The federal government was conceived as an institution with limited, enumerated powers. As James Madison put it in Federalist #45, “The powers delegated by the proposed constitution to the federal government are few and defined.”

Today we have a system that bears no resemblance to the founders’ vision. This supposedly limited government claims the authority to kick ranchers off of land they’ve utilized for 100 years because of a turtle. Any objection to this kind of overreach is met by a full stable of academics and legal scholars justifying every federal action with a chorus of, “The Supreme Court said.”

But as I pointed out during the speech, the notion that the founders would have created a limited government and then empowered part of that federal government to determine the extent of its powers is an absolute absurdity.

I start the talk by explaining the intended structure of the American political system focusing on the ratification debates. I move on to talk about federal overreach, primarily in the context of federal land management, and I explain the blueprint given to us by James Madison to stop it.

In this speech, I highlight the moderate middle road between unlimited submission and outright revolution.