The Pros And Cons Of Dual Federalism

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Federalism The founders of the United States wanted to avoid two systems while creating the Constitution: a unitary system and a confederation. The British had a unitary system, which acts as a single unit with all or most of the power concentrated in the central government. “Americans rebelled against Britain’s unitary government and were certainty not going to reintroduce the same system all over again” (Morone and Kersh 88). Also, the Articles of Confederation created a system called a confederation, which was made of states that gave some of their powers to the national government. Americans found out this system created too weak of a central authority. The question was how to create a system that avoided giving too much power to government …show more content…
Dual federalism, also known as layer cake federalism, is a system that has “clear division of governing authority between national and state governments” (Morone and Kersh 96). In other words, the state governments had their own individual powers and federal government could not intervene and vice versa. The national government was in control of international relations, internal improvements, and regulation of relations and commerce between the states, while the states were “in control over almost everything having to do with individual citizens” (Morone and Kersh 97). Although there were some exceptions to the clear-cut “layered cake”, majority of the time the governments did not intervene with one another’s powers. This form of federalism collapsed during President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal because it created new policies after the Great Depression that strengthened the national government’s role (Morone and Kersh …show more content…
New federalism, or also can be imagined as a multi-flavored marble cake, is “a version of cooperative federalism, but with stronger emphasis on state and local government activity, versus national government” (Morone and Kersh 99). One big debate over new federalism is over the desire to make government’s size and scope smaller. This brings us to the topic of devolution. Devolution is “the transfer of authority from national to state or local government level” (Morone and Kersh 100). Could reducing the government’s size and scope cause a less active government response during serious problems? This is questioned to this day. Also, during this new type of federalism, grants-in aid were replaced with block grants, which is also national funding provided to state and local governments but did not come with set instructions. Instead, block grants had few restrictions or requirements on spending. However, one problem occurred with block grants, they were an unfunded mandate. An unfunded mandate is “an obligation imposed on state or local government officials by federal legislation, without sufficient federal funding support to cover the costs” (Morone and Kersh 101). In other words, it is a law or regulation required by federal government but federal government will not provide the profits for states to carry out their requirement. The states are left to use their own funding’s no matter what shape their budget is in.

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