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Editor’s note: Listen to this column online.

In hopes of returning to a previous, “better” condition, millions of Americans will resolve to: quit smoking, lose weight, or engage in some other activity to make their life better in some way. Suppose there were an activity in which Americans could engage that would make the entire world better, especially that portion of the world we call the United States of America. There is!

We can resolve to restore the original, unique republic created by our founders.

George Washington, Ben Franklin, James Madison and the handful of other great Americans who assembled in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 used nearly half of the Convention time debating the single issue of representation in the new government. Shall the new government be a government of the states, or a government of the people?

The Articles of Confederation created a government of the states, and any amendment to the Articles required unanimous approval. This arrangement was inadequate; no state could be compelled to comply with any directive from the government. James Madison’s Virginia Plan proposed a new government of the people; Andrew Hamilton wanted a strong central government, with the president to be elected for life.

Small states argued that the Virginia Plan would essentially erase the small states because the large states would always have more delegates to the new government and could always outvote the small states. Delaware delegate John Dickenson nearly ended the Constitutional Convention by declaring that Madison’s plan would exchange the tyranny of the king for the tyranny of the large states – tyranny to which small states would never submit.

Thomas Woods explains how states can reject unconstitutional federal laws in “Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century”

Connecticut delegate Roger Sherman, of whom Thomas Jefferson once said: “… here is a man who never said a foolish thing in his life,” suggested a compromise. His compromise would make the lower legislative chamber consist of representatives elected by the people based on population; the upper chamber, the Senate, would consist of two representatives from each state, chosen by the state legislature.

Madison compared such a government to a centaur – half man and half horse. Sherman’s compromise government would be empowered half by the people and half by the states. This new form of government – unique in the world – would allow competition between the two sources of power, which would serve as a check and balance on each other to ensure that neither became domineering or tyrannical.

No nation has ever prospered so profoundly and as rapidly as did the United States during the 19th century. Millions of European immigrants poured into the “New Country,” bringing with them the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their Communist Manifesto was widely embraced by a continent that had suffered for generations under one form of despotism or another.

The idea of people-powered government control of society offered by Marx ran head-on into the unregulated activities of laissez-faire capitalism. This produced a new system of political thought dubbed “Progressivism” by Theodore Roosevelt and others, in the late 19th century. This new hybrid political system pursued government policies that regulated economic and social activity without the government actually owning the sources of production – as Marx advocated.

Woodrow Wilson, a champion of Progressivism, ushered in the Federal Reserve, the income tax and the 17th Amendment – which destroyed the carefully balanced, unique structure of the American government. The 17th Amendment removed the states from the federal government altogether by allowing senators to be elected directly by the people rather than by the state legislatures.

Since 1913, the states have had no voice at all in the approval of executive appointments of federal judges or cabinet officials.

Since the 17th Amendment, the states have had no voice at all in the approval of international treaties.

Since the Progressives sent Wilson to the White House, the states have had no voice in the approval of federal law to which states must conform.

These are the functions of the Senate that provides the check and balance on the federal government our founders fought so hard to get right, in Philadelphia in 1787. This is the genius of the original government that our founders gave us. This is the government that can be restored.

America’s collective New Year’s resolution should be to restore that wonderful, original, unique government our founders gave us by repealing the 17th Amendment.

There is a widespread and growing coalition of individuals and organizations working to achieve this goal. The story of why the 17th Amendment should be repealed is convincingly told in this video. An overview of how this incredibly ambitious objective can be achieved is explained in this video.

Already, property-rights groups, Second Amendment groups, tea-party and 9.12 groups, flat- tax groups and many others are responding to this 17th Amendment initiative. Should America get serious about restoring the republic our founders gave us and adopt the repeal of the 17th Amendment as its New Year’s’ resolution, the United States would indeed become a better place for all the world to enjoy.

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