June 24, 2018
Compiled by Lisa Phillips of OpDeepState.com
An Article V Constitutional Convention? Wrong Idea, Wrong Time
Who is behind the Article V Constitutional Convention?
Alec, Global Corporations, State Legislators, And An Article V Convention
Having witnessed the difficulties and dangers experienced by the first Convention, I would tremble for the result of the second. —James Madison, Father of the Constitution and fourth President of the United States
All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. —James Madison, speech at the Constitutional Convention, July 11, 1787
The majority of Americans do not understand that our Representative Republic is under attack and has been for decades. As Ben Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Basically, we lost it long ago, but we cannot afford to lose the 1787 Constitution or our liberties will be a thing of the past.
Who is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)? It is a think tank whose members consist of state legislators and corporations who gather together behind closed doors to write legislation for the states. Dark money funds ALEC, especially the Koch Brothers, but more on them in another article. ALEC has long been promoting an Article V Constitutional Convention.
ALEC’s membership is 95% corporate along with 2500 of the 7500 legislators from every state. This is where state legislation originates.
ALEC Founder, Paul Weyrich
The number one mover and shaker of the rightwing Council for National Policy (CNP) was Paul Weyrich, albeit there were others with more money and power, the Coors family, and Planned Parenthood promoter, Richard Mellon Scaife, heir to the Carnegie Mellon fortune. Scaife has allegedly funded ALEC to the tune of more than $7 million. One must remember that Scaife funded both sides of the aisle and was connected to Rockefeller (Chase Mellon Bank).
Weyrich was the Grand Poohbah of the CNP. He co-founded the Heritage Foundation, the Free Congress Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council and was the first president or director of all three. He also once served as advisor to former Russian President, Boris Yeltsin of Chechnyan genocide fame. He wrote about it in an article in the Heritage affiliate, Townhall Magazine.
In 1987, Weyrich wrote an article entitled, “A Conservative’s Lament,” which showed his unabashed yearning for a Parliamentary form of government for America and his strong belief that America needed a shadow government…which is what we seem to have with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Back in 1992, when recently deceased Ross Perot came on the scene, he was gung-ho for a Con-Con. Like Weyrich, he stated emphatically that we needed a parliamentary government and bragged that “his people” could get the remaining states needed for a Con-Con “in their sleep.” Phyllis Schlafly Eagles and fellow patriots stopped it.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It’s not just a lobby or front group, ALEC is one of the most powerful unelected councils in the country. [Link] Note that unelected councils and task forces, and public-private partnerships, etc. are forms of government used in democratic socialist and communist countries.
ALEC first came into being in 1973 in Chicago as the “Conservative Caucus of State Legislators.” In 1975, with the support of the American Conservative Union, ALEC registered as a federal non-profit agency. Through the corporate-funded Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called “model bills” reach into almost every area of American life and, more often than not, directly benefit huge corporations. In ALEC’s own words, corporations have “a VOICE and a VOTE” on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state, and sometimes in the federal legislature.
The Madison Group, the predecessor to the State Policy Network (SPN), similar to mini Heritage Foundation’s in each state, was “launched by ALEC,” and housed in the Chicago-based Heartland Institute, so says a 1991 report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). The Heartland Institute was/is a member of ALEC. https://web.archive.org/web/20101205035002/http:/www.alec.org/AM/PDF/InsideALEC/InsideALEC_June10_Final.pdf
The Institute has also functioned as a publisher and promoter of ALEC’s model legislation, including a new Article V Constitutional Convention.
Heartland is funded by the Koch brothers, David and Charles, the former being a member of the globalist Aspen Institute. Remember Aspen Institute’s former Director was none other than Maurice Strong, author and promoter of UN Agenda 21. NCRP also reported that the Madison Group’s annual meeting was, at that time, “sponsored by Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation,” led by Paul Weyrich.
One has to remember that Heritage Foundation fellow and CFR member, Richard V. Allen drafted NAFTA, and Stuart M. Butler wrote the monograph for Heritage promoting the individual mandate in healthcare.
Corporations Write the Bills
Watch this six-minute video of a backroom ALEC meeting in Georgia.
