Federalism is a term that covers the relationship between the states and the federal government, from constitutional issues to the most pressing issues happening in the year 2001. It covers laws and rights of the citizens that can be either taken care of by the state or federal government. This paper will be explaining how the U. S. government figured out that federalism was the best way to bring sense into The United States. After the Revolutionary War, the American states were independent from Great Britain. They needed to create a system of government to run this new nation.
The first system created was known as the Articles of Confederation and was adopted by the Congress on November 15, 1777. In its final form, the Articles of Confederation were comprised of a preamble and 13 articles. The Articles of Confederation were finally ratified by the last of the 13 American states, Maryland, in 1781 and became the ruling document in the new nation. The Articles created a nation that was “a league of friendship and perpetual union. ” The state governments retained most of the power under the Articles, with little power given to the central government.
Congress, for example, had to rely upon the states for its funds and for the execution of its decrees. The central government received little respect and was not able to accomplish much because it had little authority over states or individuals in America. This is why the Articles of Confederation did not work for the United States. On May 25th 1787, The Constitutional Convention opened at Independence Hall in Philadelphia with seven states being represented. Few days later, delegates from four other states arrived.
A government that will pay its debts and maintain a stable currency system would serve the personal financial interest of the delegates. A system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units is Federalism. Federalism is broken down into three different powers: Delegated powers where the federal government is in charge of, concurrent powers or shared powers between the state and the federal government, and reserved powers where the state government is in charge of.
The examples of delegated powers are regulate laws for immigration and naturalization, regulate interstate and foreign commence, set standard weights and measures, Create and maintain armed forces, make copyright and patent laws, establish postal system, establish foreign policy, create lower courts, print money, and of course declare war. The examples for concurrent powers are borrow money, provide for health, safety, and welfare, administer criminal justice, set minimum wage, charter banks, and levy taxes.
The examples of reserved powers are create corporation laws, regulate intrastate commerce, establish and maintain schools, establish and maintain local governments, determine eligibility requirements for elected state officials, determine and regulate laws of marriage, divorce, and professional licenses. The most important national-state interactions in the first century revolved around slavery and its consequences. From the start, slavery embodied a fundamental contradiction between economic and personal liberty: humans treated as property.
The issue repeatedly set South and North in opposition to one another: over how slaves should be counted; whether new territories could choose to permit slavery; and how they were to be treated when passing through non-slave states. The Civil War cast the national government as the protector of civil liberty against state incursions, with the fourteenth amendment through which national standards of personal rights were eventually given to the states. For the defeated South, however, these actions were seen as an absolute violation of personal and property rights by the national government.
Conservative courts support states’ unwillingness to act on civil rights. The most common example is from 1760 to 1780. This was a very important event that happened in history. Hamilton and his colleagues, the original Federalists, believed only a strong central government could provide the new nation with the economic, political and military cohesiveness it would need to maintain its independence. The antifederalists saw such a government as the greatest threat to that newfound liberty, and feared that by creating a strong central government they were replacing one tyranny with another.
The national government would be the best for issues of diversity, with debate taking place among the states. This example was related to the commerce clause, tax and spends, and general welfare for the 3 major documents for the United States. This was the Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The Constitution. The next example was in 1862. The Morrill Act of 1862 providing for land grants to states to support public institutions of higher education, was the first time the national government participated financially in a program of state welfare.
This was called the Morrill Act- Land. Another example of federalism was in the 1900s. This was called the Mann Act. In 1905, a case involving price fixing by meat packers which applied national laws to any part of an activity if it took place among the states. Congress involved the Pure Food and Drug act in 1906. This was a dramatic movement into an area of traditional public health that had generally been under police powers of the states. This was upheld until 1906. One other example was in 1922 when the courts rule that commerce disregards state lines.
By 1922, the Court ruled that commerce as a unit disregards state lines and national control of commerce is not an invasion of state authority. However, state laws affecting health tended to be upheld in face of this. Fourthly, our next example was in the 1920s. As the country moved from a primarily rural, agrarian society to an urban type one, large-scale social institutions developed to help some of the worst social locations caused by the changes. These were primarily private or local government, or party activity.
Even with the capacity to levy progressive income taxes, national efforts at social welfare programs were highly tentative at first. Nonetheless, by 1920 there were eleven grants-in-aid programs. The most impressive recent issue was enactment of the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA), which gives state and local elected officials the chance to seek a roll call vote on the floor of the House or Senate through their Senators or Representatives on any proposed unfunded mandate. However, both Congress and the Administration continue to preempt state and local authority to regulate their traditional government functions.
In conclusion, federalism is when the federal government and the state government have certain powers reserved to them and powers that are shared. Federalism limits the power of government by delegating specific powers to the different levels of government. Federalism creates various levels of government (national and state), but specifies limits on each levels’ powers. The national government would be granted the ability to make laws only over certain areas. The rest of the decisions would be left to the states.