Understanding of Federalism
Federalism is a well thought out system in which government is divided into national (or federal) government and various different state governments. In other words, in the United States, the constitution gives certain powers to the federal governments, certain powers to the state governments and certain powers to both. One system that is unlike that of federalism is the unitary system. The Unitary System is often described as one-sided since the central governments holds almost all the power and responsibility. And on the other side of the spectrum, you have the Confederal System. Which is defined in American Government and Politics Today textbook as a system in which “a league of independent states in which a central government or administration handles only those matters of common concern expressed expressly delegated to it by the member of the states.” The central government does not have the ability to make laws directly applicable to member states unless the members explicitly support such laws. The federal system happens to lie just in the middle of a unitary and confederal form of government which is why I say that federalism is a well thought out system in my opinion. Too much power on one side or the other could not work out for the United States as a whole. But of course, not everyone agreed to the United States federal system as the best source of government.
Somewhere along the way vertical and horizontal checks and balances came along, and the goal for this structure being used is to prevent the national government from becoming too powerful. Therefore, it was decided that it would be best to divide the government into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial branches. As stated in the American Government and Politics Today textbook “separation of powers functions as a horizontal control when branches of government on the same level (state or national) check one another against the expansion of power. Federalism is also important checks and balances, and it is known as a vertical control because the checks and balances involve power-sharing relationships between the states and the national government.”
The full faith and credit clause was an addition to the United States Constitution in order to protect the rights of citizens as they move from one state to another. This clause ensures that rights established by deeds, wills, contracts, and matters will still be honored by any other state in the U.S. This clause is extremely important to all Americans since most of us move at least once in our lives for personal reasons and choices.
Georgia’s political history began in 1732 when a man named Oglethorpe led approximately 120 settlers, entrepreneurs, and adventurers on a trip to establish the 13th British colony in the New World. Although Oglethorpe and many of his fellow colonists did not approve of slavery, with the amount of farmland it was unintelligible not to let slaves help. Georgia signed the Declaration of Independence and established its first of ten state constitutions in 1777. The Dynamics of Georgia Politics states that Georgia’s political framework has always been defined by fluctuations in the state’s economy and the evolution of its relations between races. The invention and start of the cotton gin in 1793 established the beginning of the plantation society within the young state. After the Missouri compromise in 1820, the slavery problem literally divided the nation in half: new states north of the 36th parallel would be “free” states, and those to the south would be “slave” states. Slavery was a big issue in Georgia at the time. The election of Abraham Lincoln was a threat to the plantation owners since he was trying to abolish slavery once and for all.
In reaction of the election of Abraham Lincoln Georgia joined the Confederate States of America (CSA) and formalized its independence from the United States. After years of Georgia and the United states going to war for Georgia’s continued independence, Georgia was finally defeated in 1865, and Georgia became part of the United States once again. The leaders of the Confederate States of America (CSA) were then removed and Georgia was finally forced to abolish slavery. In order for Georgia to be readmitted into the union, they were also forced to ratify the 13th and 14th amendment which was the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Although slavery was abolished racial segregation was still being used in Georgia. The 1964 Civil Rights Act forced Georgia to suspend the segregation laws once and for all. After World War two Georgia moved from an agricultural state to that of technology and services which brought more economic growth.
One of the ways federalism has shaped Georgia in the last 225 years by abolishing slavery in all of the United States. Although slavery may have seemed necessary at the time with large farmland, in my opinion, it actually wasn’t. Ending slavery in Georgia is the best thing the Federal government has done for the wonderful peach state because it has improved the lives of millions of people. Racial profiling has gotten better in Georgia as a whole I believe in the future it could go one of two ways. Racial profiling and discrimination could get better as a whole or it could go downhill to worst case scenario to the point where people start beating up or killing people of a certain race (which is already happening all around us with law enforcement and colored people). People often don’t realize how fortunate they are that slavery was abolished, mostly because it has not affected them personally like it affected the millions of people that lived during the slavery time period.
The Georgia Legislative branch is known for making policy decisions and having a form of direct democracy available for their citizens while Congress is mainly known for making laws (Njorge, Schmeisser, p. 77). Article one of the constitution basically states that congress is in charge of making or passing laws for the United States and that congress is divided into a bicameral legislature which means that the congress is made up of the house of representatives and senate and they work together to pass laws. Article one of the constitution of Georgia, states that Georgia shall be independent and that Georgia is its own state. It also states that Georgia is to have a democratic republic type of government. Lastly, it states that “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property except by due process of law.” To compare Article one of the constitution states what the job of congress is while Article one of the Georgia constitution states that rights that a person has and what type of government Georgia has. I expected for the matching articles to have more in common than what I found.
The Executive Branch of the United States government has the job of carrying out laws that the legislative branch makes. The president and the vice president make sure that the laws are carried out accordingly. Similarly, the Georgia Executive Branch in Georgia makes sure that laws are being carried out in the state of Georgia. These executive branches have a correlation in the elected officials that they vote for. In the Executive branch in the United states it is the president and vice president and, in the Georgia, Executive branch it is the governor and lieutenant governor. And just like the President. the governor has the power to veto a bill.
There has always been a debate in whether it is better to be a tenth amendment rights advocate or a fourteenth amendment rights advocate. The tenth amendment of the bill of rights basically states that anything that is not given to the federal government and is not banned from the constitution is a power of the states. Therefore, the states can decide what happens and the states can also decide what laws can be put into place in their state as long as it does not go against the constitution. On the other hand, the fourteenth amendment states that “Under this provision, states cannot make or enforce laws that take away rights given to all citizens by the federal government. States cannot act unfairly or arbitrarily toward, or discriminate against, any person.” In other words, the fourteenth amendment basically states that states cannot make or enforce laws that do not honor the basic rights of citizens. I strongly believe that the tenth amendment should be more empowered to make decisions for Georgia citizens. Why might you ask? Because I believe that a one size fits all approach to the government is not the best choice. I believe that each state should have their own laws instead of all of the United States having the same laws and restrictions. Every state is different in many ways just like us humans are and each state should be treated accordingly.
- Ford, Lynn. Bardes, Barbara. Schmidt, Steffen. Shelley, Mack. American Government and Politics Today. Boston MA: Cengage Learning, 2016. 2017-2018 Edition. Print.
- Njorge, Joseph. Schmeisser, Hans. The Dynamics of Georgia Politics. Mason OH: Cengage Learning, 2013. 3rd Edition. Print.