Federalist No. 16

“Here is the danger we have arrived at. Many people still support ‘Hope and Change’ a ‘New Deal’, etc., ect. that do or have done nothing but increase federal authority to the point most Americans are so dependent on government that it borders on tyrannical. How do we stop this? We begin with restoration amendments.”

star This essay has one line that in light of our recent government policies and actions sent a chill down my spine when I read it. Hamilton starts out as he has started out in many of his essays, relating the troubles America will face if it does not unite and give the central authority more energetic powers. If America were to remain a confederacy, the national government would  need a large standing army to enforce any of its decisions because the states in the 1780s had only agreed to confederate loosely, while retaining their complete and total sovereignty. They believed they owed nothing to a central government. It is clear that such a situation could not long remain without serious problems and would lead to the ultimate death of the confederacy “if the federal system be not speedily renovated in a more substantial form.” That was the case then but what about now? We now suffer not from a want of federal authority but from too much. On the spectrum of federalism we have lost the middle way of shared power. While it has never been fully defined where the federal authority begins and state authority ends, it was always understood, until FDR, that the states took care of most all the needs of their citizens. Now we are moving toward a more unitary system in which the federal government simply dictates to the states what they can and cannot do. 

spectrum of fed

 Hamilton makes the argument that it would be difficult under the Constitution for a state to overturn the federal authority but at the end of his discussion he admits that “Attempts of this kind [states violently overthrowing the government] would not often be made with levity or rashness, because they could seldom be made without danger to the authors, unless in cases of a tyrannical exercise of federal authority. Here is the danger we have arrived at. Many people still support “Hope and Change” a “New Deal”, etc., ect. that do or have done nothing but increase federal authority to the point most Americans are so dependent on government that it borders on tyrannical. How do we stop this? We begin with restoration amendments.

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