Federalism Federalism is the sharing of power between a national government and various state or regional governments. • Most of the early colonists came from Great Britain, which at the time was a monarchy. Today, Great Britain has a parliamentarian style constitutional monarchy, but it is also a unitary state. • A unitary state is where the national government holds most of the power, and devolves a small amount to local or regional governments. • After the Revolutionary War, this country’s first experiment with democracy came in the form of a confederacy. • A confederacy is where states hold most of the power and devolve a limited amount to a central government
Why Federalism? There are a variety of reasons that the colonists preferred a federal form of government. • Protection from common enemies. • A sense of nationalism (nation-state - A nation is a political unit whose people share a sense of common identity • A strong sense of loyalty to their states
Why Federalism? continued The biggest benefit of federalism is that it mixes the best features of confederal and unitary systems. • Allows for the creation of a large republic that can offer common defense, economic prosperity, and political and social diversity. • At the same time it allows individual states to maintain much of their authority and local political and social customs.
Constitutional Framework of Federalism The Constitution spells out the powers that are granted to the states and those that are granted to the national government. • Enumerated powers are those expressly granted to Congress in the Constitution. • Raising armies • Declaring war • Rules for granting citizenship • Tax for the general welfare • Borrow money • Regulation of interstate and foreign commerce
Constitutional Framework of Federalism The framers knew it would not be able to enumerate all of the powers of Congress explicitly, so they added the “necessary and proper clause”. • The necessary and proper clause, aka the “elastic clause” is found in Article I, Section 8 and it gives Congress the power to pass all laws necessary and proper to the powers enumerated in Section 8.
Constitutional Framework of Federalism The Constitution did not originally list state powers. They were assumed to be all those not granted to Congress. However, the 10th Amendment to the Constitution was added to grant “reserve” powers to the states. • 10th Amendment says that any rights not granted to Congress nor specifically denied to the states in the Constitution are considered the right of the states and their people.
Constitutional Framework of Federalism Many of the powers in the Constitution are considered concurrent powers, meaning both the national and state governments have the power. • Taxing • Borrowing and spending money • Making and enforcing laws • Establishing court systems • Regulating elections • Health care • Education
Limits on Power In addition to granting powers, the Constitution also denies Congress and the States specific powers. • Congress cannot: • Suspend the right to a writ of habeas corpus (the right to see a judge once arrested) • Pass “bills of attainder” (laws that declare an individual guilty of a crime) • Pass ex post facto laws (laws that make something illegal after the fact) • Ban the importation of slavery until 1808
Limits on Power Continued • States cannot: • Pass bills of attainder • Create titles of nobility • Enter into a treaty or alliance with foreign government • Tax imports or exports (power is limited) • Deny any person “due process” or “equal protection” (Equal Protection Clause) • Deny any person the right to vote based on race or sex or age • Guarantee Clause • Provides a federal government guarantee that the states will have a republican form of government, as opposed to a direct democracy
Relations between National and State Governments • The Supremacy Clause • Makes federal laws supreme over state laws • 10th Amendment • Sovereign immunity • Doctrine holding that states cannot be sued without their permission • 11th Amendment • Congress can allow lawsuits against the states based on provisions in constitutional amendments passed after the Eleventh
Relations Among the States Commerce Clause • Established Congress’s exclusive authority to regulate commerce among the states. • Heart of Atlanta Motel v. Georgia • Katzenbach v. McClung Full Faith and Credit Clause • Requires states to accept court decisions and most contracts made in other states. Privileges and Immunities Clause • Requires that states treat people from other states equally to its own residents.
Focus Questions • How does federalism affect government’s responsiveness? To what and to whom are federal systems accountable? • What does it mean for citizen equality when different states are allowed to have different laws on certain subjects? • How does a federal system make it easier for citizens to have an influence in government? • What has been the relationship between federalism and the push for equality in the United States? • Does federalism prove a gate, or a gateway, to democracy? Explain.