July 9, 2012

THE fEDERALISTS WON, NOT THE FEDERALISTS:

July 4th Question, Part III: Americans Revolt Billions of Times a Day (Jerry Bowyer, 7/08/12, Forbes)

Alexis De Tocqueville once said that the limits placed on the central power in the new world are different from the limits placed on national power in the old world. In the New World, the national government has jurisdiction in certain specific areas. It is prohibited by law and custom from transgressing the boundaries of its jurisdiction. In that sense its power is severely limited. But within those boundaries it is sovereign and almost completely beyond challenge. If something such as war or taxing power  is deemed a 'federal matter,' challenges to that power, for example the Whiskey Rebellion, were historically rare and suppressed mercilessly when they did occur.

On the other hand, Tocqueville says, the Old World functioned quite differently. The monarchs tended to be in constant conflict with other political powers regarding proper jurisdiction. The crown and the aristocracy and the colonies and provinces were engaged in an eternal game of tug of war, with each citing their own interpretation of law and custom to attempt to limit the jurisdiction of the others. Tocqueville observed that the limits to the powers of the central government in that case were largely imposed by the practical limits of enforcement. 

Posted by at July 9, 2012 5:21 AM
  

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