Rob McCoy:  Transformation of the Federal Government by agencies

By Michael Hernandez

(Editor’s Note:  The American Legacy Series continues with a lecture given by Councilman Rob McCoy every Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. at Godspeak Calvary Chapel, 2697 Lavery Court, Suite 14, Newbury Park.  All are welcomed to explore “the origins of our American Government, how it is relevant, and how it is shaping our future.”)

NEWBURY PARK—“We’ve seen the transformation of the federal government by regulatory agencies that make most laws today; enforce those laws; adjudicate disputes concerning those laws,” said Rob McCoy at the Week 10 American Legacy Series lecture held at Godspeak Calvary Chapel, 2697 Lavery Court.

“These agencies now carry all three branches of government in one single hand:  executive, legislative and judicial.   They have the full power of the federal government. 

“During the first 150 years of this nation, the government” accounted for “10 percent of the economy.  Today, it is over 50 percent.”

McCoy spoke about the heated election of 1800 which threatened the nation’s survival—a battle between four presidential candidates—but really a battle between Federalists (like Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Charles C. Pinckney; who wanted a stronger federal government) and Democratic-Republicans (James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr); who wanted strong state rights; not to be confused with the parties of today).

Only a quarter of a century after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the first election of the new 19th century was carried out in an era of intensely emotional partisanship among a people deeply divided over the scope of the government’s authority.

The “revolution…of 1776,” Jefferson would later say, had determined the “form” of America’s government; he believed the election of 1800 would decide its “principles.”

McCoy explained that it was in this bitterly partisan atmosphere that the election of 1800 was conducted. In those days, the Constitution stipulated that each of the 138 members of the Electoral College cast two votes for president, which allowed electors to cast one vote for a favorite son and a second for a candidate who actually stood a chance of winning. The Constitution also stipulated that if the candidates tied, or none received a majority of electoral votes, the House of Representatives “shall choose by Ballot one of them for President.” Unlike today, each party nominated two candidates for the presidency.

In those days, the Constitution left the manner of selecting presidential electors to the states. In 11 of the 16 states, state legislatures picked the electors; therefore, the party that controlled the state assembly garnered all that state’s electoral votes. In the other five states, electors were chosen by “qualified” voters (white, male property owners in some states, white male taxpayers in others). Some states used a winner-take-all system: voters cast their ballots for the entire slate of Federalist electors or for the Republican slate. Other states split electors among districts.

McCoy, recounted that the nation survived this election battle as well as the election of 1860—which did lead to the Civil War in a divided nation.  “These elections were pivotal in the United States and we survived 1800 and 1860.”  But the arguments remain:  Jefferson’s “let the states do it” vs. Hamilton’s “let the feds do it.”

According to McCoy, “If you make the government big enough to give you what you want, it can take it away.  The larger the government, the smaller the citizen.  The progressive problem is the full power of the federal government. Progressives take control because they claim to make everything better.  But, what do we mean by better?

McCoy states today’s political fight revolves around the meaning of Article 1: Section 8:  “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”  The current political argument revolves around the general welfare of the United States:  federal control vs. state and local control.

(Editor’s Note:  For complete video link to week 10 of the Legacy Series go to:

Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service, founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in West Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 23 years as a middle school teacher.  Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email: [email protected]

Mr. Hernandez is dedicating himself to advance the 13 spheres –as a “City Upon A Hill”; developing an interactive California citizens news platform as an alternative to mainstream media; while building local school-community partnerships.

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