Federalism

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Federalism

The articles of confederation demonstrates clearly that the new independent peoples on America were not prepared to go very far in the formation of a national government.

Federalism is a theory of government by which political power is divided between a national government and state government, each having their own area of substantive jurisdiction.

Federalism involves a degree of decentralization. Decentralization is the principle by which governmental and political power is vested not only in the federal government, but also in the state governments.

Where is federalism written in the constitution? enumerated powers of the 3 branches of the federal government - Congress was to coin money, the President was to be the commander in chief. it was also included in the implied powers of the federal government (Congress's powers' to "make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers."). The Supreme Court was to be umpire of all disagreements between the federal and state governments.

The changing federal-state relationship

federalism is not a fixed term and as america has changed so has federalism. There has been a number of factors over the 19th and 20th century that have led to an increased role for federal government.

o Westward expansion - from 13 colonies colonies spread westward.

o The growth of population - a growing nation required management by a growing government.

o Industrialization - this brought the need for government regulation - federal executive depts. of Commerce and labor were formed in 1903.

o Improvements in communication - while the nation grew in size in shrank in terms of accessibility as modern methods of communication gradually developed. With instant communication brought a feeling of national identity.

o The Great Depression - when the GD hit the USA in 1929 the states looked to the federal government to cure their ills. the states did not have the necessary resources to help themselves

o Foreign policy - after WW2 the USA stepped out as a world superpower and the federal government - with exclusive jurisdiction over foreign policy - found its role enhanced significantly.

o Supreme Court decisions - decisions made by the SC further enhanced the power of the federal government through their interpretation of the implied powers of the constitution.

o Constitutional amendments - especially the 14th amendment. the constitution had been amended to impose prohibitions directly on state governments. The 16th amendments also allowed the federal government to impose an income tax.

Phases of federalism

Dual federalism: from 1780's to 1920's. during this era state governments exercised most political power. The focus was very much states rights. These are literally, the rights, powers and duties of the state governments. But it is used as a term to denote opposition to increasing the national government's power at the expense of that of the states. States' rights advocates call fro an interpretation of the constitution that places limits on the implied powers of the federal government and gives expansive interpretation to the reserved powers of…

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