The Confederacy was a failed attempt at a co-op among the 13 colonies whose revolution made them sovereign nations. When the Confederacy failed, the need for unification became clear. Each of these nations/states had their own constitution. Those 13 constitutions protected the rights of the people from the oppression they had just escaped. Today, Constitution Day 2019, we celebrate 13 constitutions.
Their need for unification resulted in the Constitutional Convention which in turn gave us the US Constitution. These thirteen nation/states were very jealous of their sovereignty. This jealous concern for the rights of their citizens generated a great portion of the discussion in that convention. They were most anxious that a new co-operative among the states would never overpower them and become a threat to the freedoms they had just paid so dearly to buy.
The sovereignty of the thirteen states was patently clear in the fact that each had its own constitution. In fact, it was under the auspices of those constitutions that the US constitution could be adopted. There was no other way to form the needed co-op.
Perhaps the greatest mistake in our history was made when we first began to visualize the new government as an umbrella rather than a platform. As a people, we have almost universally looked to this new federal government as holding the keys to progress, and in so doing have handed the big, legal club to the government most politically and geographically distant, most intractable, and most disdainful of our rights.
Today there are 51constitutions that have created 102 legislative bodies that write all our laws. One hundred of those bodies have the authority to write any law their respective constitutions permit. The other two we call “Congress” and its legitimate (i.e. constitutional) powers were severely limited but have been carelessly extended into every nook and cranny of our lives. Congress is in our pockets, our offices, our kitchens, our garages, our bathrooms and even our bedrooms.
The states have already begun to take back their sovereignty. It is time we re-conceptualized the federal government as the co-op formed by the states. It is high time to return our primary allegiance to the states who are much closer, much more responsive to our cries, and much easier to control. We could begin by posting the tenth amendment in our kitchens.
“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.”