So far as (the federal) government is concerned, I venture to predict that it will become absolute and irresponsible, precisely in proportion as the rights of the States shall cease to be respected, and their authority to interpose for the correction of federal abuses shall be denied and overthrown. It should be the object of every patriot in the United States to encourage a high respect for the State governments. The people should be taught to regard them as their greatest interest, and as the first objects of their duty and affection. Maintained in their just rights and powers, they form the true balance-wheel, the only effectual check on federal encroachments.
The danger is, not that the States will interpose too often, but that they will rather submit to federal usurpations, than incur the risk of embarrassing that government, by any attempts to check and control it.
The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority.
The true test is, whether the object be of a local character, and local use; or, whether it be of general benefit to the states. If it be purely local, congress cannot constitutionally appropriate money for the object. But, if the benefit be general, it matters not, whether in point of locality it be in one state, or several; whether it be of large, or of small extent.
The power which a multiple millionaire, who may be my neighbor and perhaps my employer, has over me is very much less than that which the smallest "functionaire" possesses who wields the coercive power of the state, and on whose desecration it depends whether and how I am allowed to live or to work.
The state is a force incarnate. Worse, it is the silly parading of force. It never seeks to prevail by persuasion. Whenever it thrusts its finger into anything it does so in the most unfriendly way. Its essence is command and compulsion.
The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.
A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands even for beneficial purposes – will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished.
In 1950, the average family of four paid 2% of its earnings to federal taxes. Today it pays 24%.
Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the State becomes lawless or, which is the same thing, corrupt.
Whenever is found what is called a paternal government, there is found state education. It has been discovered that the best way to ensure implicit obedience is to commence tyranny in the nursery.