Tenth Amendment ‘Terrorism’

by Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. is terrified. He is terrified that the American public has started to believe that they are the masters rather than the servants of their own government. He is terrified that they may have started to think that the old Jeffersonian dictum that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed is not such a bad idea. Most of all, he is terrified that the public will act on these beliefs, organize themselves into political communities at the state level, and oppose socialized healthcare, endless “stimulus” spending by the federal government, and the never-ending expansion of the welfare state.

“I have introduced an Economic Bill of Rights!”, he whined, while bemoaning citizen opposition to this hoary socialistic scheme. That’s why he is doing what all Democrats seem to do these days – insinuating that anyone who holds such beliefs is either a racist, as he did in a recent speech, or a member of a “hate group” (or both).

There are a lot of black people on welfare, you see, so that in the mind of Jesse Jackson, Jr., (and his friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center and other Democratic Party appendages), the only conceivable reason why anyone would ever criticize the welfare state is racial hatred. The Obama regime promised a “post-racial America” while working diligently with all of its supporters to create a hyper-racial America instead.

In his recent bloviation Congressman Jackson bemoaned the fact that politicians like Governor Rick Perry of Texas have been talking a lot lately about states’ rights and the Tenth Amendment as tools with which ordinary Americans can oppose the corrupt, imperious regime in Washington, D.C. This of course is the very reason why Thomas Jefferson believed that the Tenth 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”) was the cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution and the key to creating what he called “an empire of liberty.” The clearest example of this Jeffersonian states’ rights tradition is the first section of Jefferson’s famous Kentucky Resolution of 1798 (written by Jefferson at the request of his friend, Senator John Breckenridge of Kentucky) which announced that the citizens of Kentucky would not abide by the unconstitutional Sedition Act that was being enforced by the Adams administration. The Sedition Act essentially outlawed free political speech in America by making it a crime punishable by prison for criticizing the Adams administration. Section 1 of the “Kentucky Resolve” reads as follows:

Resolved, that the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to their General Government; but that by compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes, delegated to that Government certain definite powers, reserving each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self Government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force . . . . the Government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers . . . (emphasis added).

This, along with the Tenth Amendment, is the essence of the Jeffersonian states’ rights philosophy. During Jefferson’s term as president the New England states used the language of the Kentucky Resolve to nullify the trade embargo that Jefferson attempted to enforce after the British confiscated American ships and conscripted American sailors. (He believed that a trade embargo, as damaging as it was, was a better alternative than another war with Great Britain). All of New England, plus Delaware, nullified the embargo as an unconstitutional usurpation of federal power, and used Jefferson’s own language to justify their actions.

New Englanders also refused to participate in the War of 1812 by refusing to send…

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