American Federalism

American Federalism

Strayer University
Donald Shaver, PhD
POL 110 – U.S. Government

This dissertation is to identify information regarding American Federalism, where we will define what is Federalism? The purpose of this paper will provide instance of how Federalism has evolved from its origins to the American political system in place today. It will explore factors that have allowed the concept of federalism to shape American political behavior. Finally, it will illustrate how the relationship between the states and the U.S. federal government influences the creation of American policies overall. History of Federalism

The Founders were very mindful of the risks of a dictatorial government. They built a system in which the powers of each branch would be used to check the powers of the other two branches. Originally, Article IV defined the relationship between the federal government and the states in a system of federalism, which divides the power of government between national and state governments. This federal system was meant to correct the confusion of the country during the Articles of Confederation. The general intention of the Farmers seems clear – Federalism was a device to protect personal liberty. The Founders attempted to balance order with liberty, they identified several reasons for creating a federalist government which included avoid tyranny, allow more participation in politics and to use the states as test center for new ideas and programs. In their checks and balance federalism was to prevent a person from taking control of the federal governments even though they may/could take control of the state level. The Civil War settled one part of the argument over national supremacy versus states’ rights. The war’s outcome made it clear that the national government was supreme, its sovereignty derived directly from the people, and the states could not lawfully separate from the union (Wilson, Dilulio and Bose, 2014). What is Federalism?

According to (Wilson, Dilulio and Bose, 2014) Federalism is a political system in which ultimate authority is shared between a central government and sate or regional governments. Federalism refers to a political system in which local territorial, regional, provincial, state, or municipal units of government, whose existence is specifically protected as well as a national government, make final decisions on some governmental activities. Each level of government has its own area of powers. No level acting alone can change the basic division of powers the constitution makes between them. Each level operates through its own agencies and acts directly on the people through its own officials and laws. Federalism allows local and state governments to make laws about certain things and the national government to make laws about other things. Let’s say that the national government has made a law saying that everyone has the right to vote at age 18 and it is no different in any state. Conversely, the states have the power to determine the speed limit in their state and the national government has no say on what the speed limit should be in any of the states (Wilson, Dilulio and Bose, 2014). How Federalism Has Evolved

At different points in time Federalism has evolved over the course of American history, the balance and boundaries between the national and state government have changed substantially. In the twentieth century, the role of the national government expanded dramatically, and it continues to expand in the twenty-first century. Under the New Federalism during the time frame of 1969 to present, political leaders and scholars of the New Federalism school have argued that the national government has grown too powerful and that power should be given back to the states. The national government remains extremely important, state governments have regained some power. Richard Nixon began supporting New Federalism during his presidency...

References: SparkNotes Editors. (2010). SparkNote on Federalism. Retrieved July 16, 2014, from What Factors Shape Political Attitudes? American Government Online Textbook. Sunday, August 4, 2014.
Wilson, J. Q., DiIulio, J. J., & Bose M. (2014). American government: Brief version. (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage. (Wilson, Dilulio and Bose, 2014)
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