A Few Words from One of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence:
Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania is an unsung founder who would confound most people of various political persuasions today. He opposed slavery and capital punishment, and he believed that religion and a belief in God were foundations for the new nation. He wrote the first American textbook on psychiatry, and he held fast to the good of bleeding people to get rid of infections, even when the practice had been discredited. Like many of the founders, he was filled with contradictions.
In a speech given in Philadelphia in January 1787, he addressed a couple of points that the Tea Party and many conservatives still flog to this day: the nature of power and the meaning of statehood. If you read these words, dear, demented teabaggers, remember that when Benjamin Rush wore a tri-corner hat, it wasn't to play act a fantasy of revolution. He put his real and actual ass on the line for liberty.
"There are two errors or prejudices on the subject of government in America, which lead to the most dangerous consequences.
"It is often said, that 'the sovereign and all other power is seated in the people.' This idea is unhappily expressed. It should be— 'all the power is derived from the people.' They possess it only on the days of their elections. After this, it is the property of their rulers, nor can they exercise or resume it, unless it is abused. It is of importance to circulate this idea, as it leads to order and good government.
"The people of America have mistaken the meaning of the word sovereignty: hence each state pretends to be sovereign. In Europe, it is applied only to those states which possess the power of making war and peace—of forming treaties, and the like. As this power belongs only to congress, they are the only sovereign power in the united states.
"We commit a similar mistake in our ideas of the word independent. No individual state, as such, has any claim to independence. She is independent only in a union with her sister states in congress."