In Federalist essay No. 39 Madison wrote:
The immediate election of the President, is to be made by the States in their political characters.
And in essay No. 45 he stated:
The state governments may be regarded as constituent and essential parts of the federal government; whilst the latter is nowise essential to the operation or organization of the former. Without the intervention of the State Legislatures, the President of the United States cannot be elected at all.
Every law passed by Congress must be presented to the President before it can take effect. Yet, the President cannot be elected or removed from office by a majority of the American people.
Second, is the method of election for members of Congress. If the States had been consolidated under one national government, and Congress had general legislative authority throughout the United States, then elections would be national as opposed to federal. In other words, each citizen would vote for all 535 members of Congress instead of 3 [one representative and 2 senators]. At present, there are 435 members of the House and 100 in the Senate. [Note: Prior to the adoption of the 17th Amendment in 1913, members of the Senate were appointed directly by the legislatures of the several States]. The present circumvention of the Constitution has resulted in legislation without representation. When Congress votes on pending legislation, 532 of the 535 members, over whom you have no vote, are enacting legislation that purports to directly affect your life, liberty and property. Yet, a majority of the American people can neither elect nor remove a member of Congress from office.
Third, is the method of appointing and removing members of the federal judiciary. The people of the several States have no voice in the nomination, confirmation or impeachment of a federal judge. Instead, the Supreme Court, Appellate Court and District Court judges are nominated by the President, and confirmed by the States' representatives, the Senate. These judges, appointed for life, are adjudicating cases involving the life, liberty and property of the people of the several States, yet are unaccountable to them.
Fourth, is the method of amending the Constitution. If the Constitution applied to the whole people, as comprising one nation, then they would have the power to propose amendments to the document. No such power exists. Article V of the Constitution provides only two methods for proposing amendments. Two-thirds of the States  can request a Constitutional Convention or Congress [two-thirds of both Houses] can propose amendments that are submitted to the States.
If the Constitution applied to the whole people, then they would have the power to vote directly on any amendment of the document. Again, no such power exists. Article V referenced above provides two methods for voting on changes. In either case it takes a vote of three-fourths of the States  to ratify any proposed change. Neither Congress nor a majority of the American people can amend the Constitution. Likewise, neither the federal government nor the whole people can override a three-fourths vote of the States. The 38 smallest States, with a minority of the population, can bind the remaining 12 States with a majority of the population. This proves conclusively that the powers of the federal government pertain to the States collectively, not the people individually. It also proves that the parties to the Constitution are the several States, not the whole people as comprising one nation.
One of the most misunderstood words in the modern American vocabulary is the word federal. Alexander Stephens, in his 1868 book, A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States; its Causes, Character, Conduct and Results, wrote the following concerning the word federal:
The great American lexicographer, Noah Webster, says of this word 'Federal', that it is derived from the Latin word 'Foedus' which means a League. A League he defines to be 'an Alliance or Confederacy between Princes or States for their mutual aid or defense.'
And, in defining the meaning of the word Federal, Webster uses this language:
Consisting in a Compact between States or Nations; founded on alliance by contract or mutual agreement; as a Federal Government, such as that of the United States.
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, the definitive legal dictionary of the nineteenth century defined federal as:
A term commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states. In the United States the central government of the Union is federal. The constitution was adopted 'to form a more perfect union' among the states
The word federal, as used by the Founders, refers to a union or compact between the several States. Thus, under this definition, a federal government would be the government of the States united under the compact.
The Constitution Is A Contract
In his draft of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson also construed the Constitution as a compact between the several States:
The several states composing the United States of America are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government; but by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a general government for special purposes [and] delegated to that government certain definite powers, and whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force To this compact each state acceded as a state, and is an integral party, its co-states forming, as to itself, the other party The government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution the measure of its powers
Jefferson provided a simple overview of the nature of Constitution and the character of the federal government. As noted by Jefferson, the federal government was created by the States, and as such, is the States' government.
Jefferson also noted that the federal government and its courts are not the final arbitrator of the Constitution or the extent of the powers delegated to the federal government. Since the Constitution is a compact between the several States, and the federal government is not a party, but the result of that compact, it has no constitutional power to define the extent of the powers delegated to itself. Thus, contrary to popular belief, the federal courts do not have the lawful authority to interpret the Constitution or define the extent of the powers delegated to the federal government. Only the individual States, as the exclusive parties to the compact between themselves, possess that power. Otherwise, the Constitution would be meaningless as a written document, because, as stated by Jefferson, judicial discretion would replace the Constitution as the measure of the federal government's power.
