I’m not sure when American public schools began skimming over the first era of our history, 1787-1824, but I’m going to guess sometime after the Civil War, when the two-party system emerged as representing America’s popular choice by around 90% of the electorate.
And when third parties were able to effectively insert themselves, they often had disastrous results; Teddy Roosevelt’s split from the Republicans ushered in Woodrow Wilson and the national income tax and a very moldable term, “Progressivism”, into the Big Government lexicon, and Ross Perot’s personal feud with George HW Bush threw the 1992 election to Bill Clinton, which ushered in White House sextravaganzas, dead bodies in Ft Marcy Park and numerous other dark alleyways. And which has never quite abated, since American politics seems to have been stuck in a time warp of juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, self-worship and indulgence for over 30 years now, only those original delinquents, their noses still red from snorts and blood-shot eyes from booze, are now in their 70’s but still unbloodied by a back of the hand or their mouths still unwashed with Ivory Soap from the owners of the country.
America started out with some of the Founders believing there should only be one political party and that competing political parties was a bad idea. Originally Hamilton and Adams had envisioned a single party, their Federalist Party, but in all logic, that concept was illogical once George Washington poured the cement into our foundation. Out of respect for their collective ideals I’ll consider that as a technical, not a philosophical matter, but agree it’s a tough subject to try to explain to 16-19 year-olds when a teacher has a very limited number of hours to get through 200 years of history. In my junior year in 1962 we barely got past Teddy Roosevelt. This is why I suggest every interested citizen keep a copy of Schweikart and Allen’s Patriot’s History of the United States on the bookshelf as a ready-reference.
America before the Constitution began between Federalists and anti-Federalists, those who favored ratifying the Constitution and those who were against ratifying that particular Constitution as written. There was never any indication that some of the states simply wanted to go it alone. They believed that the greater power should reside with the states (and the People) and not the new federal government, believing the Constitution could be abused simply by “foggying” certain terms, as lawyers are wont to do anyway, conferring greater powers to the federal government in the future, which we all know, 245 years later, has been an undeniable truth; a persistent attempt to broaden federal power at the expense of states and localities largely based on the fact that the federal government is much harder to get at with a hanging rope, and much better at redistributing our money once Wilson could his hands on it with the national income tax.
What we should know is that over that 245 year history of squabbling between parties, those opening three lines of the Constitution, “We the People” have been rendered less and less meaningful to the now-millions who run the government, many even thinking they own it. And all thinking they are above the people.
The common sense Anti-Federalists foresaw this and while they still wanted a “union”, they wished for the greater power to reside with the states. And they were willing to withhold their agreement to the new constitution unless they could get it. The Federalists, Hamilton and Adams high among them, argued that all those fears were included-by-inference in the Constitution, protected by the difficult amendment-process to the Constitution.
It would be May 1787- to- May 1790, 3 years, before all 13 states would finally sign on. History glosses over just how long that took to get all thirteen to ink their agreement, but there were dozens of serious writings, not just the The Federalist Papers (see this much longer list). What would be taught to America’s 16 year-olds would be taught was simply that the Anti-Federalists had largely agreed to the Constitution once it were amended, if it would add ten new amendments, known affectionately by the People as the Bill of Rights, ratified Dec 15, 1791 and less affectionately by Barack Obama and his crowd who believes it is a “a charter of negative liberties” limiting what the government can do to us.
In retrospect it seems the Anti-Federalists saved America before it was even born, because were it not for all those guns we still possess (2nd Amendment) even Woodrow Wilson might have tried a power play.
But also laying nearly buried for many years was the Tenth Amendment which now may be our final frontier, for it declared that “all powers not delegated to the United States shall be reserved to the States, or to the people.”
States Rights writ large.
States Rights has a checkered history in the minds of school kids, largely because the slave states used it as a Constitutional defense for their secession. Other states in the north had also considered secession, by the way, on other matters, from westward expansion to tariffs, but only the South pulled the trigger.
