Chapter 3


A way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. It is a system of shared power between units of government.

Who, and how many countries have a federal system?

only 11 of the 190 or so nations of the world have federal systems, which include these countries, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Canada, Australia, India, United States

Unitary governments

A way of organizing a nation so that all power resides in the central government. Most governments today are unitary governments.


the third form of governmental structure; in a confederation the national government is weak, and all power belongs to the hands of the components, for example the states.

intergovernmental relations

The workings of the federal system- the entire set of interactions among national state and local governments.

what happens on election day?

The federal system in america decentralizes our politics; On election day in November there acre 51 presidential elections, one in each state and one in Washington D.C.

when was the federal system born?


what did the constitution say?

The constitution favored a stronger national government, guarantees states equal representation in the senate. It also made states responsible for both state and national elections. Also, the constitution guaranteed the continuation of each state. Congress is forbidden to create new states by chopping up the old ones,unless s a states legislature approves.

The constitution obligations

The national government must provide protection to the states against violence and invasion.

Supremacy clause

Article V of the constitution which makes the constitution, national laws,and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits

Tenth Amendment

The constitutional amendment stating that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people"

what happended in 1941?

The surpreme court called the tenth amendment a constitutional truism, a mere assertion that the states have independent powers of their own- not a decleration that the states powers are superior to those of the national government

1976 National League of Cities Vs. Usery

held that extending national minimum wage and maximum hours standards to employees of state and local governments was an unconstitutional intrusion of the national government for activities not mentioned in the constitution

1985 Garica Vs. San Antonio Metro

The court overturned the National League of Cities decisions. The court held that in essence that it was up to congress, not the courts, to decide which actions of the states should be regulated by the national government. the court ruled that the tenth amendment did not give states power superior to that of the national government for activities not mentioned by the Constitution.

late 1980's

the governors of several states refused to allow their state national guards to engage in training exercises in central America

eleventh amendment

prohibits an individual damage suits again state officials and protects state governments from being sued against their consent by private parties in federal courts or states

McCulloch V. Maryland

An 1819 supreme court decision that established the supremacy of the national government over state governments. in deciding this case, Chief Justice John Marshall and his colleagues held that congress had certain implied powers in addition to the enumerated powers found in the Constitution.

enumerated powers

powers of the federal government that are specifically addressed in the constitution; for congress these powers are listed in article one section eight and include the power to coin money regulate its value and impose taxes

implied powers

powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the Constitution. The constitution states that congress as the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers enumerated in article one

elastic clause

the final paragraph of article one section eight of the constitution which authorizes congress to pass all laws necessary and proper to carry out the enumerated powers

gibbons vs. Ogden

a landmark case decided in 1824 in which the supreme court interpreted very broadly the clause in article one section eight of the constitution giving congress the power to regulate interstate commerce, encompassing virtually every form of commercial activity

full faith and credit clause

a clause in article IV section one of the constitution requiring each state to recognize the official documents and civil judgement rendered by the courts of other states


The practice that states are to return a person charged with a crime in another state to that state for trial or imprisonment.

Privileges and immunities

If a Texan visits California, the Texan will lays the same sales tax and receive the same police protection as residents of California.

Dual Federalism

A system of government in which both the states and the Nationals government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.

Cooperative Federalism

A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the Nationals government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame programs that work poorly.

Shared Costs

Cities and states can get federal money for airport construction, sewage treatment plants, youth programs, and many other programs, but only if they pay some of the costs.

Catalogue of federal domestic assistance

A massive volume listing the federal aid programs available to states, cities, and local governments.


Federal Grants



Clean Air Act of 1970

Established national air quality standards but requires states to administer them and appropriate funds for their implementations

New Republican Majorities Congress in 1995

Made limiting unfounded and underfunded mandates on state and local governments a high priority

What law did congress pass and Clinton sign?

Requires both chambers to take a separate, majority vote in order to pass any bill that would impose unfunded mandates of more than $50 million on state and local governments

Requirements for local housing

National government requires that a local housing authority build or acquire a new low-income housing facility for each one it demolishes


California, New York, Texas, Florida, and other states sued the federal government for reimbursement for the cost of health care, education, prisons, and other public services that the states provide to illegal residents

Federal system

Central to politics, government, and policy in America. Allows an interest concentrated in a state to exercise substantial influence in the election of that state's officials, both local and national

Party loses

Even if a party loses at the national level, it can rebuild in its areas of strength and develop leaders under its banner at the state and local levels


New Jersey state and local governments spent an average of $10,420 for each child in public schools; in Utah the figure was only $4,059. The quality of education a child recieves is dependent on the state the child resides in


States (especially in the South) became battlegrounds when the national government tried to enforce national civil rights law and court decisions

Since 1929

The national government's share of American governmental expenditures has grown rapidly since 1929

Project grants

Federal categorical grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications

Formula grants

Federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulation

Block grants

Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services

Categorical grants

Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes, or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions

Fiscal federalism

The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments