Thoughts from Maharrey Head #72: A Federal Government Beyond Its Authority

“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom”


The federal government does not have the authority to do almost all of the things it does today. In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about it.

If you read what people actually wrote during the process of ratifying the Constitution, you will come away with an entirely different view of America’s political system than you got from your high school civics and history classes, or your college professor. Most Americans believe the federal government has the authority to do pretty much anything and everything. In truth, the constitution delegates very little power to the feds. They shouldn’t be doing much.

In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about how supporters of the Constitution “sold” it during the ratification debates, focusing specifically on the writings of Tench Coxe. His essays, written under the pen name “A Freeman,” offer a detailed accounting of the extent of federal authority – and lack thereof.

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SHOW NOTES AND LINKS

Yo Feds, You Can’t Do That! — Tench Coxe on Federal Power

Free E-Book – “The Power of No!”

“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution 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; with which the last the power of taxation will for the most part be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.” – James Madison, Federalist 45

The list of things Tench Coxe said the states must do because the Feds, lack the power:

“The several states can create corporations civil and religious; prohibit or impose duties on the importation of slaves into their own ports; establish seminaries of learning; erect boroughs, cities and counties; promote and establish manufactures; open roads; clear rivers; cut canals; regulate descents and marriages; licence taverns; alter the criminal law; constitute new courts and offices; establish ferries; erect public buildings; sell, lease and appropriate the proceeds and rents of their lands, and of every other species of state property; establish poor houses, hospitals, and houses of employment; regulate the police; and many other things of the utmost importance to the happiness of their respective citizens. In short, besides the particulars enumerated, every thing of a domestic nature must or can be done by them.

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