case of necessity.”
You can judge for yourself the accuracy of Henry’s assessment.
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