As the term was used in 18th century English a "state" was synonymous with nation or country and its subdivisions were variously know as provinces or colonies.
In the Treaty of Paris, which ended the American Revolution, King George III recognized not the independence of a single American nation but that of thirteen sovereign states, "His Brittanic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States; . . .", notice the use of the word "States" and not "State" indicating that he was making peace with 13 sovereign nations and that the term "United States" was a descriptive term for the confederation of these nations not the title of a new nation.
These 13 sovereign states, realizing the need to have a united face to present to the existing established world states, formed together into a voluntary confederation for mutual defense and economic strength, but none of these new states was willing to give up its sovereignty and all had a deep seated distrust of central governments. Spurred by this distrust they deliberately made the central governing body weak and impotent and the confederation itself loosely formed. The express reservation of ". . . every power, jurisdiction, and right" to the states (Article II of the Articles of Confederation) soon made this confederation unworkable. As a result of trying to correct the short comings of the Articles, the Constitution and a Federalist government was born. Those sovereign states and the architects of this new government still had a deep seated distrust of a strong central, now Federalist, government so, subsequently, in the new Constitution's Articles they delineated the specific powers of each of the Federal Government's three branches and reserved those powers not expressly given to the Federal government to the individual sovereign states that composed the new union. To further restrain the Federal government they immediately enshrined in the Constitution ten, not only inalienable, but unalienable rights in a "Bill of Rights" and, realizing that the people's right to free speech, a free press, and the need for a moral compass found in the people's right to practice a religion of their choice to be of paramount importance encompassed those in the very first amendment. With the realization that, at some point in the future, the people might have to defend those rights, the next eight rights, and the very Constitution itself set the right of the people to keep and bear as the very next right. Not only did these far-sighted architects place this right second only to those which comprised the voice, conscience and soul of the Constitution but also made it, the teeth of the Constitution, uninfringeable.
Over the course of the 211 years since the Constitution was ratified it and these ten, delineated, unalienable rights have been under attack by individuals and groups seeking to silence that voice, to cloud that conscience, deaden that soul and to blunt those teeth. Over the past fifty years the pace of these attacks have quickened and grown both in boldness and effectiveness with little opposition by a populace grown ever more complacent and timid. On Saturday, 19 January of this year, I read a letter written to the President of the United States and published by the Utah Sheriff's Association which proclaimed that the men who represent the sheriffs in the state will stand up for Americans constitutional rights, particularly when it comes to the right to bear arms.
I have never been so proud to be an American nor Utahn. Finally an organization and individuals charged with the responsibility to "Defend and protect the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic and bear true faith and allegiance to the same." Â has taken a courageous stand to be true to this oath and push back against the anti-constitutional tide which is threatening to eliminate the rights of the people. The government of Utah, being the elected representatives of a sovereign state, has a legitimate obligation to the people it governs to take an aggressive stance against the erosion and infringement on the rights of its citizens as codified in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution even if that stance is the defiance and nullification of Federal Statutes, Executive Orders, or Supreme Court rulings which infringe on the U.S. Constitution or in substance unlawful alter it. Every citizen of Utah should contact the Governor and the Legislature and petition them to publish their support of the courageous stance taken by the Utah Sheriff's Association.
If you see the Sheriff take the opportunity to thank him for his stance. If the need arises I, for one, share that oath and will stand shoulder to shoulder with him and his deputies in the preservation of the Constitution's traditional interpretation.