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Articles of Confederation was Preferable

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There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.
 - James Madison

Articles of Confederation was Preferable

Limited Union as Opposed to Unrestrained Empire

Once upon a time there was a country that believed in Liberty. The people of this fair land fought a revolution to free themselves from the tyranny of a foreign king. It was called the “shot heard round the world”. The purpose for all the sacrifices, risks and sufferings was the goal of establishing a nation, where free men could create a government that rested upon the consent of the people. How very long ago that was. So many people have forgotten - about themselves, their heritage and the very purpose, their government was intended to render.

The 1776 Revolution was fought for a common cause, to secure the natural rights of Englishmen. Each colony was settled under a charter from the king. With colonial victory, the Crown lost their claim over their former citizens. Individuals were residents of particular communities that existed in geographic regions within the former distinct colonies. These territories emerged as separate and independent states. As with any recognized civil authority, the legitimacy of their regime rests upon the conferred consent based upon the conditional sovereignty granted to that government, from the people. Home rule of the State is lawful, only as long as it retains the confidence and permission of citizens, to continue its administration.

In relations with other states or governments, each unit of dominion preserves the authority extended, by the governed. Therefore, it should be self evident that combinations of cooperation or entry into agreed of federations, are based upon the voluntary compact that each unit of government, bestows upon the larger assembly. This elementary summary was the basic understanding that citizens of the new nation understood and accepted to be the result of the victory at Yorktown. The prize of independence meant the ability to establish governance with their permission.

We continually hear about restoring the meaning, intent and spirit of the Constitution. Few know that we had a far preferable blueprint for a federation before the 1789 U.S. Constitution. It was called the Articles of Confederation. Have you ever read it? If not you should. At the outset it’s opening declaration has - Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States. Some may want to misconstrue that perpetual means subordinate. In Article II, the basis for union is stated with total clarity - Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.

Concern for national defense, diplomacy and treaties, assumption of war debt, extradition to state courts, unencumbered travel and commerce, coinage and adjudicator of disputes between states are subjects of mention. Prohibitions on specific areas for states are listed, while the few sections of administration by "a Committee of the States" are noted.

In Article X, a loose option for consensus (stated to be nine states) could enact measures. The Committee of the States, or any nine of them shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled, by the consent of nine states, shall from time to time think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the said committee for the exercise of which, by the Articles of Confederation, the voice of nine states in the Congress of the United States assembled is requisite.

The significance is in the lack of abundant powers and the need to require agreement from nine of the thirteen states,  69% + for any new enactments. This stringent requirement does not exactly seem like the model for a subservient role for individual states!

No doubt the U.S. Constitution, added valuable protections against a tyrannical central government in the Bill of Rights. But, the nature of the expanded roles for the executive and judicial branches in that same - U.S. Constitution - elevating them to a theoretical and dubious co-equal status, created the inevitable usurpation of the legitimate power of the independent states. We all know the tragic history of the unimpeded executive despotism in America. Far fewer understand the catastrophic precedent in the decision of Chief Justice John Marshall in Marbury vs Madison - placing the Supreme Court as the arbiter of the constitutionality of congressional legislation. The mere restoration to the constraints in the 1789 U.S. Constitution will not revive the Republic from its demise into an absolutist oppressor. Only a systemic dismantling of that central government, returning primacy back to individual states will restore the vision of the American Revolution.

The continued erosions of Liberty that used to take a decade to chip away, has gone on fast forward and has now been compressed into little over a year. The reason is unmistakable. Most Americans no longer understand the intended purpose in the struggle against King George III. They now accept a domestic grown variant that has a Texas drawl while imposing edicts that no 18th century “American Englishman” would ever tolerate. Can the Stamp Act be compared to the Patriot Act? Can quartering red coats be measured by Homeland Security? Hasn’t the dream of the Founding Fathers been transformed into an empire that august Rome would envy? From Cicero to Caesar - from Washington to Bush! Only an idiot would consider the progression an advancement in Liberty, and solely the fool would follow the contrivance of the latest version of ‘duce’.

If the U.S. Constitution can be so totally perverted to make it effectively non existent, what hope is there in it’s restoration when it mistakenly allowed for the creation of an empowered central government? The contrast, in the Articles of Confederation, offered modest functions for a federal legislature, a limited and rotating management of bureaucratic duties and a very narrow role for federal courts. By resorting to the pressures and the power ambitions of autocrats, the 1789 Constitution sowed the seeds for a worst tyranny that has eaten away at the protections that were so obviously intended, when it was written. Sovereign States have been reduced to beggars. Under the Articles of Confederation the “perpetual union between the States” might have been achievable. With the invention of a preeminent executive and a proscriptive judiciary, we have evolved into a rule by an imperial dictator blessed under the cloak and process of arbitrary sanction.

The attempt in the U.S. Constitution to design strict prohibitions and parameters for a central government have been ignored and transgressed by succeeding generations of power mad Statists that hate Liberty as much as they love mastery over citizens. The proof of the insanity, for allowing a transfer of conditional authority into a structure that inevitably fosters the rule of depraved domination freaks, is the sad story of our history. Evil men who lust for power over all else, will always be with us. Granting them an easy road to perfect their sinister plots in the name of allegiance to country is lunacy. The principles upon which the Articles of Confederation were conceived, respected the righteousness of self rule. Revitalize the autonomy of states and diminish the scope of central intrusion. The war for independence must be fought again, the impostor who would be king is still named George . . .

SARTRE - December 26, 2002

Devolution argues that the central authority has improperly arrogated too much power to itself, and has  become at once abusive of the rights of citizens and irresponsive to their needs. The solution is to strip away from the government many of its functions and to assign those functions to small units of polity - to the states, cities, and towns, ultimately the citizens themselves. - Michael Kelly

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