Corporations hand to state legislators their “wish lists” of legislation to benefit their bottom lines. The membership of ALEC is 98% corporate and the corporate membership is the one that funds (http://www.alecwatch.org/alecgivers.html scrubbed from the internet) almost all of ALEC’s operations. They have bought their way into the process by which corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. ALEC’s legislative leaders are responsible for getting the bills introduced and passed. They introduce and carry the bills in their statehouses as their own brilliant ideas. As an example, the immigration bill, SB1070, was written by ALEC and carried by Russell Pearce, word for word, to Arizona. Private prison corporations had a huge part in ALEC’s crafting of SB1070.
The legislators never disclose that corporations wrote and vetted these bills along with fellow politicians behind closed doors at ALEC meetings. So, everyone who is a member of ALEC is influencing not only state bills, but likely most federal bills as well, written by corporations with vested interests…along with lobbyists and state representatives.
ALEC’s Corporate Donors
ALEC has a huge list of corporate donors and corporate members, and here is a state by state partial list of politicians that are known to be involved in, or previously involved in ALEC. Not all dues-paying members of ALEC are included because ALEC does not post its full list, but the list includes politicians who have been in a leadership role in ALEC, as a member of a task force, or other publicly known role. It also includes politicians who have been featured speakers or who have accepted awards at ALEC meetings.
In the mid-1990s, the Church of Scientology became one of ALEC’s members and underwriters, for the apparent purpose of interacting with state lawmakers on mental health-care issues. Here’s an excerpt from a 1998 fundraising letter written by Bruce Wiseman, the president of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International, (CCHR) a highly controversial anti-psychiatry front-group of the Church of Scientology. Wiseman writes,
“ALEC is a national organization made up of legislators from every state as well as some federal legislators who meet and draft model legislation for every state. The return for that has been enormous! CCHR has worked its way up the conditions at ALEC and recently got an article published by ALEC in opposition to mandated mental-health parity, which went to key state legislators who deal with health issues in their respective states. In addition, the ALEC membership has opened the door to meeting numerous legislators and other opinion leaders from around the country.”
ALEC exists to maximize the profits of their corporate kings and financiers, especially Koch Industries, Exxon Mobile, PhrMA, Altria, and Pfizer, who pay upwards of $25,000 just to become members.
ALEC and the Article V Convention
ALEC has long promoted an Article V Constitutional Convention using the excuse that we need a Balanced Budget Amendment, the same excuse used in the late 70s and defeated by Phyllis Schlafly Eagles and fellow patriots. If you’ve read Publius Huldah’s articles on same, here and here, then you understand what a terrible danger the BBA actually is to our Constitution.
ALEC even produced a “Resolution for Limitations on Authority of Delegates to a ‘Convention for Proposing Amendments’ (Article V, United States of America Constitution.” ALEC claims this resolution will curtail and eliminate the possibility of a “runaway convention.” The resolution restricts delegates to work only on those amendments authorized in their legislative instructions and calls for the immediate recall of any delegate that works on an unauthorized amendment.” This is total balderdash! Once a Convention is opened, all is fair game!
A 43-page handbook, written by ALEC’s “constitutional scholar,” Robert G. Natelson, entitled: “Proposing Constitutional Amendments by a Convention of the States, (scrubbed from the internet)” was provided to their mostly-republican members, along with model legislation to carry back to their states. The booklet is full of spins, lies, and misdirection. It claims the states must exercise control as given to them by the founders, that they must move quickly, that state legislatures will have complete control over the process, and will answer to the state legislatures they represent. This is far from the truth. There is no provision in Article V empowering state legislators to choose the delegates to a Constitutional Convention or to “limit” the scope of a Con-Con. There are no rules, no regulations, and certainly no instructions. Link
The 1787 Convention set historical precedents that side with a runaway convention. A convention today could propose bad amendments or even a new constitution like the one written over a period of 10 years, at a cost of $25 million, by the Ford Foundation, which eliminates everything after “We The People,” and that includes our God given, unalienable rights. Once a convention is opened, they could force it on the American people by way of creating and utilizing a new mode of ratification.
Wolf-Pac, and the Convention of States Project, (COS) says that can’t happen despite the fact that it did happen when the 1787 Convention met to amend the Articles of Confederation and totally threw them out and started anew. Oh, what those wonderful freedom loving statesmen gave us then, but today, there is not a statesman alive who would be a match for even one of the men in the 1787 convention.
The very reason most often cited by scholars for their opposition to an Article V Convention is because the 1787 Convention set the precedent. There is absolutely no way that a new convention can possibly be controlled, no matter the circumstances or restrictions set down prior to the convention. The intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fixing the existing one. This is also what exists today, and Madison called them, “violent partisans.”
