by Jim Jess
The time has come to restore constitutional government based on the original intent of the founders of the United States of America. The republic, the system of limited government that was established in the Constitution of the United States, was abandoned long ago by many who swore to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
It is time for we, the people, to demand that members of Congress and our president follow the oaths they swore to keep, or be removed from office in the next election.
Restore the Constitution you say? In what manner? When, in fact, was the Constitution abandoned or ignored? In many ways at many times over many years our elected officials have violated their oaths and ignored the constitutional limits on their authority. We, the people, have not been vigilant to hold them accountable for their actions. A historical illustration will serve to make this point quite well.
Many years ago, I came across a publication from the Foundation for Economic Education, the nationâ€™s oldest free-market organization, which studies and advances the freedom philosophy. The publication was a four-page pamphlet entitled, â€œNot Yours to Give,â€ and I still have it in my library. The pamphlet related an amazing story about Davy Crockett, who, in the 1830s was a member of Congress. It grabbed my attention then and continues to inspire me today.
As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Crockett had supported a bill appropriating $20,000 for the relief of some residents of Georgetown, in Washington, D.C., who had lost their homes in a fire. When campaigning by horseback in his Tennessee congressional district, Crockett came across a constituent who plainly told him he would not vote to re-elect Crockett because of his vote for the $20,000 appropriation. Taken aback, Crockett wanted to understand why.
The constituent, a man named Horatio Bunce, explained:
“If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and, as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you may believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose.”
There is more to Horatio Bunceâ€™s eloquent argument, but this is the heart of it. Crockett was convinced of the error of his ways by Horatio Bunce and became a much better congressman because of it. Bunce believed, as did Thomas Jefferson and patriots who understand the Constitution today, that unless the Constitution has stipulated a governmental power or responsibility, neither Congress, the president nor the courts have the power to act. This was the essence of Jeffersonâ€™s argument against the formation of the Bank of the United States, what constitutional scholars have referred to as â€œstrict constructionism.â€
Jefferson wrote regarding the formation of a national bank:
“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground: That ” all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” [XIIth amendment.] To take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specially drawn around the powers of Congress, is to take possession of a boundless field of power, no longer susceptible of any definition.”
“The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States, by the Constitution.”
The Twelfth Amendment that Jefferson mentioned had not yet been ratified when he wrote his opinion opposing a national bank. And, because two of the proposed twelve amendments in the Bill of Rights were not ratified, the amendment Jefferson quoted became the Tenth Amendment after the necessary states ratified it. Jeffersonâ€™s wisdom is amplified today as we recognize the language of the Tenth Amendment, yet wonder why our Congress ignores the amendment.
“The 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.”
The Tenth Amendment is ignored by our federal officials today because if it was followed, it would limit their power and authority. If they maintained the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, liberty would flourish and states would be freer to enact more of their own policies. The power of politicians in Washington, D.C. would be limited and their ability to spend our money on numerous unnecessary and wasteful programs would be seriously curtailed.
Our politicians in Congress exceeded their constitutional authority long ago. They have appropriated money for many purposes with no constitutional authority to do so. They have formed government corporations and agencies to dispense funds wrongly taxed from the people for causes that have no constitutional legitimacy.
They have used the peopleâ€™s money for what appear to be â€œcharitableâ€ purposes in this nation and around the globe. (But charity refers to free-will giving by individuals, so there is no way that money taken from the taxpayers under threat of imprisonment is charity.) Congress and the president have propped up corrupt dictators and pursued numerous foreign policy intrigues around the world. They have squandered the taxpayers’ money on international organizations controlled by governments that despise liberty and seek policies contrary to our national interests.
They have provided basic sustenance for those who refuse to work. They have encouraged the destruction of families through their misguided social welfare policies. They have discouraged the proper functioning of the free enterprise system by rewarding certain producers and favored industries at the expense of competitors with less political influence. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Our government has wasted our money on numerous programs that are not supported by any sound application of constitutional principles. The founders took a limited and logical approach to what government can and should try to accomplish. Those who have desired an expansion of governmental power at the expense of our liberty, beginning at some point during the first half of the twentieth century, have been winning the day.
It is time to turn back the juggernaut of meddling, irresponsible, and bankrupting unconstitutional government and restore the vision of the framers of our Constitution. If we do not do this, we face a dark and uncertain future, one steeped in more political and governmental control of our lives and shrinking personal liberty.
This coming Independence Day let us declare our independence from wasteful, tax-burdening and oppressive unconstitutional government. Let us affirm our commitment to individual liberty and the true intent of our Constitution. Let us restore our republic.
We will only be successful if we convince our elected officials to follow this course. If they do not, we MUST resolve â€“ in every congressional district in this nation â€“ to replace those who refuse to restore the constitutional limits to our government with those who will. It is the duty of every citizen to do his or her part to restore our beloved republic, and it is vital that we act now to restore American liberty before it is too late to do so.
Wake up America! Now is the time to fight for your freedom!
Jim Jess has participated in politics as an activist, writer, and nonprofit organization leader for 30 years. He worked in the office of Governor Sonny Perdue and is a member of several conservative groups. Jim writes for Examiner.com and maintans the website ConstitutionalEducation.org.