“The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”
For more than a century, members of Washington DC’s political ruling class have treated the American people–the true sovereigns of this nation–like subjects, useful only on Election Day and for the payment of unsustainable obligations. These self-anointed patricians have abused the authority of their office and of the Constitution while dramatically expanding the size of a government whose powers the Founders had sought to define, enumerate and constrain. Unfortunately, our elected representatives discovered that as the power of government grows, so does their own.
Two hundred years ago it was the People who demanded a manageable central government based upon a Constitution–a legal document– which would prevent that government running roughshod over the governed. During the debates on ratifying that Constitution, Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee said: “It goes on the principle that all power is in the people, and that rulers have no powers but what are enumerated in that paper [the Constitution].” “Is it enumerated in the Constitution? If it be, it is legal and just. It is otherwise arbitrary and unconstitutional.”
In the ratifying instrument itself, Virginia delegates did “…declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the People of the United States may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression and that every power not granted therefore remains with them and at their will…”
That is, the power granted the central government by the people of Virginia may be “resumed”–taken back by the people–should the government at any time attempt to misuse that great authority which it had been granted.
In fact, so widespread was the belief that the Constitution could not guarantee the rights of the American people that the Bill of Rights including the 10th Amendment were added to the document in order that Virginia might vote to ratify.
Today the 10th Amendment may be among the most overlooked. Two hundred years ago, states refused to ratify the Constitution itself unless the 10 Amendment was made part of it.
The 10th Amendment states:
“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.”
In 200 years, Americans have gone form defeating a Kingdom to watching the calculated bartering away of their Constitutionally guaranteed rights for political advantage; from reigning as the sovereigns of a nation to merely existing as its subjects.
The Founders fully expected the American people to rise up against any tyrant who would threaten their liberty. We have betrayed their faith and our posterity.
Will enough Americans one day remember who they truly are and what their Constitution guarantees? Will they undertake the necessary struggles to once again become the nation’s sovereigns?
Photo Credit: Standard Compliant