Did you know the man considered by many to be the “Father of the Constitution” gave us a blueprint for what to do when the federal government doesn’t follow the rules? Well he did, and it’s not something they teach you in school either. When ratification of the constitution was still up in the air, James Madison and others wrote a series of papers about how things would work. In one, Federalist paper #46, Madison laid out a clear plan, a blueprint for what was needed to keep the federal government in check when words on paper, wouldn’t do the job. Surprisingly, James Madison didn’t advise using as a first response to federal over reach what are known as the most wanted parts of the American system today. That is, voting bums out, suing in federal court, or demanding that federal politicians repeal their own laws. Instead, James Madison advised a series of four actions by individuals and States. 1. Protest on a large scale. Madison called it “disquietude of the people.” 2. Non-compliance. Madison recommended disobedience in general, and “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.” 3. Outspoken governors. Madison advised what he called “frowns of the executive of the State” to build awareness in the general public. And 4. State legislation. Madison said “legislative devices” should be used in the states. That is, passing resolutions or bills as needed to counter federal power. James Madison told us that using these steps together in multiple States would be extremely effective against the federal government. He wrote that doing so, would “present obstructions which the federal government would be hardly willing to encounter.” This advice was written in a time when the federal government did very little. Today, when the federal government is active in nearly all areas of life, James Madison’s blueprint will have far more impact and success than it did in his day. That’s because Washington DC relies on support and cooperation from the states for almost everything. As the National governors Association put it, States are partners with the federal government on “most federal programs.” Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits. In other words, if individuals and States protest and refuse to participate on a wide scale, there’s very little the federal government can do about it.