Our System of Federalism Summed Up

  1. The Federal government was created by the States, as an agent of the States (it was not created “by the people”). This is clearly articulated in Article VII of the US Constitution as well as Ratification Conventions/Resolutions of the various States.
  2. The Federal government has only been delegated a very limited set of powers by the States; these powers are defined within the US Constitution.
  3. The Federal Bill of Rights was ratified to further restrict the Federal government, not the State governments (the 14th Amendment did not Constitutionally change this relationship). This purpose is very clear and can be found in the Preamble of the Federal Bill of Rights.
  4. The Federal government was not empowered to be the sole/final arbiter of the US Constitution. This would empower the agent of the States the ability to define the extent of its own power.
  5. The 17th Amendment did subtract a vital State check of Federal legislation, however it did not change the fact that the States play a vital role in governance and still serve as a check on the Federal government.
  6. States are not subservient to the Federal government except on matters where the Federal government has been delegated authority (again, this authority is very limited in size and scope).
  7. The only powers that the Federal government was delegated are defined in the US Constitution. Any powers they currently “enjoy” that are not defined in the US Constitution, have been usurped from the States or the people. This usurpation is in DIRECT violation of the US Constitution and what the States ratified in the 1780’s (i.e. what they consented to).
  8. Each State has a Constitution where the citizens of that State have delegated powers to the State government. Most States also have a Bill of Rights or a Declaration of Rights that further restrict the State governments power and specifically document what powers the State government does not have. The only time a State Constitution is not supreme, are in powers that are delegated to the Federal government and documented in the US Constitution; this is a very short list (most can be found in Article 1 Section 8 of the US Constitution).
  9. When “the general [Federal] government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force” and it is the duty of the State governments to defend the sovereign/supreme power of the State government and/or citizen that is under attack by the Federal usurper.

These are the facts…it’s imperative that our activism is based on these basic fundamentals.

If you appreciate the system of Federalism, please share this far and wide!


In liberty,


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Joshua Lyons

Co-Host/Producer at The Forgotten Men Radio Show
Joshua is the co-host of The Forgotten Men radio show, which airs Saturdays at 12 noon ET on AM930 WFMD. The Forgotten Men focus on the current political and economic challenges through the lens of the Constitution and federalism.
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