Our Founding Fathers came together on July 4, 1776 from across the 13 colonies to declare independence and establish what would become the most free and representative society in history.
The 13 independent colonies became the “united states” of America and in doing so secured the unalienable rights such as Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness endowed by our Creator.
The delicate yet vital division of powers between government at the federal, state and local levels is the cornerstone of our liberty and the foundation of the Founders’ intent when the colonies stood together against tyranny 240 years ago. Our Constitution asserts “dual sovereignty” among Congress and the states to ensure that history is not repeated and that the will of individual states and the people is always maintained.
The Fourth of July is a celebration of the freedom that this nation had the courage to stand up for against all odds. The signing of the Declaration of Independence marked the unification of states with varying interests, needs and populations to strengthen the bond of liberty yet maintain the unique qualities that make our nation a beacon of freedom throughout the world.
This is why we recently passed a resolution in the Ohio Senate reasserting the principles of federalism that are embodied in the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. The states are not meant to be junior partners in the division of powers, but guiding forces of change and opportunity.
As early as the Articles of Confederation, our Founding Fathers stated that “each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”
When the Tenth Amendment was ratified into the United States Constitution, the Founders recognized the importance of the states by giving authority over all powers not delegated to Congress to the states to represent the will of the people. As state lawmakers and citizens, it is our duty to prohibit or repeal overreaching federal legislation that contravenes the Tenth Amendment and prevents states from serving as the laboratories of democracy as originally intended. I cosponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 to limit and end excessive federal mandates and reassert the principles of federalism that allow our states to thrive.
It is important that we reaffirm and uphold the principles of federalism outlined by James Madison to restore the balance between the states and federal government that is often disregarded by those in Washington. Strong and robust states foster innovation and reform that best serves and protects their citizens.
As we come together to celebrate the courage of our Founding Fathers and the birth of our great nation, let us not forget to uphold the principles that make our states, and our nation, the greatest in the world.
Senator Bob Peterson represents the 17th District in the Ohio Senate, which encompasses all or part of Clinton, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pickaway, Pike, Ross, and Vinton counties.