Ch.3 Module - -1Ch.3 - Federalism and the U.S. Constitution...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
-1Ch.3 - Federalism and the U.S. Constitution A discussion of U.S. federalism leads to a search for metaphors that help explain the often-perplexing division of power between national and state and local governments. The initial conception of federalism as two or more governments exercising power and authority over the same people in the same territory gave rise to the Madisonian assumption that the national government would concern itself with “the great and aggregate interests,” whereas state governments would attend to “local and particular” matters. The adoption of a federal system of government was seen as a solution to the problem of diversity and heterogeneity and the attendant political maneuvering confronting the young nation. Selection of this type of political system also led to two contradictory interpretations or myths of what federalism was envisioned to be. The supremacy of states’ rights is the major focus of dual federalism. From this perspective, the U.S. Constitution is a compact between sovereign states. Dual federalism views states as powerful components of the federal system. The two levels of government operate on different tracks, and each is in control of its own activities. From the perspective of cooperative federalism, the U.S. Constitution represents an agreement made by the people who are citizens of both the state and the nation. This view of federalism envisions the states and the national government as intertwined, rather than as acting in separate spheres. The constitutional sections that ignite the federalism debate are Article I, Section 8, which enumerates the powers allotted to Congress and includes the necessary-and-proper (or elastic) clause, and the Tenth Amendment, which says that “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.” It is from the elastic clause that the concept of implied powers—those powers not spelled out but expected to be asserted by the national government to carry out its enumerated responsibilities—was derived. This clause has been defended as essential because the framers of the U.S. Constitution could not anticipate all the powers needed by a new nation and its government. States’ rights advocates interpreted the Tenth Amendment as placing firm limits on the scope of national government. An analysis of federalism that focuses primarily on formal constitutional authority would be misleading because the actual balance between national and state powers has always been largely a matter of practical politics. The national government has assumed a far greater role than early politicians would ever have imagined. This shift of power has come about through constitutional amendments, legislative mandates and incentives, and judicial interpretation. The growth of national government programs aimed both at state and local levels has led to charges of a
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 07/24/2010 for the course PS 001 taught by Professor Graham during the Summer '08 term at Los Angeles Southwest College.

Page1 / 5

Ch.3 Module - -1Ch.3 - Federalism and the U.S. Constitution...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online