Federalism is a government system where same territory is governed by two levels of government, normally involving a national and a local government. In this system, the national government controls issues that concern the whole country, while the local governments control issues limited to the lower regions such as states and counties among other forms (Berman & Murphy, 2005). In this case, both the national and the smaller subdivisions have power to legislate to some extent and have certain level of autonomy from each other. The United States is an example of this system in which there is a federal government concerned with the whole country and the government of the individual states. The functions of the two levels are clearly provided for in the U.S. Constitution, which grants the federal government power over matters of national concern such as the power to levy taxes, declare war, mint money, punish piracy on the high seas, and establish post offices as directed by the Congress (Klinger, 2001). This is in addition to regulating interstate commerce as provided by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, which also limits federal government from controlling commerce within a single state. Three Examples of how American Federalism has Evolved
Federalism has substantially evolved since its inception in America from the original dual federalism that existed between 1789-1933 to the current new federalism that began in 1980. The dual federalism promoted separation of powers between national and state governments to the extent that neither levels nor interferes in the affairs of one other with an overall state-centered structure (Klinger, 2001). After several court rulings, the two levels of government found a new working relationship where the two levels became more dependent on each other. An example of how federalism has evolved is that the national government presently engages in several activities that were exclusively meant for the state...
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