How Much Power Should the Federal Government Have?

Since Up The Flag hasn’t figured out how to post, I’ll get the ball rolling on the next topic in the 4 ways we’re still fighting the Civil War discussion. Of course, I would go even earlier than the Civil War and say that the problems began with the War For Independence.  Remember that the Original 13 colonies were separate and distinct  entities prior to the “Revolution”.  With the Declaration of Independence, there came the original constitutional document which was the Articles of Confederation.  Events would show that was not effective enough of a document to run a large nation, which lead to the movement for the Constitution.

Of Course, there were groups who supported the new Constitution, the Federalists, and those who thought the Articles of Confederation were just dandy, the Anti-federalists.  We can gather that one set wanted a strong federal system and the others didn’t.  The quote which is most relevant is the one this section starts with:

Nullification, states’ rights and secession. Those terms might sound like they’re lifted from a Civil War history book, but they’re actually making a comeback on the national stage today.

The problem here is that these problems existed at the beginning of the United States’ independence movement, yet was something that they thought could be worked out later on.  Unfortunately, it is something which causes a great deal of difficulty in a nation the size of the US.  It has caused even more difficulty as the US has grown larger.

In my mind, this isn’t a simple question of just plain power, but what should be the nature of the Union?  Even more troubling, this is a question which needs to be addressed.  It’s time is long overdue as the failure to have dealt with it has caused far too much bllodshed and difficulty for the American people.


8 thoughts on “How Much Power Should the Federal Government Have?

  1. I am re reading Alex de Toqueville’s Democracy in America…..
    Actually what inspired it was reading Peter Carey’s wonderful fiction, Parrot and Olivier in America. I constantly read quotes from Toqueville, or references to his work by people who obviously have not read the work but have selectively used his words to support an idealized view of American Democracy, formulated during the time of Andrew Jackson. Let’s face it, the Jacksonian era of American Democracy was so close to the present day, when populist fervor, states rights, anti immigration fever, anti federalism…all of the precursors to the crisis of governing the disjointed patched together Unionwe call the United States.
    It comes down to the crux of reason which I am now obsessed with, The Hypocrisy of Faith…we are blinded by ideals, by a concept frozen in scripture that is only a reflection of crystalline ideal that has long become obscured by time. If the lens by which we chart our destiny is cracked and obsolete, then what good is it?

  2. one more thing, Iceland has been called the oldest democracy on the planet, but that hasn’t stopped them from being bold enough to change the sacred scripture of their constitution. Even now, there is a national citizens counsel at work reviewing the constitution and rewriting it, to bring Iceland into the 21st century.
    Computer software is a very good analogy….
    could you exist with the operating system that the computer you had even 5 years ago had?

  3. Man, one more thing….reading Toqueville and his ideas on democracy and civil war, written before 1820 makes you realize how naive and idealistic he was…

  4. The Civil War ought to have settled the question of this Post. “Nullification, states rights, and secession” were all defeated by the Civil War. What is shameful is that we have let these ideas to come back into vogue. Over 500,000 Americans are dead in graves scattered across the South. Where is the leader who will say, “make my day!”? “We’ve been there, done that, and you lost! If you want to talk secession, you will be arrested as a ‘clear and present danger’ to the Union.” Eisenhower nationalized the Arkansas National Guard to thwart then Governor Faubus to deny the Brown Case. Once Ike nationalized them they were under the control of the Federal Government and any disobedience to his demands was a court martial. Then Kennedy and LBJ did the same in MS and AL. After the Civil War, no State can stop the Federal Government. It’s laws are stated in the Constitution as the “Supreme Law of the Land.”

    Now, look at Obama. He works to get a national health law passed. While it is flawed without the public option, it is the law of the land. With some States unhappy, what does Obama tell the National Governors Meeting a month or so ago? “Go ahead and set up your own plan.” I would not see any of the above Presidents saying that. Indeed, when Eisenhower was faced with Faubus, he cussed out the Supreme Court and said “let the Court enforce it.” LOL. But he knew he was the chief enforcer, and he did what he had to do. The Civil War settled that!

  5. It should have indeed.

    Likewise, the Constitution should have put paid to “the insurrection theory” which comes from the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land while the Declaration of Independence is a historic document. People point to the founders as inspiration for their beliefs, but what did they believe?

    The problem is that this is all posturing. It makes no sense and it causes gridlock.

  6. It should also be noted that the current budget drama is related to the size of Government, but it effects both Federal and Local government. Also, the budget debate reflects various policy and attitudes.

    Loads of room for posturing on both sides.

  7. “Loads of room for posturing on both sides.”

    Very true, Laci…..

    “The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land while the Declaration of Independence is a historic document.”

    Right on, Laci! I have said this for years. The GOP try to make the Declaration as “part” of the Constitution. All the Declaration is, is a document of rebellion, there was no nation when it was written.

  8. Not to mention that the Constitution declares in Article VI that:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

    Citing the Declaration of Independence makes as much sense as quoting Magna Charta or the Declaration of Abroath.

    It’s posturing.

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