The Constitution, as stated above, is a compact, or in modern terminology, a contract. Black's Law Dictionary, the definitive legal dictionary of the twentieth century defines a compact as:
An agreement; a contract. Usually applied to conventions between nations or sovereign states.
The Constitution, as discussed previously, was established by a federal convention of sovereign States. The parties to the contract, known as the Constitution for the United States of America, are the individual States. Neither the federal government, nor the people, as comprising one nation, are a party to the agreement between the several States. It is a fundamental principle of contract law that a contract cannot be applied or enforced against any entity or individual that is not a party to the contract. Since the American people are not a party to the contract, and have no direct voice in the amendment of that contract, the federal government cannot have any general legislative authority over the people of the several States.
Agent of the States
In his classic work of 1868, "The Federal Government, Its True Nature and Character," Abel Upshur construed the federal government as a mere agent created by several States via the Constitution. He also stated the Constitution was a compact [contract] between the several States:
The Federal Government is the creature of the States. It is not a party to the Constitution, but the result of it the creation of that agreement which was made by the States as parties. It is a mere agent, entrusted with limited powers for certain specific objects; which powers and objects are enumerated in the Constitution.
He continued by stating:
According to the principles of all our institutions, sovereignty does not reside in any government whatever, neither State nor federal... The true sovereignty of the United States...is in the States, and not in the people of the United States, nor in the Federal Government. That government is but the agent through whom a portion of this sovereign power is exerted; possessing no sovereignty itself, and exerting no power, except which only as its constituents [the States] have conferred on it. In ascertaining what these powers are, it is obviously proper that we should look only to the grant from which they are derived. The agent can claim nothing for itself, and on its own account. The Constitution is a compact, and the parties to it are each State, with each and every other State. The Federal Government is not a party, but is the mere creature of the agreement between the States as parties.
Upshur, who had been Secretary of State and Secretary of the Navy, had an intimate knowledge of the Constitution and the purpose of the federal government. His book remains, in the authors' opinion, the definitive commentary on the nature of the Constitution and the character of the federal government.
Contrary to popular belief, the Constitution is simply a contract between the several States. When the States adopted the Constitution, they created a common agent called the federal government. They authorized their agent, through the contract, with the authority to perform limited enumerated functions that would be difficult or impossible for the States to perform individually. As stated by Alexander Hamilton, the powers of the States' agent, the federal government, pertain to the States in their united or collective capacity. Thus, the federal government is the common government of the several States, not the general government of the American people, as comprising one nation. As such, it has no general authority over the people of the several States because they are not a party to the contract commonly known as the Constitution for the United States [States united].
Greenslade focuses his writing on issues surrounding the federal government
and the Constitution. He believes politicians at the federal level, through
ignorance or design, are systematically dismantling the Constitution in
an effort to expand their power and consolidate control over the American
people. He has dedicated himself to resurrecting the true intent of the
Constitution in the hope that the information will contribute, in some
small way, to restoring the system of limited government established by
If you are interested in finding out more about the Constitution, take a look at this book. I use it in many of my articles and it is the best book I've found on this subject. Bob
Reprint of the 1868 edition. ''Perhaps the ablest analysis of the nature and character of the federal government that has ever been published. It has remained unanswered.'' This review of Judge Story's Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States is perhaps the ablest analysis of the nature and character of the Federal Government that has ever been published. It has remained unanswered. Indeed, we are not aware that any attempt has been made to challenge the soundness of its reasoning. The great vise of Judge Story and the Federalists consisted in desiring the clothe the federal government with almost monarchical power, whereas the States had carefully and resolutely reserved the great mass of political power for themselves. The powers which they delegated to the federal government were few, and were general in their character. Those which they reserved embraced their original and inalienable sovereignty, which no state imagined it was surrendering when it adopted the consitution. Mr Madison dwelt with great force upon the fact that ''a delegated is not a surrendered power.'' The states surrendered no powers to the federal government -- they only delegated them. 160 pages.