Evolution Of Federalism

Superior Essays
Federal systems of government are generally characterized by government powers being divided or shared between a national government and smaller administrative units such as states, cantons, and provinces among others. These systems’ primary aim is to combine the unitary system’s myriad advantages with those of the confederate system. The U.S. has a federal system of government, which is secured in the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution defines the relationship between the two principal federal units- the federal government and the state governments. As Gerston notes, the U.S. adopted federalism to solve the political problems that the Articles of Confederation presented. For instance, the Articles empowered the Continental Congress to declare …show more content…
still uses federalism since its instatement, the practical application of federalism has changed over time. This change has been characterized by important events shaping the balance between the federal government and the state governments, with federalism being transformed in order to best suit the prevailing conditions and the country’s needs. A close examination of federalism in the U.S. reveals three main stages through which federalism has evolved. The first stage of evolution is defined by a form of federalism that can be referred to as dual federalism. Also known as divided sovereignty; the kind of dual federalism that the U.S. witnessed until 1930 saw the two levels of government exercise their power without interference from one another. This means that, during the dual federalism phase, each level of government remained supreme within its own range. As Schmidt et al. note, the immediate period following the conclusion of the American Civil War saw dual federalism emerge- a doctrine that stressed a distinction between the two domains of government authority (Schmidt, Shelley, Bardes …show more content…
The U.S. practiced dual federalism before and after the civil war whereby each level of government remained supreme within its own domain. In the 1930s, cooperative federalism replaced dual federalism. With it, the national government worked in cooperation with state governments by sharing functions and power. However; recent decades have seen new federalism emerge, which has enabled the states to regain some power and authority while at the same time recognizing and accepting that the federal government wields the highest governmental power. Expanded federal government’s power has consistently acted as a major agent of social

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    The Constitution set up the basic outline of the federal system. The federal system divided the powers between the national government and the state governments. Also, it bound the individual states together under one national government. There were two very important court cases in early federalism. One was McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819.…

    • 1364 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    History Of Dual Federalism

    • 1288 Words
    • 5 Pages

    How did the Great Depression lead to the decline in dual federalism? The United States was the first nation to apply a federalist system of government. This system, in which two layers of government, state and national government, work together, was created so the states could maintain their autonomy while being part of the larger unity. Throughout its history, the United States has changed their perception of how federalism should be implemented; essentially meaning: how much power should the federal government hold. Therefore, various waves of federalism have appeared in the country.…

    • 1288 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Known as “marble cake federalism,” Cooperative Federalism emphasized intertwined powers between both national and state governments to effectively solve issues and relations. The Interstate Commerce Clause, an enumerated power specified in Article I of the US Constitution which delegated the power to “regulate commerce among foreign nations, several states and with the Indian tribes” to the national government changed the balance of power that was established during the Dual Federalism era. This is reflected in the 1886 Wabash Case in which the court overturned Munn v. Illinois and struck down state control over interstate commerce. The idea of Cooperative Federalism became more prominent during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal Program, in which both governments tackled the problems of the Great Depression in a unified manner. Following Marshall’s ruling in McCulloch v. Maryland, the national government exercised National Supremacy during this era through Categorical Grants.…

    • 1053 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    FEDERALISM AND THE CONTENT OF RIGHTS Though the character of government as produced by federalism is undoubtedly impactful, federalism influences the lives of Americans in, debatably, more formidable ways. The content of American rights varies as the Constitution is amended and as the Supreme Court’s Constitutional interpretation evolves. The former of these two influences is a fixed process, so this essay will examine how federalism correlates with, and possibly causes, adjustments in the latter. Ultimately, major changes in Constitutional interpretation align strikingly with major changes in federalism. The Supreme Court played as much a role in preserving dual federalism as did Congress, the President, and the states.…

    • 1015 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Federalism as we know it today, is a complex and dynamic method of government that divides power between a national government and smaller governmental units. In the United States, the smaller governmental units represent the state/local governments. The United States first started out as a confederation of thirteen states and eventually established a successful federal system. The Founders of this country identified several reasons for creating a federalist government: To evade tyrannical rule and to allow more participation in politics. The key to success of a federal government system is supported through the idea of democracy.…

    • 1426 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    In order to do this, Alexander Hamilton along with the other authors of the Federalist Papers, required a strong central government. A new union would need to find the right balance between the powers of the central government, and the state governments. In Federalist 39, James Madison states “each state, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered asa sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a federal, and not a national constitution.” A central government needed to perform certain functions. It needed to be able to be an actor for other countries.…

    • 1295 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    As a matter of fact, the Congress was granted enumerated powers such as regulating foreign commerce, conducting foreign affairs, coining money, establishing courts inferior to the Supreme Court, declaring war, supporting the military, admitting new states to the Union, and more powers found under Article I of the Constitution. On the other hand, the state governments retained reserved powers such as conducting elections, ratifying amendments, regulating safety, health and moral, regulating state militia, and regulating intrastate commerce. In addition to the enumerated and reserved powers, the Federal Government and state governments shared together what were known as concurrent powers. However, federalism has been interpreted in different ways throughout the years. This shifting in the conception of federalism was to be expected.…

    • 987 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Cooperative Federalism

    • 1302 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In order to understand where public policy comes from, we must first understand how the government is set up. When Congress was first set up, it had limited powers: wage war, make peace, enter into treaties and alliances, appoint and receive ambassadors, regulate Indian affairs and create a postal system (Bowman & Kearney, 2014, p. 29) . This, however, set up the opportunities for states to disagree. Shortly after, the states got together to create a first of its kind system of government in an attempt to keep each other accountable and named it Federalism. It created a dual federalism system of government where there were very distinct and separate responsibilities between the national and state governments (Bowman & Kearney, 2014, p. 39).…

    • 1302 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Phases Of Federalism

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages

    It is a system whereby power is shared, and functions are separated. The judiciary is one of the arms that enhance the separation of powers. In the constitution of the United States of America, there is the ‘full faith and credit clause,’ that imposes a responsibility on the states to honor the judicial decisions between the different states. The Supreme Court acts as a referee between the state and federal governments through judicial review. The disputes between the federal government and congress are also handled by the Supreme Court through the interpretation of the constitution and other legal instruments.…

    • 1216 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Dual Federalism Essay

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages

    And not to be forgotten, the federal government cannot exceed those powers. Nullification helped to evolve the nature of this era of federalism. Dual federalism came to an end in the 1930s. Ultimately, the national government appears to have more power over the country. As for the states, they have more power pertaining to their state.…

    • 788 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays