Return to Federalism Research Paper

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Annie Reynolds

Return to Federalism

Push Back Against the Expansion of Federal Government Power

"In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." - Thomas Jefferson

Summary

Over the past several decades, we as a people have allowed the fundamental principles written in our Constitution to be forgotten, distorted, or completely ignored. This did not happen overnight but rather bit-by-bit over time until we are faced with a system of government that is not, as the founders intended, based on Federalism and individual freedom, but rather a National system far removed from the principles for which these men dedicated their lives, fortunes, and honor. Over the years, we have allowed the government to do more for us, and politicians have been more than happy to say yes. With no regard for our constitution, politicians have expanded the power to the federal government in order to take care of us. All the government asks for in return is a little piece of our individual liberty. As a consequence, our government of limited powers has evolved into a central government that seeks to control nearly every aspect of our lives. Through potentially unconstitutional legislation and burdensome regulation, our current federal government is over reaching into our economy, banking, energy, education, environment, immigration policy, manufacturing, labor, and let’s not forget health care. Fortunately, people have begun to recognize that the current system would be unrecognizable to our founders. Individuals and states are pushing back and Federalism is poised to make a come back. A growing number of people want to return to a government of limited powers, and an arrangement in which states serve as a check when the federal government oversteps the boundaries of the constitution. Today, more than half of our United States are parties to lawsuits against the new health care act (Obama Care), EPA regulation, or the Department of Labor; Thirty three states, in response to a federal administration that refuses to enforce current laws, have passed or are working on their own immigration laws. Perhaps the most significant example of a return to Federalism is the introduction of the Repeal Amendment, which is gaining support from state legislators across the country.

Federalism and States Rights

The Constitution transferred to the federal government those powers necessary for the federal government to provide for the common defense of the entire nation and perform all diplomatic functions. The powers necessary for the Federal government to keep the peace between the states were also transferred to the Federal government. The states retained all powers that affected the lives of the people living inside their borders and the business operating there. The powers the States transferred to the federal government are limited in number and are clearly spelled out in the Constitution in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution. . There are 18 powers listed in this section including the power to: collect various taxes, the power to borrow money, the exclusive power to regulate trade between the States and foreign nations, the power to declare war, the power to raise and train armies, and the power to coin money. Powers reserved to the states include: The power to establish of local governments, the power to issue licensing, the power to regulate intrastate commerce, the power to conduct elections, the power to ratify amendments the Unites States Constitution, the power to provide for public health and safety and the ability to exercise powers neither delegated the national government or prohibited by the United States Constitution. Article 1 Section 10 of the Constitution denies a limited number of powers to the States. They include: the power to enter into treaties, the power to...
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