Left and Right Promote Con-Con
The neo-conservative Trotskyites on the right, Sean Hannity, Michael Farris, Mike Levin, David Barton, Glenn Beck, Tom Coburn, Allen West, Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, CFR memberGrover Norquist, Charles and David Koch who heavily fund ALEC, Gov. John Kasich, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Tennessee’s Michael Patrick Leahy, Georgetown Professor Randy Barnett, Judge Andrew Napolitano etc. etc. ad nauseam, are all fomenting change to our Constitution through an Article V convention.
George Soros and his Constitution 2020 along with his Open Society Institute and the Center for American Progress are heavily funding a new convention. Groups like the Goldwater Institute’s Nick Dranius and Compact for America, I Am American, the “Move to Amend” coalition, Turk Cenk Uyger’s Wolf Pac, Mark Meckler’s Citizens for Self-Governance, Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig, and others are promoting a new convention. Socialists and Soros Fight for Article V Convention
William Furth of “I am American” actually physically pushed Publius Huldah off a stage several years ago in Knoxville, TN, when she tried to explain to the audience the dangers of another convention.
Countless authorities have stated that a Constitutional Convention cannot be controlled. Once a Con-Con is opened, the entire document can be taken down and changed. There are no statesmen today like our founders, and the risk of opening a convention for any reason would result in the destruction of the last threads binding us to a representative Republic.
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Why the Convention of States is a BAD IDEA!
by Walter Olson
This article appeared in the The Daily Beast on January 5, 2016.
In his quest to catch the Road Runner, the Coyote in the old Warner Brothers cartoons would always order supplies from the ACME Corporation, but they never performed as advertised. Either they didn’t work at all, or they blew up in his face.
Which brings us to the idea of a so-called Article V convention assembled for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution, an idea currently enjoying some vogue at both ends of the political spectrum.
On the left, a group founded by liberal TV host Cenk Uygur is pushing a convention aimed at overturning the Supreme Court’s hated Citizens United decision and declaring that from now on corporations should stop having rights, or at least not a right to spend money spreading political opinions. Four liberal states—California, Vermont, Illinois, and New Jersey—have signed on to this idea.
On the right, the longstanding proposal for a convention to draft a balanced budget amendment has at times come within striking distance of the requisite two-thirds of state legislatures needed to trigger the idea. And for the past few years, talk show host Mark Levin has been campaigning for a convention with broader conservative goals, an idea that got a boost when Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently endorsed it, citing “Washington’s refusal to place restrictions on itself.”
Rubio’s specifics are still sketchy—term limits for members of Congress and Supreme Court justices would be part of it—but Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has now jumped in with a detailed “Texas Plan” of nine constitutional amendments mostly aimed at wresting various powers back from the federal government to the states.
Some of these ideas are better than others—Gov. Abbott’s 92-page report (PDF) is rather erudite, and lays out its arguments skillfully even if I do not find all of them sound—but every such scheme to stage an Article V convention should come with a giant ACME brand stenciled on its side. If it doesn’t just sit there doing nothing, it’s apt to blow up on the spot.
The detonation that skeptics most fear is what’s called a runaway convention, in which the delegates called together to, say, install term limits or revamp campaign finance decide to venture into other areas as well, and perhaps start proposing whatever new amendments they think might be a good idea. Hence Justice Antonin Scalia’s brusque dismissal: “I certainly would not want a constitutional convention. Whoa! Who knows what would come out of it?”
Some respected scholars who favor a convention argue that strict instructions would deter the assembled delegates from venturing beyond the velvet rope. But if that cannot be made a legal requirement, it winds up more like an honor code. “Congress might try to limit the agenda to one amendment or to one issue, but there is no way to assure that the Convention would obey,” wrote the late Chief Justice Warren Burger.
Don’t believe Scalia or Burger? Go ahead and read the instruction kit for a convention, such as it is, in Article V of the U.S. Constitution. It’s quite brief. Here’s the full relevant text:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress…
Note what this does *not* say. It says not a word expressly authorizing the states, Congress, or some combination of the two to confine the subject matter of a convention. It says not a word about whether Congress, in calculating whether the requisite 34 states have called for a convention, must (or must not) aggregate calls for a convention on, say, a balanced budget, with differently worded calls arising from related or perhaps even unrelated topics. It says not a word prescribing that the make-up of a convention, as many conservatives imagine, will be one-state-one-vote (as Alaska and Wyoming might hope) or whether states with larger populations should be given larger delegations (as California and New York would surely argue).
