The topic of federalism in the united states

Explain how the Constitution distributes power between the national and state governments. Describe the various types of federalism. Explain the changes that have occurred in the federal system in the past years.

The topic of federalism in the united states

This Topic Page concerns Federalism. Federalism is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, but federalism is one of the many concepts that the Constitution embodies.

The topic of federalism in the united states

There are three major types of government in the place in the world today. The most prevalent is the unitary system. In a unitary system, power is held at the national level, with very little power being held in political subdivisions, such as provinces, counties, parishes, or towns.


The least common is the confederation. Confederations are unions of equal states, with some power being held at the national level. Generally, it has been found that conflicting interests lead to the break-down of confederations. The third major system is the federal system.

In a federal system, the national government holds significant power, but the smaller political subdivisions also hold significant power. Is any one of these better than the other? That is a matter of opinion. Suffice it to say that each has its positives and negatives, and as such, the choice for which to use in any particular nation depends on the nation, its people, its existing political subdivisions.

The United States was a series of colonies under the British unitary system; upon the execution of the Revolution, the United States became a confederation under the Articles of Confederation ; and when that system proved unsuccessful, it was transformed into a federal system by the Constitution.

Federal systems are chosen for a number of reasons. The size of the nation might be one concern; the diversity of the political subdivisions might be another.

The United States combines a bit of both: Nations like Switzerland have a population split by language, and despite its small size, found federalism to be a better choice than the others. China, being an extremely large and extremely diverse nation, finds the unitary system more suited to its political ideology.

However, communism does not require a unitary system: Federalism in the United States has evolved quite a bit since it was first implemented in In that time, two major kinds of federalism have dominated political theory.

The first, dual federalism, holds that the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. In this theory, parts of the Constitution are interpreted very narrowly, such as the 10th Amendmentthe Supremacy Clausethe Necessary and Proper Clauseand the Commerce Clause.

In this narrow interpretation, the federal government has jurisdiction only if the Constitution clearly grants such. In this case, there is a very large group of powers belonging to the states, and the federal government is limited to only those powers explicitly listed in the Constitution.

The second, cooperative federalism, asserts that the national government is supreme over the states, and the 10th Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause have entirely different meaning.

A good illustration of the wide interpretation of these parts of the Constitution is exemplified by the Necessary and Proper Clause's other common name: Dual federalism is not completely dead, but for the most part, the United States' branches of government operate under the presumption of a cooperative federalism.

The shift from dual to cooperative was a slow one, but it was steady. One of the earliest examples of a shift was in the Supreme Court's Gibbons v. Ogden decision, which ruled in that Congress's right to regulate commerce under the Commerce Clause could be "exercised to its utmost extent, and acknowledges no limitations, other than those prescribed in the constitutionFederalism is the sharing of power between national and state governments.

In America, the states existed first, and they struggled to create a national government. Federalism has always been apart of the United States, if we didn’t have divided power everyone would be in everyone’s personal property and personal life thinking they know everything.

It balances the different powers within the state and federal government. Dual federalism is not completely dead, but for the most part, the United States' branches of government operate under the presumption of a cooperative federalism. The shift from dual to cooperative was a slow one, but it was steady.

Sep 20,  · News about United States Politics and Government, including commentary and archival articles published in The New York Times. Federalism as practiced in the United States is what people around the world usually refer to when the word federalism is uttered or heard.

Federalism – News, Research and Analysis – The Conversation – page 1

It is based on one of the oldest written constitutions, the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in after much eloquent and contentious debate over its content. Feb 09,  · Federalism can be defined as the relationship between the individual state governments of America and the national or federal government of the United States; and works to balance the power of a large central government, and the power of the smaller regional governments.

federalism | Definition, History, Examples, & Facts |