Cole M. Virginia

States' Rights

My letter has to do with the idea of a more popularly accurate and personal way of government, the state and local government should have a larger impact, for people are more personally represented through said governing bodies.

Dear Future President,                                                                October 25, 2016

I am writing to you today as a student, but also as a United States citizen who will eventually be eligible to vote for you, if you decide to run for reelection in 2020. An issue that is on my mind is the idea of representation in our democracy, and how we can make it as personal and accurate as possible. The ratio for a representative in the national government is much greater than a local or state government, where laws can be crafted for each state's needs, and where culture and geography can be taken into consideration. Being a Virginian, from Frederick County, I am able to experience the locality and “homey feeling” a small town sets off, while also being able to experience the culture of a smaller city, one with thriving business.

The tenth amendment of the United States Constitution was drafted into the Bill of Rights, and gives powers not defined in the Constitution to the states for their interpretation. This ideology of states rights can be traced back to the Anti-Federalists, who became Democratic-Republicans in the early 19th century. I think most people want to see themselves making an impact for their community through their government, even if they cannot be present when decisions are made concerning them. According to an Article on Annenberg Classroom, which discussed the tenth amendment, the Supreme Court has had to rule what was a "defined power" in the Constitution. The real argument has to do with what some people believe is defined, and what others believe is not. Some powers that are specifically defined (and belong to the federal government) are: the power to declare war, collect taxes, and manage interstate trade. Some people just have a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution than others do.

David Morris wrote an article in the Huffington Post, which outlined one piece of policy that has slipped into the hands of states, the process of how elections are held. Regardless of who is being voted for in a specific state, county, or even district; each state (or local) government is responsible for handling their own election process; but this has caused the federal government to intervene several times. This goes to show that some things are just left better to the higher government; for if there is not some kind of federal unity, at least for an election such as the President, it can be unfair to some groups of people in certain districts.

The population differs from state to state, but so does culture, geography, and economic situations. Everyone is different, and the more personal we make our government, the more accurately everyday people can be represented, their ideas heard, and actions taken from them. I am in no way suggesting that we resort to direct democracy as in Athens where EVERY man voted with either a black stone or white stone. Although, I am indicating the fact that government is for the people, and by the people. As a citizen, I want the government running my life (whether I accept it or not) to be personal and accurate. An Encyclopedia Britannica entry on “states’ rights” points to the tenth amendment of the Constitution and discusses the idea that state governments can respond more appropriately to its own needs. As a Virginian, I am competing for attention in the House of Representatives with 750, 866 other people. Each delegate in the state government represents only about 83,000 people, and in comparison, that is no large number. Please be sure to understand, that as president, you are representing 320 million people and there are only 535 people “personally” representing us. With that said, make sure smaller governments are permitted to make decisions that would affect them more than the entire United States as a whole. Thank you for your time, whoever is reading this, I commend you.


Cole M.

Works Cited

Morris, David. "The Obstacles We Face On November 8th." The Huffington Post. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

"Tenth Amendment." Annenberg Classroom. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

"States' Rights." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

James Wood High School

Concerned Colonels

Letters to the Next President by James Wood High's AP English 11 students

All letters from this group →