by RJ Harris
During the decades leading up to the American Revolution, the major European powers of that age jousted for the rights to the spoils of the new world. The American Colonials were little more than pawns to be sacrificed back and forth for minor gains for their mother countries. Often, after great hardship and bloodshed, the European powers would sign treaties returning things to pre-conflict states, which meant that what had been won or lost was irrelevant and the death and sacrifice of the colonial militias for king and country was all in vain.
President George Washington was an officer in the colonial militia and he was all too familiar with the cavalier way that European Monarchs would so recklessly sacrifice Americans as so much cannon fodder. It should come then as little surprise to learn that he warned us against becoming involved in European affairs â€œforeign to our concerns.â€ (George Washingtonâ€™s farewell address)
Following President Washingtonâ€™s advice, President Adams successfully kept us out of war in Europe when so many were calling for intervention. President Jefferson reiterated Americaâ€™s non-interventionist policy by asserting in his inauguration address, â€œpeace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” James Madison also followed suit on Washingtonâ€™s non-intervention advice and kept the United States out of the Napoleonic Wars. James Monroe was so committed to Washingtonian non-interventionism that he became famous for it by articulating the same principles in what came to be known as the â€œMonroe Doctrine.â€
Five out of the first five Presidents, men that bear the title founding fathers as much or more than anyone else, all were committed to the principles of non-interventionism. Why was non-interventionism so important to our first five presidents? Because they knew from their colonial experiences that entangling, foreign alliances would ultimately have to be redeemed with American blood and treasure. And when the European powers were done pounding on one another, and us, there would be nothing to show for the sacrifice.
In the last 60 years, more Americans Soldiers have died policing the world than from all other industrialized nations combined. What would Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe have to say about that? But what does all this have to do with our National Sovereignty? Everything! Since the early 1900s we have increasingly involved ourselves in the business of others. We have joined international pacts and unions and each time we do we sacrifice more of our sovereignty and prosperity. International bodies, like the UN are allowed to take command of our soldiers and dictate to us where and when we may come and go.
Now they want to force member nations to purchase â€œcarbon creditsâ€ to pay for their â€œpollutionâ€ and they do this with willing accomplices from within our own country and current government. The time is fast approaching when US Military forces will scarcely be allowed outside the country without a blue helmet on. As you know by now I am all for keeping our Army and Militia right here at home by our own choosing, but our Navy and Marine Corps should answer to no one save the President and they come and go at his pleasure, not the Secretary Generalâ€™s.
Most recently, our various borders are coming under attack by those who want to build super highways connecting all of North America, never mind that they have to cut this country up to do it. Some believe that our currency is purposefully being debased to make way for a new North American Currency modeled on the Euro. As much as I would like to believe that these things wonâ€™t happen, time and experience have taught me otherwise. Folk, the number of dead for the sake of the preservation of this country and our sovereignty is measured in the millions. We should not give it all away so recklessly.
Equally important to our National Sovereignty is our State Sovereignty. The Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states: â€œThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.â€
This means, notwithstanding the short list of restrictions on the States found in Article I Â§Â§ 9 and 10, that the States have always retained their sovereignty. Non-sovereigns are not treated like sovereigns. Ratification of a binding agreement like the Constitution requires the power of a sovereign. And why would a National Government bind itself to non-sovereigns? The answer is that it would not. States have the authority to entreat with the United States Government and the US Government with other sovereigns on behalf of the states.
States retain the right to govern themselves and to adjudicate disputes among their citizens. States may retain militias, armed citizens, who but a sovereign can keep soldiers under arms? States retain limited sovereign immunity. In fact, the Eleventh Amendment was hastily passed in 1795 because of an infringement into state sovereignty and sovereign immunity.
Unfortunately, the federal government has spent the last 70 years attempting to take our state sovereignty away from us one piece at a time. It all began with the Congressional abuse of the Commerce Clause wherein the Congress is given near plenary power to regulate commerce among the several states. Since the last Great Depression the federal government has used entitlement programs and over-taxation to hold control over states not given to it by the Constitution. Numerous Supreme Court Cases have articulated that the federal government may not tell the state legislatures or executives what to do. However, it can coerce behavior by withholding money upon which the states have become dependent. Against this rising tide of socialism and stimulus packages, we must resist the temptation to trade more of our sovereignty for â€œthirty pieces of silverâ€ from the federal government.
Tribal sovereignty is also established and recognized by the Constitution. Article I and II establish the power of the Congress and the President to treaty with the Indian Tribes. Treaties require two-thirds concurrence from the Senate and once ratified they become part of the established law. As was previously mentioned, sovereigns do not treaty with non-sovereigns. For the last two hundred plus years, the federal government has entered into hundreds of treaties with the Indian Tribes of North America often agreeing to allow them to keep their land and sovereignty in return for peaceful cohabitation with the American emigrants into the Western States. Eventually, the tide of American emigrants to the West began to stem and Native territorial boundaries and reservations began to stabilize. Today, tribal governments stretch from Maine to Hawaii and all operate with the same sovereignty as the states, if not the same representation.
As a Congressperson from Oklahomaâ€™s 4th District, I pledge to do all that I can do defend the liberty of the individual and the sovereignty of our Nation, State, and Tribes. However, these bodies must begin to protect their sovereignty and stop giving it away for government handouts and entangling alliances with foreign sovereigns.
Of course, this issue is tied directly to the elimination of federal over-taxation because until we stop the overflow of money to the federal government, the states are going to be motivated to continue trading their sovereignty for federal money. Read my position on taxation to see how I intend to address that issue.
RJ Harris [send him email] is an entrepreneur, a law student, and a candidate for Congress in Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District.