Does Congress, or perhaps the Supreme Court, get to resolve these questions—the same Congress and Supreme Court that the process is aimed at doing an end run around? If the Supreme Court resolves them, does it do so only at the very end of the process, after years of national debate have been spent in devising amendments that we find out after the fact were not generated in proper form?
Justice Burger described the whole process as “a grand waste of time.” One reason is that after advocates get the process rolling by convincing two-thirds of states, or 34, itself a fairly demanding number, the amendments that emerge from a convention do not get ratified unless three-quarters of states ratify, or 38, a quite demanding number.
Put differently, it takes only 13 states to refuse to act to kill any of these ideas, bad or good, in the end. Sorry, Cenk and Marco, but so long as we have a nation fairly closely divided between Blue and Red sentiment, there will be at least 13 states skeptical of some systemic change so big that you had to go around the backs of both Congress and the Supreme Court to pull it off. If you’re a progressive who thinks the populist winds blow only in your favor, reflect for a moment on the success of Donald Trump. If you’re a conservative to whom radio call-ins resound as the voice of the people, consider that state legislatures confronted with the hard legal issues a convention would raise might turn for advice and assistance to elite lawyers (yikes) or even law professors (double yikes).
Finally, we shouldn’t assume—as do some of Gov. Abbott’s co-thinkers—that most state governments are as eager as Texas to curtail the powers of the feds. One of the most significant conservative books on federalism lately, George Mason University professor Michael Greve’s The Upside-Down Constitution, sheds light on this. Conservatives tell a campfire story of how the federal government got big by taking power away from the states. But in his (admittedly long and complicated) book, Greve argues that the truth is closer to the opposite.
Whether in spending programs, regulations, subsidies, you name it, almost every big expansion of federal power has been skillfully designed as a deal that cuts state political elites into some of the resulting flow of power and money—consider, for example, how state education, police, road, and environmental departments have come to depend on Washington’s largesse. And while many states may join Texas in sincerely griping at the bad end of the deal—the endless paperwork, the unfunded mandates—that doesn’t mean they’d actually join Gov. Abbott in risking the connection.
Yes, the federal government has slipped its constitutional bounds, and yes, that’s infuriating. Just don’t confuse a plan for talking, which is what these amount to, with a plan for actually changing things, and always beware of a cure that might kill the patient.
Demand “Hands Off” the Constitution!
September 18, 2017
Chanting “hands off the Constitution,” the crowds in Phoenix, Arizona, were ready to preserve the U.S. Constitution. Dressed up as the Founding Fathers, such as Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, protestors opposed amending the Constitution. The primary intent of this Arizona Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Planning Convention was to set the groundwork for a possible future Constitutional Convention.
But our national debt problem hasn’t originated from the Constitution; it all comes down to the politicians that aren’t following it. Promoters of a BBA Convention, will require Congress to balance the budget, yet the current Constitution reveals that it would only make unconstitutional spending Constitutional.
Let us explain.
Revenue would have to equal spending. Currently our revenue is lower than spending. Would the federal government lower spending? Highly unlikely. Would it increase taxes? Or could the federal government take the Constitutional approach where Congress can only spend money on what is authorized by the Constitution. Doing so would trim over 80% of our federal budget! It would put us well on our way to paying off the national debt.
Unfortunately, under this balanced budget amendment, it would only justify what Congress is already doing. It would make it okay for the federal government to spend as much as it wanted as long as the revenue matched it. Get ready for even higher taxes and the elimination of enumerated powers.
Just as alarming, The New American writer Christian Gomez, showcases a very key loophole in the BBA in his article, The Unbalanced Budget Amendment. The loophole reads “requiring that in the absence of a national emergency the total of all Federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated Federal revenues for that fiscal year.” So the only requirement to not balance the budget would be a national emergency.
Can you guess how many separate national states of emergency the United States is currently under? …32! And under 40 years of the National Emergencies Act, Congress has never exited a single national state of emergency. So even if everything went smoothly with the BBA, Congress still wouldn’t be required to balance the budget because of our 32 national emergencies!
Talk about a lot of work with no results! Get on track with the real solution. It’s time to say enough is enough! James Madison says it best in Federalist #45:
“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.”
If you agree that the federal government needs to take a step back, find out what you can do today. Let’s hold our politicians accountable by first understanding the Constitution ourselves! Join The John Birch Society in celebration of Constitution Week. If you’re in the Appleton, Wisconsin, area, then please stop by. We will be handing out free pocket Constitutions and have many other Constitutional products available for purchase!
