Unit1B_Federalism - 1 Unit 1B: Federalism The Evolution of...

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1 Unit 1B: Federalism The Evolution of Federalism Case Studies: Interstate Commerce, Civil Rights, Gun Control, Euthanasia, Medical Marijuana, Social Issues. Abraham Lincoln "I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, And of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual." Expected Outcomes : To understand the constitutional distribution of power between federal and state governments, and to appreciate how this tension, built into the constitution, manifests itself across important case studies. 1B Overview Unit 1 examined the separation of powers into three branches (legislative, executive and judicial). It also examined the system of "checks and balances" that keeps any one branch from gaining too much power - from becoming tyrannical. This Unit, by contrast, examines the division of government between the "federal" government, also known as the national government, with its capital in Washington D.C., and the "state" governments, of which there are 50 today. While the Article of Confederation gave enormous powers to each of the original 13 states, the US Constitution was written in order to distribute power between the federal government and the states. This system is known as "federalism." 1.6. Federalism As mentioned above, "federalism" refers to the relative distribution of power between the national or federal government in Washington D.C. and each of the states – of which there are now 50. The US Constitution describes the powers that belong to the federal or national government. These "delegated powers" include the power to regulate inter-state commerce; the power make treaties with foreign nations; the power to raise armies and declare war; and so on.
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2 Simultaneously, the Constitution describes the powers that belong to the state governments. These "reserved powers" are reserved to the states. It is also possible to speak of "concurrent powers," which are shared between the federal and state governments. Finally, it is possible to describe "powers denied" to both federal and state governments, like the power to abridge individual rights by restricting the right to vote. In many ways, and by design, the Constitution contains a tension between national and state power. This tension, never fully resolved, has manifested itself in countless national-state controversies. The Constitution does provide the United States Congress with a great deal of authority in crafting the nation's laws, and this authority is seen, among other places, in the "necessary and proper clause" of Article I. Article I, Section 8, "Clause" 18: "The Congress shall have power …To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof. Furthermore, the Constitution gives the federal government in Washington D.C.
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This note was uploaded on 06/18/2011 for the course POLS 210 taught by Professor Prof.wood during the Spring '11 term at American Public University.

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Unit1B_Federalism - 1 Unit 1B: Federalism The Evolution of...

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