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GOV 141 Class 5

Federalism: State
Governments & National
 Federalism is a system of government
where sovereignty is constitutionally divided
between a central governing authority and
constituent political units (like states or
provinces), creating a federation.
Proponents often called federalists.
[Historically in the USA] "federalist" used to
describe those who favor a stronger federal
government … with those who generally
favor a confederation, or weaker federal
government and stronger state
governments, being called "anti-
federalists". (Source: Wikipedia)
U.S. Governments
 Federal government
 State Government- KY
 County Government- Montgomery,
 City Government- Jeffersonville, Mt.
Sterling, Stanton, Clay City
 Special Tax Districts
 School Districts
State Governments
 Creation of federal government
 Not simply stand alone units
Local Governments
 Created by state governments
 Again, power vested by state’s… not
independent governments
Independent Action
 Powers are ceded by federal and
state governments
 Once powers are ceded, there is
some independence of action until
and unless power is removed
 George W. Bush is the President of the
United States. Since the United States
allowed the creation of the state of
Kentucky and since the U.S. constitution
says the federal government is the
supreme government in the land, an
advisor tells him he has power to order
the governor of Kentucky to call a
legislative session to discuss passing a law
creating a smoking ban in all state
restaurants. Is the advisor right?
 No. The federal government may or
may not have the power to pass
such a law (it would be doubtful).
Regardless, the Governor can’t be
ordered to call a legislative session
by the President. The President and
Congress could theoretically reorder
our American constitution to allow
this, but this would be the only
conceivable way.
 States get together for common
purposes and perhaps enable a
central government to exercise some
independent power, but they have
ultimate veto.
Unitary System
 Central government has all the
power and can tell its constituent
units what policies to follow
Roots of Federalism
 Netherlands, 1579, Treaty of Utrecht
 America has long been its greatest
and most active proponent
• Out of Revolutionary war: 13 Separate
• Federalism: Compromise between
confederates and unitarians
• Federalism a way of dividing power
Size and National Diversity
 Most unitary states are small.
 Federalism allows strong
governments across many miles
National Diversity
 Differing parts of America have
different needs, economies, ethnic
 Size is a factor here as well
• A larger country is more likely to be
nationally diverse
Federalism in the U.S. Constitution
 Power is expressly given to both the
states and the federal government
 States have important, thought
somewhat diminished, role in
choosing Senators and Congressmen
Constitution: Power to
States and Federal
Supremacy Clause gives supreme
power to the U.S. government.
However, the 10th amendmt.
reserves powers for the state not
disposed of in the constitution.
States Powers to Shape Federal
 Senators and Reps elected from
constituent states w/ these states’ rules
and processes
 Role for states in the electoral college
 Role for states in the amending of the U.S.
 States can’t be eradicated or merged
w/out their consent
 Informal political and cultural powers
 One power was removed w/ 17th
Horizontal Federalism
 Relations Among the Varying States
• Regulated by the Constitution
 Full Faith and Credit Clause
 Privileges and Immunities Clause

 Interstate compacts
Evolution of American Federalism
 States Strong prior to Civil War
 States Extremely weak immediately after
 States Stronger after reconstruction ended
 Federal government picks up steam in the
progressive era (1900-1918) (16th, 17th, 18th
 Federal government becomes even more powerful
during New Deal and WW2
 Federal government slows pace after New Deal
was implemented but increased with Civil Rights
 States rallied under Nixon, Reagan and (thanks
largely to the U.S. Supreme Court) Clinton
 Under Bush and the War on Terror, Central
government is more powerful
 Will the pendulum swing back again?
Nationalists vs. States Rights Advocates

 Conservative Nationalists: George W.

 Conservative States Righter: Barry
 Liberal Nationalist: FDR
 Liberal States Righters: Oregon and
assisted suicide, legalized marijuana.
California and stem cell research,
greenhouse gas emissions
 Theory that states could nullify, or
declare void, federal laws
Theory that states cannot
perform certain functions
because they belong
exclusively to the federal
government. Preemption is
occasionally used to strike
down as unconstitutional
state laws
Civil War Aftermath
 Constitutional Amendments
• Outlawing Slavery
• Providing “Due Process” to state
governments… i.e. states can’t deprive
life, liberty or property w/out giving
person DP
• Equal Protection Clause: Mandates
states must treat all citizens equally
 Delegation of power to states or local
governments by federal government
Dual Federalism
 Layer Cake or Marble Cake
Grants in Aid: Source of Federal Power

 Categorical Grants: Language

specifying for what purpose money
may be used
 Block Grants: Federal Grants to the
state for general purposes
 General Revenue Sharing: Money to
the states w/out conditions
 See Graphic, page 69
 Federal law says states must do X
• Partially funded
• Unfunded
U.S. Federalism: Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
 Pro: Diversity of needs
 Con: Importance of national standards
 Pro: Closeness to the people
 Con: Low visibility and lack of popular
 Pro: Innovation and Experimentation
 Con: Spillover effects, competition
 Pro: Training ground for women,