Federalism and State Initiatives

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Lecture 4 Outline of Current Lecture I. Federalism II. Alternative Structures of Government III. The Advantages of Federalism IV. Division of Powers Between the National and State Level V. Who Contributes What VI. The Evolution of Federalism and the Steps to a Clear National Supremacy a. McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) b. Federal Policy Innovation c. Aggressive Use of Interstate Commerce clause VII. Federal Aid Used As a Powerful Tool to Control States a. Cross-cutting requirements, Cross-over requirements VIII. Chapter 2 Reading Homework: Politics of State Initiatives (page 57-63) a. Tax Limitation, Crime and Drugs, Abortion, Same-Sex Marriages, School Vouchers, Affirmative Action and Racial Preferences, Immigration, Redistricting, Eminent Domain Current Lecture FEDERALISM Federalism  federalism: a form of government in which a constitution distributes power between a central (national) government and subnational governments called states  federalism gives each level of government independent powers, which are outlined by a constitution Alternative Structures of Government  Unitary System: o all power is given to the central government o most common form of government around the world today  all constitutional power rests with the central government, but the subnational governments (counties, etc.) still exist  subnational governments only exist on a temporary basis as long as the national government wants to give them power or delegate them powers  ex: Great Britain  Confederal system: o the subnational governments are stronger than the central government o central government is an organizing force that helps the states accomplish goals o the central government only really exists because the states say it can, states are the ones who recognize the power of the central government o ex: 13 colonies under Articles of Confederation  national government basically could not do anything unless approved by all the states  failed because national government could not act in times of need o today, the United Nations is similar to a Confederal system POLS 207 2nd Edition  UN realizes it only has the power that its members give it  Federalism o the middle ground between these two extremes (unitary and confederal) o US did not want tyranny but did not want disadvantages of confederal system The Advantages of Federalism (compared to unitary government)  1. Control Tyranny o US reacted to British rule o wanted power to be divided so no national government was overpowering o wanted to distribute power  2. Federalism allows for experimentation o individual states can always try new policies/programs o when new policies fail, it is not as bad, because only one state experiences the failure o when they succeed, then all the other states will adopt the policy o ex: Welfare reform 1990s – most of welfare is funded from the federal government, the money is given to states, then the states operate the program, but lots of strings attached  therefore, certain states wanted to try something different (Michigan, Wisconsin, etc), these states wanted to cut people off of welfare at a certain time, use the extra money ...


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