Then, stop by our Choose Freedom Stop a Con-Con action project page to learn more, tell others, and take action! Find out today if your state is in the cross hairs of those seeking to amend the Constitution.
(The above charts reflect 2015 United States debt.)
The Federalist No. 45
Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered
Saturday, January 26, 1788
To the People of the State of New York:
HAVING shown that no one of the powers transferred to the federal government is unnecessary or improper, the next question to be considered is, whether the whole mass of them will be dangerous to the portion of authority left in the several States.
The adversaries to the plan of the convention, instead of considering in the first place what degree of power was absolutely necessary for the purposes of the federal government, have exhausted themselves in a secondary inquiry into the possible consequences of the proposed degree of power to the governments of the particular States. But if the Union, as has been shown, be essential to the security of the people of America against foreign danger; if it be essential to their security against contentions and wars among the different States; if it be essential to guard them against those violent and oppressive factions which embitter the blessings of liberty, and against those military establishments which must gradually poison its very fountain; if, in a word, the Union be essential to the happiness of the people of America, is it not preposterous, to urge as an objection to a government, without which the objects of the Union cannot be attained, that such a government may derogate from the importance of the governments of the individual States? Was, then, the American Revolution effected, was the American Confederacy formed, was the precious blood of thousands spilt, and the hard-earned substance of millions lavished, not that the people of America should enjoy peace, liberty, and safety, but that the government of the individual States, that particular municipal establishments, might enjoy a certain extent of power, and be arrayed with certain dignities and attributes of sovereignty? We have heard of the impious doctrine in the Old World, that the people were made for kings, not kings for the people. Is the same doctrine to be revived in the New, in another shape that the solid happiness of the people is to be sacrificed to the views of political institutions of a different form? It is too early for politicians to presume on our forgetting that the public good, the real welfare of the great body of the people, is the supreme object to be pursued; and that no form of government whatever has any other value than as it may be fitted for the attainment of this object. Were the plan of the convention adverse to the public happiness, my voice would be, Reject the plan. Were the Union itself inconsistent with the public happiness, it would be, Abolish the Union. In like manner, as far as the sovereignty of the States cannot be reconciled to the happiness of the people, the voice of every good citizen must be, Let the former be sacrificed to the latter. How far the sacrifice is necessary, has been shown. How far the unsacrificed residue will be endangered, is the question before us.
Several important considerations have been touched in the course of these papers, which discountenance the supposition that the operation of the federal government will by degrees prove fatal to the State governments. The more I revolve the subject, the more fully I am persuaded that the balance is much more likely to be disturbed by the preponderancy of the last than of the first scale.
We have seen, in all the examples of ancient and modern confederacies, the strongest tendency continually betraying itself in the members, to despoil the general government of its authorities, with a very ineffectual capacity in the latter to defend itself against the encroachments. Although, in most of these examples, the system has been so dissimilar from that under consideration as greatly to weaken any inference concerning the latter from the fate of the former, yet, as the States will retain, under the proposed Constitution, a very extensive portion of active sovereignty, the inference ought not to be wholly disregarded. In the Achaean league it is probable that the federal head had a degree and species of power, which gave it a considerable likeness to the government framed by the convention. The Lycian Confederacy, as far as its principles and form are transmitted, must have borne a still greater analogy to it. Yet history does not inform us that either of them ever degenerated, or tended to degenerate, into one consolidated government. On the contrary, we know that the ruin of one of them proceeded from the incapacity of the federal authority to prevent the dissensions, and finally the disunion, of the subordinate authorities. These cases are the more worthy of our attention, as the external causes by which the component parts were pressed together were much more numerous and powerful than in our case; and consequently less powerful ligaments within would be sufficient to bind the members to the head, and to each other.
In the feudal system, we have seen a similar propensity exemplified. Notwithstanding the want of proper sympathy in every instance between the local sovereigns and the people, and the sympathy in some instances between the general sovereign and the latter, it usually happened that the local sovereigns prevailed in the rivalship for encroachments. Had no external dangers enforced internal harmony and subordination, and particularly, had the local sovereigns possessed the affections of the people, the great kingdoms in Europe would at this time consist of as many independent princes as there were formerly feudatory barons.
