Evolution Of Federalism

1679 Words 7 Pages
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