Graphic with the words "Colonel's Constitutional Brief and a photo of LTC Allen West (ret.) - CCB square

“The” vs. “These”


Allen West


November 15, 2023

I know some of you are already rolling your eyes back deep into your heads. No, this is not a lesson in grammar, but it is a vital discussion about the foundation of our Constitutional Republic. Again, let’s all be mindful that America is not a democracy, it is a Republic . . . ya know, “and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In this short missive, I want to discuss a very needed topic, and that is federalism.

Recently, I conducted an interview with the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture, the Honorable Sid Miller. As we wrapped up the interview, I asked him what his greatest concern was. I would have thought immediately Commissioner Miller would have said the border. Nope. For the Texas Agriculture Commissioner, his greatest concern was federal government overreach. It is quite manipulative how the federal government promises grants and funding but it comes with very specific stipulations. Then there are the unfunded mandates and liabilities that the federal government pushes down to states. Many have a constitutional duty to balance their budgets. How odd that the federal government does not. Perhaps that is a discussion for a future constitutional brief.

That brings us to the topic of this brief, “the” vs. “these.” We often hear people say “the United States of America.” I would offer that is not the correct way of referring to our nation. The correct way would be “these United States of America.”

The Founding Fathers did not want a strong centralized federal government, their experiences with Great Britain being a good reason. In the closing paragraph of our Declaration of Independence, Jefferson refers to the gathered body of 56 as “Representatives of the united States of America.” In that phrase you will notice that “united” is not capitalized, but States is. Furthermore, you will see that Jefferson uses the language of “United Colonies,” and, yes, “United” is capitalized, and in several instances he says “Free and Independent States,” using capitalization. This is why reading the entire Declaration of Independence is vital to understanding the construct, foundation, which would establish our rule of law, the US Constitution.

With that being said, there is no wonder why the last amendment of the first ten, called the Bill of Rights, firmly asserts, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”.

In the 10th Amendment, the words, “the United States” refers to the federal government, not the Nation.

Consider this, in Article IV, Section 4 of the US Constitution, the Guarantee Clause, it states, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive [when the Legislature cannot be convened] against domestic Violence”. Again, the first three words make reference to the federal government and two very specified tasks. A “Republican Form of government” does not denote the Republican Party, but rather the principles of governance for a Republic, one being representative democracy. But notice that the federal government is directed by the word “shall,” not “should,” protect every State in this Union, capitalized, from invasion. Therefore, this current Biden administration is in violation of a specified duty, mandated responsibility, to them by the Constitution.

How does the issue of federalism — the Tenth Amendment — apply in this case?

Just go to Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the Constitution, “No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay”. There you have it, period, full stop. When the United States, meaning the federal government fails in the execution of the guaranteed duty to protect the sovereignty of our Nation, these United States of America, the States, free and independent, have the constitutional right to act, without any admit of delay.

Uh, so why did we just sat back and watch millions of people illegally flow into our Nation and no one has done what the Constitution directs?

There are those who would seek to invoke the Supremacy Clause in this instance, but there is a very important point to be made there. The Supremacy Clause is Article VI, Clause 2 in the Constitution. It says, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding”.

The three key words there for the United States, meaning federal government, are “in Pursuance thereof.” If the United States, meaning the federal government, is doing something that is not “in pursuance thereof” the Constitution and the laws of the Country, the States are not bound to it. This is what is called, referred to as Constitutional Nullification, and we need more of our free and independent States to invoke this against an intrusive federal government and restore the principle of federalism — the division and sharing of power between the national and state governments. By allocating power among state and federal governments, the Framers sought to establish a unified national government of limited powers while maintaining a distinct sphere of autonomy in which state governments could exercise a general police power.” 

Individuals in America cannot Live Free if free and independent states do not hold the federal government accountable to abide by and follow the Constitution and our rule of law. The excessive nature of what Commissioner Miller must contend with — as with many state-level elected officials — is in violation of our founding principles and doctrine. It is time the United States, meaning the federal government, was pushed back into its defined duties and responsibilities as outlined in the Constitution. We should not have to contend with absurdities such as the 30 x 30 plan. If the Constitution does not specifically enumerate a power to the federal government, well, it is not theirs to create, or usurp.

I guess this is why the progressive socialist left does not want us to study and comprehend American Civics. If we did, perhaps we would not find ourselves in such a mess.

Steadfast and Loyal.



Join ACRU Patriot 1776 club

Related articles