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How Has Federalism Evolved

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By monde1
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How has federalism evolved?

Federalism is defined as state and federal governments sharing power meaning that the exercise of power is by at least two levels of government within the same country. In the case of the United States of America, power is shared between the national government and the subsidiary government. Federalism has been constantly changing especially through the twentieth century until the present day with power shifting between state and the national government. Such free-flowing shifts of power is often critically debated as some states may resist national policy that does not affect their citizens favourably. For example, people living in mountainous and extremely rural areas often blame the federal government for their economic woes as national economic policy is not flexible enough to cater for the great diversity across the country and so would prefer for more power to lie with the state. The argument against more state power however is the case of ensuring civil rights for all, as in the 1960s the national government introduced civil rights for blacks which was heavily resisted by the Southern states. A positive feature of federalism is that constant shifts allows more pragmatic policy making. If proposers of a policy feel it will not be accepted at state level it will be decided at a national level and similarly the opposers of a policy may prefer using state veto to prevent it being passed. This explains why throughout the twentieth century, federalism has constantly been evolving.

The are a few varieties of federalism which helps to explain how and why federalism has evolved in American politics. From 1835 right up until the 1930s there was a period of Dual federalism, often described as ‘Layer Cake Federalism’ due to there being two distinct spheres of authority; the state and the national government. During this period there was...

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