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FEDERALISM. Chapter 4. Federalism. is a political system in which power is divided and shared between the national/central government and the states (regional units) in order to limit the power of government. The Powers of Government in the Federal System.

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Chapter 4


is a political system in which power is divided and shared between the national/central government and the states (regional units) in order to limit the power of government.

the powers of government in the federal system
The Powers of Government in the Federal System

The distribution of powers in the federal system consists of several parts:

  • exclusive powers
  • shared ( “concurrent”) powers
  • denied powers
  • enumerated powers
  • and implied powers.
relations among the states
Relations among the States
  • The Framers wanted a single country, not 13 squabbling semi-countries.
  • Article IV requires states to give "full faith and credit" to each others' laws.
    • Banking
    • Contracts
    • Marriage
article i section 8
Article I, section 8

The enumerated powers of the central government consist of the power to:

  • lay and collect taxes, duties, and imposts
  • provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States
  • regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the states, and with Indian tribes
  • coin money and regulate the value thereof
  • declare war
implied powers
Implied Powers
  • The central government may make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers.
state powers
State Powers
  • Most of State powers come from the Tenth Amendment that says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
local government
Local Government
  • Not covered by the US Constitution
  • Dillon’s Rule: “cities are creatures of the state legislature”
  • The “home rule” exception
denied powers
Denied Powers
  • Article I, section 9 lays out powers denied to the central government.
    • For example: give preference to ports of one state over another
  • Article I, section 10 lays out the powers denied to the states.
    • For example: enter into treaties, alliances, or confederations
types of federalism
Types of Federalism
  • “Constitutional” Federalism
  • “Operational” Federalism
  • “Fiscal” Federalism
  • “Judicial” Federalism
the evolution of federalism the role of the courts
The Evolution of Federalism: The Role of the Courts
  • Despite formal wording in the Constitution, the allocation of powers in our federal system has changed dramatically over the years.
  • The Supreme Court in its role as interpreter of constitution has been a major player in the redefinition of our Federal system.
key decisions
Key Decisions
  • Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • Fletcher v. Peck (1810)
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
fletcher v peck 1810
Fletcher v. Peck(1810)
  • For the first time, the U.S. Supreme Court declared a (Georgia) state law unconstitutional.
  • The decision was the first step in establishing the supremacy of the Constitution and federal laws over state governments and laws.
mcculloch v maryland 1819
McCulloch v. Maryland(1819)
  • McCulloch is considered the first major decision by the Supreme Court about the relationship between the states and the national government.
  • The Court upheld the power of the national government to establish a bank and denied the right of a state to tax the Bank of the United States.
gibbons v ogden 1824
Gibbons v. Ogden(1824)
  • The main constitutional question in Gibbons was about the scope of Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause.
  • In Gibbons, the Court upheld broad congressional power over interstate commerce.
dred scott v sanford 1857
Dred Scott v. Sanford(1857)
  • The Supreme Court articulated the idea of dual federalism in which separate but equally powerful levels of government is preferable.
  • The Taney Court said that the national government should not exceed its enumerated powers.
the civil war and beyond
The Civil War and Beyond
  • The Civil War minimized the impact of Dred Scott on limiting the growth of federal authority.
  • Dual federalism remained the Supreme Court's framework even after the adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.
  • Dual federalism finally ended in the 1930s, when the crisis of the Great Depression demanded powerful actions from the national government.

Reagan Revolution

Environmental and consumer regulation


Civil rights revolution and the Great Society

Devolution movement


Great Depression & New Deal


Income Tax

Industrial revolution and urbanization

The Civil War Amendments (13th-15th)

Dred Scott

The Civil War

Landmarks on the road of rising federal power and responsibilities

McCulloch v. MD

Constitution replaces Articles

federalism and the supreme court
Federalism and the Supreme Court
  • By the 1980s and 1990s, many Americans began to think that the national government was too big, too strong, and too distant to understand their concerns.
  • The Supreme Court, once again, played a role in this new evolution of federalism.
the changing nature of federalism
The Changing Nature of Federalism
  • Prior to the 1930s, a “layer cake”
  • After the New Deal, a “marble cake”
understanding federalism
Understanding Federalism
  • Federalism and the Scope of Government
    • Which level of government is best able to solve the problem?
    • Which level of government is best able to fund solutions to the problem?
understanding federalism25
Advantages for Democracy

Increasing access to government

Local problems can be solved locally

Hard for political parties / interest groups to dominate ALL politics

Disadvantages for Democracy

States have different levels of service

Local interest can counteract national interests

Too many levels of government- too much money

Understanding Federalism
additional advantages
Additional Advantages
  • “Laboratories of Democracy”.
  • Competition.
  • Efficiency
intergovernmental relations today
Intergovernmental Relations Today
  • “Cooperative” Federalism
    • Definition: A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government.
    • Shared costs
    • Shared administration
intergovernmental relations today28
Intergovernmental Relations Today

Fiscal Federalism

  • Definition: The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system.

Figure 3.2

fiscal federalism continued
Fiscal Federalism continued:

The Grant System:

Distributing the Federal Pie

  • Two Types of Grants:
    • Categorical Grants: Federal grants that can be used for specific purposes. (with “strings attached”)
    • Block Grants: Federal grants given more or less automatically to support broad programs. “Revenue Sharing”
fiscal federalism continued30
Fiscal Federalism continued…
  • The Scramble for Federal Dollars
    • $300 BILLION in grants every year
    • “Universalism” - a little something for everybody
fiscal federalism continued31
Fiscal Federalism continued…
  • The Mandate Blues
    • Mandates are the “strings” attached to federal money
    • Unfunded mandates are requirements on state & local governments- but with no money
examples of federalism
Examples of Federalism
  • Education
  • Public Safety
  • Welfare
  • Health Care
  • Hurricanes
  • Terrorism
  • NATIONAL Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • NATIONAL Weather Service
    • NATIONAL Hurricane Center
  • FEDERAL Emergency Management Agency
  • STATE Government of Florida/Louisiana
  • COUNTY Governments in FL/LA
  • LOCAL Governments in FL/LA
  • PRIVATE Companies and Individuals
911 terrorism
911 Terrorism
  • New York City
    • NYPD
    • NYFD
  • New York State
  • Port of NY
  • US Government
the russian response to terror
The Russian Response to Terror
  • Regional Governors to be elected by local legislatures not the people.
  • Regional governors would be nominated by the (National) President
  • Duma (lower federal house) would be elected from national slates. District elections (currently ½) would be eliminated.
summary continuity and change
Summary: Continuity and Change
  • Federalism as outlined at Philadelphia in 1787 has evolved considerably over time.
  • Initially, the states were quite powerful.
  • Over time the national government became progressively stronger.
  • Today, we have a Court that is more interested in reinvesting power in the 10th Amendment and in the states. The countervailing force is the “war on terrorism”.