Transcript Slide 1

Federalism: States in the Union
The principal characteristic of a federal system
is the sharing of power.
 Federalism is a complex, adaptable system of
relationships in which states have begun to
assume a more energetic and vigorous role in
domestic policy.
 States play a crucial role by controlling things
like drivers' tests, marriage licenses, tax returns,
and public schooling.
Confederate, Unitary, and Federal
Forms of Government
Introduction and Definitions
 Confederation:
a loose collection of states in which
principal power lies at the level of the individual
state rather than at the level of the central or
national government
 Confederations
are founded on the political idea of
diversity and local control, allowing states to pursue
diverse approaches to policy.
 Historically, the United States under the Articles of
Confederation was an example of a confederation.
Confederate, Unitary, and Federal
Forms of Government (continued)
 Unitary
system of government: one in which
principal power within the political system lies at
the level of a national or central government
rather than at the level of a smaller unit
 Unitary
structures rest on the value of unity and
assume that there is a national interest in meeting
needs and problems in a particular way.
 The government of France and each of the 50
American state governments are unitary systems.
The Idea of Federalism
Federalism is a system of government in which
national and state governments share power
within the same political system.
 Both national and state governments have
jurisdiction over individuals in a federal system.
 The federal system is a compromise between a
strong central government and a league of
separate states.
Unitary, Federal, and Confederate
A Comparative Perspective on
Several diverse countries around the world have
federal constitutional systems.
Common to all federal systems is the attempt to pull
together disparate groups (based on culture,
language, geography, or religion) while
acknowledging their separate identities.
The relative power of the central government and
constituent groups varies among federal systems.
Some of the world’s great political conflicts stem from
the struggle to define the balance between national
purposes and group needs in a federal system. Frenchspeaking Quebec in Canada and the former Soviet
republics are two examples.
States in the Constitutional System
The 50 American states play an integral part
in the American political system.
 For example, states can do the following:
 Administer
social welfare policies
 Help amend the Constitution
 Shape electoral contestants
Shifts in Regional Power, 1950 and 2010, as Measured by
the Size of State Delegations in the U.S. House of
Shifts and changes in
population between 1950
and 2010 meant that over
the past sixty years parts
of the East and Midwest
lost seats in the House of
Representatives, while the
West and South gained
seats. The apportionment of
the 435 House seats is
calculated for each state
ten years following the
census every. A state may
increase its population but
lose a seat if the rate of
gain in other states is much
Express and Implied Powers
Express and implied powers are both forms of delegated
Express powers are specifically enumerated as belonging
to Congress. Examples include the power to regulate
interstate commerce, coin money, and declare war.
Implied powers permit Congress to make laws that are
“necessary and proper” to execute express powers.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) first interpreted the
“necessary and proper” clause in a way that allowed
expansive power to the national government.
McCulloch also implied the principle of national
Reserved Powers: What Do the
States Do?
According to the Tenth Amendment powers not
delegated exclusively to the United States national
government, and not directly prohibited to the states,
are reserved by the states.
The following “police” responsibilities for the health,
safety, and welfare of citizens are among the powers
reserved for the states:
Prevention and prosecution of criminal activities
 Regulation of a variety of matters having to do with
public safety, business, and commerce
 Responsibility for providing for the universal education of
its citizens
Local Government: A Political
Landscape of Contrasts
One of the reserved powers of the states is control over the
structure and powers of local governments.
Traditionally, state legislatures have kept local governments on a
tight rein.
In the late nineteenth century many local governments were
granted home rule, which is the power to determine (within limits)
their powers and functions.
The structure of local governments may take the form of
mayor-council, council-manager, or commissions.
Although local governments are primarily concerned with the
unglamorous services essential to civilized life, occasionally
their decisions cause a local crisis or controversy, invoking
intense citizen interest.
Governmental Units in the Federal
The federal system contains many
governments, but they do not all do the
same things. The national government, all
state governments, and many local
governments are general-purpose
governments; that is, they perform a wide
variety of functions. A city government, for
example, will typically provide police
protection and numerous social services.
School districts and special districts
geographically overlap with generalpurpose governments and perform only a
single function, such as education, water
distribution, fire protection, or sewage
treatment. The largest growth in number of
governmental units in recent years has
occurred in special districts due to the fact
that they enable local areas to provide,
collectively, services that they could not
afford individually. Moreover, the particular
tasks of special districts often stretch
beyond the boundaries of local generalpurpose governments. Finally, some local
governments, such as towns or townships,
have not been given power by their state
constitutions and governments to perform
such functions.
Government Relationships in the
Federal System
Models of Federalism
 Dual
Federalism: posits the view that national and
state governments are separate and independent
form each other, with each level exercising its own
powers in its own jurisdiction
 Marble Cake Federalism: posits the view that
across a wide range of public policies, despite
occasional conflict, all levels of government are
intertwined and work closely with one another
Relationships Between Levels of
Legal Relationships
 The
Supreme Court has played a major role in settling
conflicts between different levels of government.
 The Court has generally supported national government
and national constitutional values in resolving conflicts
with the states, particularly in the following areas:
 Regulation
of interstate commerce
 Interpretation of the due process clause of the Fourteenth
 Interpretation of the equal protection clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment
National Aid to State and Local Governments Since
1960, in Current and Constant Dollars, in Billions
National aid to
state and local
governments rose
sharply after
1960 to a high
point, in 1980, of
$227.1 billion in
constant 2005
dollars and then
fell in constant
dollars through
the 1980s. In the
early 1990s, aid
began to rise
again, in both
current and
constant dollars.
In 2011 the
amount in constant
dollars is
estimated at
twelve times the
amount of aid in
Relationships Between Levels of
Government (continued)
Fiscal Relationships
 Categorical
grant-in-aid: a transfer of cash from
the national government to a state or local
governments for some specific purpose
 Block grant: a transfer of cash from the national
government to a state or local government for use
in a broad policy area, allowing greater discretion
on the part of the state or local government
Relationships Between Levels of
Government (continued)
Political Relationships
The federal system can be seen as an arena for political
relationships among officials at all levels of government
who lobby and cajole one another and who bargain and
negotiate with one another.
 Many of the political relationships in the federal system
derive from differences among states and localities as
they compete with each other to press their individual
interests. Areas of contention include the following:
The long history of slavery and discrimination in the South
 Environmental policy
 Defense contracts
Federalism Today
Federalism in the twenty-first century
 The
national government has become more
dominant over the past two centuries.
 The states have recently become public policy
innovators, particularly in the areas of education,
welfare, and the environment.
 Although the states are doing more, the national
government has cut funds and increased the number
of regulations applying to state and local