Federalism

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What is federalism?

It is a political system where the powers of government are divided between national and regional governments.

Constitutional basis -- Powers

Delegated: Powers expressed in the constitution to the national government

Implied: Not expressed, but implied to be powers to the national government

Inherent: exist for national government because the government is sovereign

Concurrent: Belong to both national and state governments

Reserved: Belong specifically to the states (because they weren't delegated to national government nor denied to states)

Key court cases

McCullock v. Maryland: Established the implied powers of the national government and national supremacy (Supremacy clause)


Gibbons v. Ogden: the Supreme Court held power to regulate interstate commerce (established commerce clause)

Different Types of Federalism

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Cooperative (marble cake) vs. Dual (layer cake) Federalism

Cooperative: National and state governments sharing policymaking and working together in solving problems.

Dual: National and state governments separately remaining supreme within their own sphere of influence, seen as separate from each other.

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New Federalism

Idea to place more responsibility on the states about how grant money would be spent. Devolution-- the transfer of power from national to state governments
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Fiscal Federalism

The national government's spending, taxation, and grants to influence state and local governments.

Types of Grants: money provided by federal govt. to state and local govt. to be used for...

  • Grants-in-aid: specific projects or programs
  • Categorical grants: specific purpose defined by law
  • Block grants: a variety of purposes
  • Revenue sharing: virtually anything
  • Mandates: requirements imposed by the national government on the states. (Unfunded Mandates-- states have to follow mandate at their own expenses, federal govt. doesn't give money to them)