[amazon_image id=”0674062035″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Ideological Origins of American Federalism[/amazon_image]By: Bill Flaz
Originally Appeared in: Forbes
What a nasty, sordid presidential campaign, particularly if you live in a hotly contested area. Thankfully, we watch very little television, but wow, talk about being inundated with attack ads. Apparently, Ohio got the point, Romney is evil. Some voters are now elated while others are depressed. Still more risk experiencing buyer’s remorse. Many in battleground states are just relieved it’s over.
The increasingly rancorous nature of elections reflects an unseemly byproduct of authority being overly invested in the federal executive. The electoral stakes have escalated as political power swells and because Washington wrestled sovereignty away from the states. National campaigns are winner take all and the presidency is far more significant than our Forefathers intended.
Remember, the Federal Government did not create the states. Thirteen several and sovereign states united to craft a Constitution. When they established what ultimately became Washington the Founders maintained the states as the primary instruments of civil justice. Save a few outliers like the post office, Washington’s domestic duties were generally confined to preventing states from levying impediments to commerce or waging war on their neighbors.
State authorities surrendered to the federal apparatus only a few precisely enumerated responsibilities. James Madison, “Father” of the Constitution, explained, “The powers delegated … to the federal government, are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce.”
Authority was left diffused because Americans have historically been suspicious of concentrated power whether political, financial or religious. Take the First Amendment. Historian David Hackett Fischer wrote it entailed a “Regional compromise of high complexity… to preserve religious freedom of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and at the same time to protect the religious establishments of New England from outside interference.”
The simple but brilliant solution to bring about peaceful coexistence: Washington would mind its own business. The Framers specifically refused to transform local customs or mores into a ‘one size fits all’ monstrosity. Different regions had distinct cultural dynamics. America’s de-centralized political establishment dating back to the colonial era remained intact. Federal control was checked.
To Continue Reading: http://www.forbes.com/sites/billflax/2012/11/13/after-a-bitter-election-unite-a-divided-nation-around-federalism/