1. Why did the Framers of the Constitution opt for a federal system rather than a unitary one? The experience with British rule had soured the Founders on the idea of one government with centralized and ultimate power. The new Americans did not care if tyranny came from a central government in America rather than from across the Atlantic—they wanted to make the potential for tyranny as remote as possible. In a federal system, both the states and the central government are sovereign within the sphere of powers the Constitution grants them.
2. How has the evolution of the federal system affected the civil rights and liberties of American citizens? The Civil War ends in 1865 and the Thirteenth amendment is added to the Constitution abolishing slavery. Then the Civil Rights Act in 1866 was passed to nullify the Black Codes and the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868 which prohibited “any person” within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the law. These amendments set the stage for the civil rights movements to stand on.
3. How does the federal government get the states to adopt policies they might otherwise not adopt? They use grant-in-aid money that is federally funded money to get the state to decide to do what the federal government wants them to do. They did this with the drinking age of 21 and pool of highway money that the federal government controlled. The states that made minimum drinking age 21 got the grants the states that did not received no grants.
4. Do Americans generally believe that the federal government has too much power, not enough power, or about the right amount of power? Too much power wielded in the wrong way.
5. In today’s world, do the advantages of federalism outweigh the disadvantages?
The advantages of federalism still to this day outweigh the disadvantages. A unitary system is a set up for disaster in my opinion and would not work in this country. The...
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