Letters of Liberty
                                                       How Does Our Republic Work?  

                As I mentioned earlier, I have travelled across Pennsylvania and talked to numerous people and answered countless important questions concerning our government.  While all questions are important there is one question that has given me more pause than any yet put to me.  “How is our government supposed to work?”

                The Articles of Confederation was our first attempt to be a central government with some very limited powers.  Sadly, the states were very independent at the time and had little use for a central government with any powers because they had been through a long stretch of tyrannical rule under the British; however, we had been blessed to have a group of individuals who were concerned about our country and, more importantly, its people.  They wanted the new government system to protect the people’s liberties and freedoms and they were striving for a structure that would last for centuries.  Some studied the history of different governments spanning back thousands of years, not solely to pick out the government systems that succeeded, but also to study what made governments fail.

Projecting that there would be significant growth in the size of this country was also important in deciding what government system would work most efficiently.  Together they decided this country was too vast to be governed by a democracy as the central government would not be able to understand or react to the needs of constituents that lived thousands of miles away.  A confederacy, while being more considerate of its people’s needs, would not endure the future growth of the country.  This would precipitate more than one confederacy, perhaps 8 or more, which would each be primarily concerned with their individual needs as compared to those of all the confederacies together.  So, the Founding Fathers devised an organization that incorporated some of various systems to form a republic which had a federal government whose primary role was to protect the states and its people from invasions and state governments who were responsible for the welfare of its constituents.

Perhaps easy analogies for our new Republic would be, think of you in a restaurant.  The roof of the restaurant, which protects you from the elements, is the role of the new federal government whose primary function is to protect us from foreign invasion.  The tables are the states and the surrounding chairs are the people.  Each table would be the center of the people’s needs and the chairs would represent the communities, counties, or individuals.  One key element for a successful republic is the horizontal and vertical divide in the government system, the horizontal being the federal government and the vertical ranging from individual to state government, and how it is the vertical divide we use every day.

                 If the states play such an important role in our government, why in the media do we only hear about Senators, House of Representatives and the President making all the decisions for the people?  This is not the intent of our republic, but unfortunately we have been digressing into a stronger central government that could prove to be fatal for this union.  For generations, the government has gradually gained power and believes they can make better decisions concerning the well being of the people then we can make for ourselves.

                With liberty you and your family are basically a small form of government making daily and long term decisions for yourselves.  The Founding Fathers understood the importance of liberty for the people and how it affects their day to day decisions.   However, with liberty comes responsibility which makes the people and therefore the union stronger.

                                Next we shall discuss the horizontal and vertical divides.