It will not come as news to you that our homeschooling communities are concerned about the potential for government interference in our affairs. There are extreme cases where communities have closed themselves off from politics, higher education, and much of the rest of society as well. Most of us have not gone that far, but it troubles me that the reach of our federal government has made this an issue.
The federal government was never intended to possess power that would give us cause to be concerned about interference in matters such as how we educate our children. That is sometimes seen as a power enumerated to it today, but certainly never one intended by our founders.
Thirty-six years after the Constitution’s ratification Thomas Jefferson weighed in on the prospect of our federal government overflowing its intended banks. The following excerpt is from a letter he wrote to a Supreme Court justice embroiled in the battle. “The capital and leading object of the Constitution was to leave with the states all authorities which respected their own citizens only, and to transfer to the United States those which respected citizens of foreign or other states….Can any good be effected by taking from the states the moral rule of their citizens and subordinating it to the general [federal] authority?”1
My hope is that enough people will lean on their elected representatives to restore ‘moral rule of their citizens’ to individual states. I believe, from copious statements made by the men who authored the documents governing our nation, that the intention was clear. I believe a return to state sovereignty is the glue that can hold together a nation whose moral ideologies are so contradictory.
This year Kansas’ governor established a statute ensuring that Sharia and other foreign laws will not decide outcomes in Kansas courts. Unfortunately, it is only a matter of time before this is federally overturned like a similar measure was in Oklahoma. Why do we accept this and other federal infringements upon issues respecting state citizenry? I think it is because we have known no other way for generations.
This year, the people of Colorado and Washington passed initiatives making possession of marijuana in certain quantities legal in their states. Regardless of your feelings on the issue, I ask you to consider if the people of Colorado and Washington should be left to their decision without federal interference. From what I know of the powers enumerated to the federal government in the Constitution and the writings of the men who established our nation, I think they should.
James Madison, who authored the Constitution, had this to say in assuaging the fears of New York delegates that ratification of the Constitution would leave too much power to the central government, “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.”2
Many factors in the ensuing years have contributed to the raging flood our central government has become. However, I think we can take great comfort in the knowledge that our forefathers knew its banks very well.
1 Jefferson, Thomas. Writings of Thomas Jefferson. Volume XV. Ed. Albert Ellery Bergh. Washington, D. C.: The Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904. 448-451.
2 Publius (James Madison). The Federalist Papers. No. XLV. New York: J. and A. McLean, 1788. Paragraph IX.