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Federalism: United States Constitution and Government

By kimberlybel Jul 18, 2014 912 Words

What is federalism you might ask? The concept of federalism was created when the Framers began to develop the Constitution of the United States. This form of government was derived as a compromise of power between the states and the federal government. The goal of federalism is to preserve personal liberty by separating the powers of the government so that one government or group may not dominate all powers. Federalism divides the powers of government between national and state government. Also, federalism is a system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and state governments, creating what is called a federation. The national government will govern issues that affect the entire county where as the smaller subdivisions will govern the issues of the local community. Both of these systems of government have the power to make laws and have a certain amount of freedom from one another. The U.S does have a federal system of govern that contains these two national governments and the government of individual states.

A federal government is the common government of a federation. The national Constitution is "the supreme law of the land." In the U.S. constitution it states that the federal government has the issues over national concern. Even though the federal government has the power to give laws governing the whole country, the powers are limited by only having the specific powers in which the constitution will allow. Any action by the federal government must fall within one of the powers allowed in the Constitution. Under the Constitution, powers reserved to the national government include print money, declare war, establish an army and navy, enter into treaties with foreign governments, regulate commerce between states and international trade, establish post offices and issue postage and make laws necessary to enforce the Constitution. For example, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution grants Congress the power to levy taxes, declare war, establish post offices, and punish piracies on the high seas.

State governments manage matters of local concern, such as child protective services, public schools, and road maintenance and repair. Under the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, States have all powers that are not specifically granted to the federal government, or forbidden to them under the Constitution. For example, although the Constitution grants the federal government the power to tax, state governments are also able to levy taxes to support themselves, because that power is not forbidden to them by the Constitution. The exclusive Powers of State Governments are to establish local governments, issue licenses (driver, hunting, marriage, etc.), regulate intrastate (within the state) commerce, conduct elections, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, provide for public health and safety, exercise powers neither delegated to the national government or prohibited from the states by the U.S. constitution. For example, the state governs setting legal drinking and smoking ages.

Federalism government is unique form of government because instead of the national government receiving its powers from the states, or the states receiving powers from the national government, both governments derive their powers directly from the people, or constituents. It is a system of government for the people, by the people. Powers Shared by National and State Government, setting up courts, creating and collecting taxes, building highways, borrowing money, making and enforcing laws, chartering banks and corporations, spending money for the betterment of the general welfare and taking (condemning) private property with just compensation.

How federalism was found you may ask? The founders of federalism attempted to balance order with liberty. There were several reasons why the federalist government was created. One reason was to avoid tyranny. Tyranny is a nation under cruel and oppressive government. Second reason was to allow more participation in politics. Last but not least the third reason was to use the states as "laboratories" for new ideas and programs. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and George Washington were the advocates of the federal system. The founders were reacting to the British government and the Articles of confederation. The British government is one in which power is concentrated in a central government. Even though local governments exist they only have the powers granted to them by parliament. National government is the supreme government and grants powers to and from local governments with in its quick change of mind. Articles of confederation is different due to a opposite form of government, this government is weak in central government but strong in state government. That means the state government is the supreme government. When making federalist government it was meant to eliminate the disadvantages of both systems. The powers are shared between national and state governments.

Federalism was great for this country for the fact that we the people have a say so in what is going on with are government. Also, there is not just one supreme government controlling all of the citizens in the United States. We have power to help vote who will be in are government and who will not be. Federalism allows us as a nation to focus on the big situations for example war with the national government so the states governments can handle the day to day life situations. If America did not have the federalist government then we would be more like china. Federalism keeps the American people happy for the most part. Everyone wants a say so in their life and Federalism gives the American people that.

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