The State governments will have the advantage of the Federal government, whether we compare them in respect to the immediate dependence of the one on the other; to the weight of personal influence which each side will possess; to the powers respectively vested in them; to the predilection and probable support of the people; to the disposition and faculty of resisting and frustrating the measures of each other.
The State governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. Without the intervention of the State legislatures, the President of the United States cannot be elected at all. They must in all cases have a great share in his appointment, and will, perhaps, in most cases, of themselves determine it. The Senate will be elected absolutely and exclusively by the State legislatures. Even the House of Representatives, though drawn immediately from the people, will be chosen very much under the influence of that class of men, whose influence over the people obtains for themselves an election into the State legislatures. Thus, each of the principal branches of the federal government will owe its existence more or less to the favor of the State governments, and must consequently feel a dependence, which is much more likely to beget a disposition too obsequious than too overbearing towards them. On the other side, the component parts of the State governments will in no instance be indebted for their appointment to the direct agency of the federal government, and very little, if at all, to the local influence of its members.
The number of individuals employed under the Constitution of the United States will be much smaller than the number employed under the particular States. There will consequently be less of personal influence on the side of the former than of the latter. The members of the legislative, executive, and judiciary departments of thirteen and more States, the justices of peace, officers of militia, ministerial officers of justice, with all the county, corporation, and town officers, for three millions and more of people, intermixed, and having particular acquaintance with every class and circle of people, must exceed, beyond all proportion, both in number and influence, those of every description who will be employed in the administration of the federal system. Compare the members of the three great departments of the thirteen States, excluding from the judiciary department the justices of peace, with the members of the corresponding departments of the single government of the Union; compare the militia officers of three millions of people with the military and marine officers of any establishment which is within the compass of probability, or, I may add, of possibility, and in this view alone, we may pronounce the advantage of the States to be decisive. If the federal government is to have collectors of revenue, the State governments will have theirs also. And as those of the former will be principally on the seacoast, and not very numerous, whilst those of the latter will be spread over the face of the country, and will be very numerous, the advantage in this view also lies on the same side. It is true, that the Confederacy is to possess, and may exercise, the power of collecting internal as well as external taxes throughout the States; but it is probable that this power will not be resorted to, except for supplemental purposes of revenue; that an option will then be given to the States to supply their quotas by previous collections of their own; and that the eventual collection, under the immediate authority of the Union, will generally be made by the officers, and according to the rules, appointed by the several States. Indeed it is extremely probable, that in other instances, particularly in the organization of the judicial power, the officers of the States will be clothed with the correspondent authority of the Union. Should it happen, however, that separate collectors of internal revenue should be appointed under the federal government, the influence of the whole number would not bear a comparison with that of the multitude of State officers in the opposite scale. Within every district to which a federal collector would be allotted, there would not be less than thirty or forty, or even more, officers of different descriptions, and many of them persons of character and weight, whose influence would lie on the side of the State.
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 last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the 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.
The operations of the federal government will be most extensive and important in times of war and danger; those of the State governments, in times of peace and security. As the former periods will probably bear a small proportion to the latter, the State governments will here enjoy another advantage over the federal government. The more adequate, indeed, the federal powers may be rendered to the national defense, the less frequent will be those scenes of danger which might favor their ascendancy over the governments of the particular States.
If the new Constitution be examined with accuracy and candor, it will be found that the change which it proposes consists much less in the addition of NEW POWERS to the Union, than in the invigoration of its ORIGINAL POWERS. The regulation of commerce, it is true, is a new power; but that seems to be an addition which few oppose, and from which no apprehensions are entertained. The powers relating to war and peace, armies and fleets, treaties and finance, with the other more considerable powers, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. The proposed change does not enlarge these powers; it only substitutes a more effectual mode of administering them. The change relating to taxation may be regarded as the most important; and yet the present Congress have as complete authority to REQUIRE of the States indefinite supplies of money for the common defense and general welfare, as the future Congress will have to require them of individual citizens; and the latter will be no more bound than the States themselves have been, to pay the quotas respectively taxed on them. Had the States complied punctually with the articles of Confederation, or could their compliance have been enforced by as peaceable means as may be used with success towards single persons, our past experience is very far from countenancing an opinion, that the State governments would have lost their constitutional powers, and have gradually undergone an entire consolidation. To maintain that such an event would have ensued, would be to say at once, that the existence of the State governments is incompatible with any system whatever that accomplishes the essental purposes of the Union.
The Article V Convention – What are they not telling you(3)
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