McDaniel: Federalism the Key to Preserving Our Liberty

By Senator Chris McDaniel

At a Jefferson Day dinner party in 1830, President Andrew Jackson raised his glass in a toast and stated, “Our Union: It must be preserved.”

Also in the room was his Vice-President, John C. Calhoun. When Calhoun’s turn came, his toast was: “The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.”

Although Calhoun’s legacy has been tainted by modern historians (his defense of slavery is indefensible), his advocacy of federalism rings true.

The only way to save our republic and to reduce the serious tension that exists among our population is to decentralize government power, turn away from DC, and return the power to the states and people pursuant to the 10th Amendment.

It is the type of structural reform that allows state-by-state experimentation, and eventually, peace.

Instead of fighting over DC, states should be allowed to set social and fiscal policies — those that conform to the wishes of its respective peoples.

Those that prefer to live in the “utopian” vision of liberalism may relocate to those states which share their concerns. Others who wish to transfer toward conservative states may use the liberty of travel to find like-minded communities and individuals.

Although we are a Republic, the Supreme Court has referenced this approach as “50 experiments in Democracy.”

It will work if tried; it was the original plan.

For the sake of our liberties, we must insist upon reform. For the sake of internal peace, we must demand that DC give up the power its has unlawfully taken from the people.

The source of our tension is the consolidation of power into a little district just north of Virginia.

And our country will not survive its present division unless something is done.

Decentralize the power. Give it back to the people.

Allow the states to set their unique destinies; demand that individual liberty survive.

Structural reform, to save our liberty most dear.


  1. Hey Chris: Good post. I too have read Calhoun’s book. Another good book on the advantages of federalism in a republic is “Confessions of a Confederate” by Jefferson Davis.

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