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Federalism In The American System Essay

  • Submitted by: lilcrazitulip05
  • on February 24, 2011
  • Category: History
  • Length: 1,050 words

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Below is an essay on "Federalism In The American System" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Federalism in the American System

“Federalism can be defined with misleading ease and simplicity as the division of powers and functions between the national government and the state governments.” (American Government pg. 78) By creating   two levels of government , federalism limits national and state power – the national government and the state governments, each with a large measure of sovereignty and thus the ability to restrain the power of the other. For nearly thirteen years, the states that existed as former colonies before independence, were virtually autonomous units under the Articles of Confederation. The states had retained too much power under the Articles, in effect, a problem that led directly to the Annapolis Convention in 1786 and to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. “Under the Articles, disorder within the states were not manageable. Some states adopted trade tariffs and further barriers to foreign commerce that were contrary to the interests of other states. Tax and other barriers were also being erected between the states. But even after the ratification of the Constitution, the states continued to be more important than the national government. For nearly a century and a half, virtually all of the fundamental policies governing the lives of Americans were made by the state legislatures, not by congress.” (American Government pg. 78-79)
“The relationship and authority of states and the federal government are governed by the U.S. Constitution. The federal government is delegated certain enumerated powers while all other powers not otherwise prohibited by the Constitution are reserved to the states. Through this dichotomy, America has thrived--a nation of laws with a strong national and international identity anchored by the diversity and innovation of representative self government in the states. No matter the challenges to our nation, it is vital that the duality of our federal system remain intact and that elected officials strive to...

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