Then, after the Civil War the mainstream of the Democratic Party in the North moved to become the party of the workers and their the unions. But in the South, with the 10th Amendment, it re-emerged as the party of Jim Crow using state laws to hold in second-class citizen-bondage the people the survivors of the Civil War considered to be the reason for their humiliation.; to maintain the old status quo. Covering 13 states, they were a major cog of both the Wilson and FDR administrations, covering nearly a century.
How the modern Democrats of today were able to erase in history their role in both slavery and Jim Crow feudalism was to walk away from the 10th Amendment states rights of Jim Crow and replace it with a paternalistic management system of those same 2nd Class citizens by building special housing for them and sending them monthly checks, but all from the federal level.
In that way they were able to maintain control, yet be able to take a bow to History as having been the party that buried the idea of states rights idea of the 10th Amendment, while also being able, through carefully scripted media propaganda, to sell the idea that it was not they who in fact had for generations turned black people into lawn jockeys in the first place. Sleight of hand.
After the November 2020 election, the sheer transparent audacity of the election heists (plural) that took place were so bodacious that voters just assumed the Supreme Court would rush in and set aside not only the results of several states, but some of the election practices in several of the states on the simple observable fact they could easily be cheated. And that this suppression of the equal rights of voters would outweigh any competing right a state might claim under Article 1, Section 4 (The Elections Clause of the Constitution).
We were wrong.
But the bigger mistake (yet to be proved) the Democrats made was in bringing back the 10th Amendment for the voters of several states, who saw their votes nakedly stolen; not just Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, but a bevy of others, (including my Virginia), to cause them to punish state officials and undo their actions, not just for one election, but all elections going forward.
I’m sure Donald Trump knew this, and while we have been sitting around doing what we do best, complain, perhaps he is signaling to us that if we want to win clearly some doors need to be kicked in down at the state capital and in local government offices, which loud voices alone can’t do.
Maybe the long game would provide the more long-lasting win. Maybe the only permanent fix will be the fix we impose from the ground up.
That’s my point here, only on a more cosmic note.
I recently wrote a chapter for a book titled “The Thin Red Line” which traces Gods plan from Abraham to Israel to Jesus to Europe and then to America. It’s much too long for blog-readers’ tastes, especially since it mentions God, but you can read it at UnwashedPatriots.com where it will remain in unedited form until the book is published. It’s not about state’s rights, or federalism, but is about the people’s responsibility to pick up after themselves, which we really have done very poorly for a couple of generations, including my own. And it seems the predictability of our laziness to do so has been baked into all the plans hatched by our enemies…namely that we will always complain a bit, even screech as far as Facebook or Twitter can carry our voices, but in the end what we will not do is get up off our arses and drive that three miles to the school district, twenty miles to the county seat, 100 miles to the state capitol…to meet those representatives face to face and make the appropriate threats (to skin them alive….my words)….
…when the mere knowledge that we might go that extra mile scares the bejeezus out of them…if they were only reminded of it from time to time.
For almost two centuries, from town to county to state, that was the glue that made this entire federal experiment work/
This requires a type of tithe, a tithe of time, which once was a regular part of citizens’ lives in America’s first century; meeting with neighbors, citizens committees, demanding face-to-face meetings. It was once a regular part of the citizen’s tool kit to survive against what, even at the local level, citizens knew politicians and bureaucrats would try to do if they thought their backs were turned.
Whether you believe in God or not, or believe He had anything to do with the creation of the United States, you cannot wrap your arms around Federalism unless you can re-acquaint yourself with the hard, simple truth that the most important moving part of the Constitution are it first three words which reads “We the People”.
I think Donald Trump believes the “long game” may be better since it can only be accomplished with a far more active participation of the people of the several states (it required only about a third in the American Revolution, and that was when being a Patriot could be a hanging offense).
The 10th Amendment could mean the real return of America’s lost army.