Okay, so I'm trying to start a series of articles explaining how the city government of Fort Worth, Texas operates – mostly as a writing exercise. I do however want to ensure I'm factually correct.

The first article focuses on the basis of government – the Constitution, specifically exploring its power. In attempting to explain its legitimacy, I use the doctrine of implied consent to classify all U.S. citizens under the "consent of the governed".

Is my explanation legally sound? Here is the Article

This is the gist of it:

Each State gained the right to make decisions on behalf of its citizens through the chartering of its land. When the United States ratified the Constitution, in accordance with Article 4, the States ceded all legal jurisdiction of the land to the newly created Federal Government. A government composed solely of members sworn by the Oath of Office to affirm the supremacy of the Constitution, therein confering upon it the full authority of the United States governement and military, both on the State, and Federal level.

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    It is wrong to say that "the States ceded all legal jurisdiction of the land to the newly created Federal Government." The States gave up very little power under the Constitution, especially as it existed prior to the Reconstruction Amendments.
    – sjy
    Nov 19, 2017 at 21:08
  • @sjy If the Federal Government didn't have legal jurisdiction over the States' land, then how could the Congress approve the construction of canals and roadways? In modern times, how can the Federal Government claim eminent domain? Nov 19, 2017 at 21:59
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    @BrandonBradleyThat's a good question - go ask it. The answer will, I think, illuminate a basic misunderstanding you appear to have about federal/state power.
    – Dale M
    Nov 20, 2017 at 0:17
  • The justification for Eminent Domain would seem to answer my question, yes? To that end: law.stackexchange.com/questions/24243/… Nov 20, 2017 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


Implied consent is a political theory idea, and not a legal one. People are subject to the law because they are in an area in the jurisdiction of the nation and state and county and city that has been granted authority over that area in the past, not because they actually or even implicitly agree to that authority.

  • The theory is also known as Social Contract; questions would be on-topic at Politics.SE
    – MSalters
    Nov 21, 2017 at 9:39

The 10th Amendment explicitly says that any powers not given to the Federal Government by the Constitution are the right of the state or the individual. Thus, the Federal Government can only act in a way that is justified in the Constitution. States do retain a number of rights that the Government cannot legislate on and this leads to various states with various laws. The Federal Government can build roads and canals if such a project has a "interstate" function. With the Interstate system, typically the states maintain the Interstates in their jurisdiction and bill the Federal Government for the maintenance (this is how we have a national drinking age at 21. The feds refused to pay any state for the interstate if they didn't comply with 21 as the drinking age. And drinking ages in the U.S. are state laws... but they are universally 21 because any lower will not get those wonderful federal dollars.).

In addition, states can enter into compacts which are agreements between two or more states on matters of law that the Federal Government cannot enforce (the most famous being that a drivers license issued by any state is valid as another state's license. If Maryland issued the license, the Virginia police officer pulling you over will count it as if it was a valid Virginia license. This doesn't excuse you from breaking the radar detection law. You have to follow the law of the road in the state you are in. All 50 states have signed this compact).

In the beginning, each state was effectively a nation unto itself (Texas was a real country before it's annexation). As part of joining the United States, this country agrees to cede certain powers (such as the ability to make war, conduct foreign negotiations, hold treaties, print currency and regulate interstate trade, ect.) to the Federal Government, which decides the policy in these matters for all states.


Implied Consent is a legal principle stating that a first responded must ask for consent to attend to a victim EXCEPT in cases where the victim is unconscious, at which point the consent to perform life saving operations within the first responder's scope of knowledge is implied.

  • The idea of implied consent is a much, much broader legal concept that one for emergency medical treatment; Hawaii was a country too; interstate highways were justified using the National Defense power although interstate commerce is used to justify a great deal of federal activity; the drinking age is justified with spending for the general welfare.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 21, 2017 at 17:21

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