“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.”
– Tenth Amendment of the Bill of Rights
Before the U.S. Constitution, the founding fathers created the Articles of Confederation which were about as successful as a Hillary Clinton presidential bid. The Articles illustrated that nearly-autonomous states prohibited the growth and enhancement of a nation. However, the founders knew they were onto something with states’ rights. Knowing that the Articles of Confederation needed changing, fathers of the Constitution crammed inside Independence Hall in the sweltering heat of the summer of 1787. Out of that room came the Constitution of the United States of America — the most-important political document in human history. The newly-formed American government under the Constitution established a firm centralized power, yet the framers of the Constitution ensured that states would retain the most power.
Many Americans choose to focus on the First and Second Amendments while ignoring the importance of the others, but the Tenth Amendment carries just as much significance as the other Amendments do. The Tenth Amendment clearly and effectively establishes the idea of reserved powers — any powers not explicitly delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are reserved for the States and the people. Arguably carrying the most weight of any of the amendments, the Tenth Amendment established federalism, one of the most important pillars of the Republic.
Considering how the national government has ceaselessly seized more and more power from the states and the American people since the 19th century, federalism is a core value that should unite everyone on the political right. In a time when the federal government has bloated to Michael Moore-sized proportions, federalism is now more important than ever.
The dramatic increase in power of the executive branch has blinded Americans to the beauty of federalism. Federalism allows for the differing states to experiment with their own solutions to their own problems. One reason why federalism is important is because there are no two states that are exactly the same. Why should the people of Texas have the same laws as those of New York? Furthermore, why should a bureaucrat in DC create regulations for a small business in Wyoming? Government has always, and will always, be best at the state and local levels. It is time we as a nation put an emphasis back on states’ rights and return to federalism.