Many times we have referred to the words of James Madison, as he wrote in Federalist no. 45, arguing for the people to agree to the Constitution:“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 ... 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 Tenth Amendment was written as the closing emphasis in the Bill of Rights:“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.”
These promises are as binding on the federal government as your promise to pay your mortgage or honor your marriage vows. But the protection these promises give you have been broken. Part of this violation has been because the federal government has made it appealing for the state to do things that are not really good for Tennesseans – “but look at all the federal grant money we will get if we do…” Before it is too late, Tennessee must pry itself away from the federal trough and restore our own power to govern ourselves.
Federal Government and Our State