Nullification: The Jeffersonian Brake on Government

by Thomas E. Woods, The Freeman

Thinkers in the classical-liberal tradition, to the extent that they support a coercive state at all, speak routinely of the importance of keeping government strictly limited. To that end, the United States has a written Constitution, which enumerates the relatively brief list of tasks entrusted to the federal government and whose Tenth Amendment makes clear that any power not granted to the federal government resides in the states, the authors of the federal compact.

That is all well and good, but how does a theoretically limited government remain so? Some have argued that it is impossible to restrain a government over time. The framers of the Constitution, for their part, were well aware of the tendency for power to concentrate and expand. Thomas Jefferson spoke of the calamity that would result if all power were vested in the federal government.

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10th Amendment: History and Purpose

by Justin D. Lowry, Georgia Conservative Weekly

The purpose of the 10th Amendment is to define the establishment and division of power between the Federal government and state governments. This amendment also protects these powers from both entities. This amendment was used to define the federal taxing power, federal police power, and federal regulations.

At one time, it was read very simply, if it is not in the constitution, the federal government could not pass it to the states. Through the years, the power of the federal government has expanded through the Supreme Court.

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The Meaning of Federalism

by Clarence B. Carson, Fee.org

Several developments have contributed to making the meaning of federalism obscure. Some are old, some recent. Some may be more or less innocent; others are destructive of federalism itself. One of these that may be more or less innocent is the habit of referring to the United States government as the “federal government.”

Whether it is innocent or not, it does tend to confuse the unwary. These United States have a federal system of government. The system embraces both the general government and those of the states. Thus, both the United States government and the state government are correctly alluded to as “federal” governments.

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