The Importance Of Federalism In The United States

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. Both levels of government have the power to create laws, however, they must abide by the rules of the Constitution. …show more content…
One of the first major events to spark the increasing power in federal government was the American Civil War. Some of the major problems that led to the Civil War dealt with the concept of federalism. Southerners felt that states should be allowed to make their own decisions, such as debating if slavery should be legal. To protect their rights, some states decided to secede from the Union. Lincoln and Congress did not approve of this and would do anything in their power to preserve the Union. During the war, Congress passed a conscription act that produced a wartime draft for U.S. citizens. The act called upon men of various ages, including aliens who were on their way to becoming citizens (History.com Staff, Congress Passes Civil War Conscription Act, 2010). Citizens were expected to abide to these laws and were punished if they didn’t. The government in Washington D.C. expanded its powers under the covers of national emergency. For instance, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. During the Civil War, Lincoln had jailed journalists, political leaders, newspaper editors, and basically anyone who Lincoln felt tried to hinder his goal of reuniting the country. The people who were put into jail never went through due process, which is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights. In the end, the Union victory paved the way for a stronger national government …show more content…
For instance, after the 9/11 attacks, the national government has increased its regulation over its citizens. An example of this would be the Patriot Act. This Act gave powers to the US Department of Justice and other federal agencies on spy on anybody who they suspected of terrorist activities. As NBC reports “Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause…” (2007). This is yet another piece of evidence that proves the growing power of the federal government. People who have recognized the immense power of the federal government have argued to give back some powers back to the states. Ever since the 1970’s people have advocated for and adopted a new form of federalism called New Federalism. It is basically “a system which directed money and power away from the federal bureaucracy and toward states and municipalities” (pbs.org, American Experience). All most every president has carried out this new form of federalism since Reagan. It has successfully returned back some of the power through

Related Documents