Main Ideas of Federalism in the US

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Federalism in the US constitutes the inherent separation of powers between American state governments and the federal government. For nearly a decade following the foundation of this nation, we operated under the Articles of Confederation. The framers of our Constitution eventually recognized that the states had too much power. They thought that a new structure with a stronger federal government would be the best plan; a balance of powers between the states and the national government, with the federal government more dominant.

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This is the method of federalism is what we still have today. The Constitution explicitly grants comprehensive powers to the national government but not to the states. Rather, it emphasizes what the states are not allowed to do. The component of the Bill of Rights, including the Tenth Amendment, helped alleviate some of the imbalance. The Tenth Amendment gave states all powers not assigned to the federal authorities or refused to the states. Simply put, under federalism, the states govern whatever is left over.

It was the framers’ political solution for the issue with the Articles of Confederation- which didn’t provide a whole lot of practical power to the federal government. The Articles allowed the Continental Congress to have the ability to sign treaties and declare war, but it would not increase taxes to pay for an army since these bigger decisions required a unanimous vote.

James Madison outlines in The Federalist, No. 10, If  “factious leaders kindle a flame within their particular states,” national leaders can check the spread of the “conflagration through the other states.”

 The national legislature gets its powers from Article One of the Constitution. This assembly is composed of two chambers”the House and the Senate. The House of Representatives has 435 members, each represents a congressional district and is elected to for a two year period. Congressmen are apportioned throughout the US by population; States with a larger population have more representatives than less populous ones. There are seven states with just one representative. The Senate has 100 members, two members from each state. Senators serve six-year terms. This difference has mostly disappeared since every state nowadays holds primary elections for its Senators, as well as its Representatives.

Non-government entities, such as interest groups, help the government with important information, data/statistics, political assistance, and funding. These agencies are able to obtain positive comments and testimonials in regards to their services. One instance could be the American Association for Retired People (AARP) and the Social Security Administration that work jointly with the government and these agencies to create some very beneficial policies for the American citizens.

Limitation on congressional power acts as a way to protect civil liberty and the power of state governments. If the federal government’s authority to enforce mandates is defined, individual freedom is defended and allows state governments to have the greater extent to determine their own health care policies. Limitations of law enforcement bodies have usually been made by local and state governments, and their goals are inherently at odds with the federally derived reality of civil liberties spelled out in the Bill of Rights. Most of these protections in the Bill of Rights did not yet refer to local/state officials until the 1950s. The power of the police force has become broader than law enforcement itself. This includes permission to restrict ethical morals (with laws on drinking, gambling, and sex), build roads and schools, control assets and work, and endow local governments with power.

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Main Ideas Of Federalism in the US. (2019, Jan 05). Retrieved from