Framing the Dialogue

I Plead The Tenth

The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution 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.”

These 28 words say so much, but are regarded so little these days.  When you look back to what our fledgling country encountered as a colony of England you should be able to understand their trepidation towards the creation of a powerful United States (Federal) government. 

These 28 words say a great deal.  Unless the powers are expressly delegated to the Federal government, they do not have the powers.  They were so fearful of a controlling central power that they included the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms.  Did they have an expectation that the citizens would someday have to wrestle control /power from a domineering central government?

Abraham Lincoln has been getting a lot of press these days.  He is arguably considered the greatest president of this nation.  Of course his presidency was dominated by the Civil War although many in the south refer to it as “The War Between the States.”  This bloody conflict did two main things, one great and one dubious.

Obviously freeing the slaves put an end to a dark period of our country and can be celebrated.  The dubious part, however, was the not so subtle move toward a strong and controlling central government.  This brings to mind a line from one of my favorite movies.  In the movie Gettysburg, an adaptation of The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, there is a scene with some captured Confederate soldiers leaning against a fence.

A Union soldier asked why they were fighting.  The response was that they were “fighting for states raaghts” (rights).  There is truth to that statement even as we remember the southern states wanted the right for its citizens to own slaves.  The northern States, aptly named the Union subdued the southern states again aptly named the confederacy and a larger federal government was formed.

Fast forward to February 3, 1913 when the Sixteenth amendment was ratified:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Forward again to April 8, 1913 for the Seventeenth Amendment:

“The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years…”

Prior to this Amendment, the States selected Senators.  The founding fathers believed that this would cause them to resist expected power grabs from the Federal Government.  Since they reported to the states and did not have to be concerned with popular elections they would protect states rights.

Forward again to January 16, 1919 and we had prohibition with the Eighteenth Amendment.  Again the Federal Government taking control.  This one did not end well and was repealed in 1933 by the Twenty-first Amendment.

The Federal government has grown and it growing and growing and growing.  I was planning on listing when many US Government agencies were created.  I found a web site that lists all agencies and was shocked at how many there are.  We have an “Office of English Language Acquisition!”  That should make you sleep better tonight.

There doesn’t seem to be an end in sight.  Very few states can resist the fat tax checks coming from the Federal Government.  Those checks have strings, which often further reduce the power of the states.  Pork projects (AKA earmarks) should be considered a gateway drug.

Fast forward to 2009.  Take a look at how many governors are begging the Feds for “stimulus” money.  There seemed to be a few who would not take the money, but may relent because if they refuse, it will just go to other states.  They forget that like illegal drugs, the first one is free. 

Look at the additional plans our elected officials have for our country.  We are approaching the nationalization of banks.  President Obama is creating a group to oversee the U.S. auto industry.  My guess that the government will tell the automakers what cars YOU want. 

Maybe the most frightening for many of us will be the creation of a national health care system.  We’ll have to save that for later, however, Obama has proposed $700 billion dollars as a “down payment” on this new program.  To quote Charlie Brown; “Good Grief.”

I plead the TENTH!

“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.”

You can get your very own free pocket guide to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution at the Heritage Foundation.

Update April 14, 2009 – Texas Governor Rick Perry announced today that he would back legislation proposed by fellow Republican state Representative Brandon Creighton in support of state’s rights as outlined in the Tenth Amendment of our Constitution.  House Concurrent Resolution 50, stated that:

“Affirming that the State of Texas claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates, and providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed.”

In announcing his support of the Resolution, Gov. Perry stated:

“I believe that our federal government has become oppressive in its size, its intrusion into the lives of our citizens, and its interference with the affairs of our state. That is why I am here today to express my unwavering support for efforts all across our country to reaffirm the states’ rights affirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I believe that returning to the letter and spirit of the U.S. Constitution and its essential 10th Amendment will free our state from undue regulations, and ultimately strengthen our Union.  Millions of Texans are tired of Washington, DC trying to come down here to tell us how to run Texas.”

Another governor has also thumb his nose at Washington.  Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina has said that he will reject about $700 million in stimulus money for his state.  Gov. Sanford wanted to use the money to reduce debt, but was told by the White House that money could only be used for government services [entitlements].  Gov. Sanford expressed concern that after the stimulus money was gone, the programs created will require funding by the state.

“It cuts against the notion of federalism and the idea of each state having the flexibility to act in a manner that best suits its needs. As a result, we will not be seeking the use of these federal funds for the way they put our state even further into an unconscionable level of debt…. We simply cannot afford to base 10 percent of our state budget on money that will disappear in two years’ time.”

All may be lost at the state legislature can override the governor’s objections and take the money anyway.  It seems that a provision was placed in the stimulus legislation allowing this end run. 

5 CommentsLeave one

  1. Stats Rhats - Framing the Dialogue says:

    […] I am starting to understand what the citizens of the Confederate States of America were thinking back then.  The trigger in my mind was still slavery, but they still fought for states’ rights.  Our Founders thought so much of states’ rights that they were quite clear on the point with the Tenth Amendment, […]

  2. News Briefs – Volume XIV – Upside Down World / Framing the Dialogue says:

    […] I have heard many question who is paying for the mosque and who is behind the project since most of terrorist attacks against America and Americans has been perpetrated by Muslim Extremists.  Nancy, however, wants the finances of those who oppose the mosque investigated.  Cuckoo for CocoPuffs.  Someone must have explained it to her and she backtracked and suggested that both sides be investigated.  I would suggest that the federal government stay out of the local issue.  Remember the Tenth Amendment! […]

  3. Shall Not Be Infringed / Framing the Dialogue says:

    […]  As liberals continue to probe the depths of their insanity (doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result), I need to move away from the self protection argument.  The real thrust of our Second Amendment right is to protect against a tyrannical government.  Remember that the Founders were under the thumb of a King, had no real representation, and distrusted government, especially a strong central government.  Remember the Tenth Amendment; […]

Leave a comment

Use basic HTML (<a href="">, <strong>, <blockquote>)