The war in Iraq was dragging on long past President George W. In , the Defense Department, wary of the political pain of reviving the military draft, called up most of the National Guard. Most Guard volunteers expect to serve and keep the peace at home in their states, not fight in a war overseas. State and local governments made it known that they were being adversely affected by the war.
Their concerns made the front page of the New York Times. Governors mingling-speaking at the National Governors Association. The annual meeting of the National Governors Association provides an opportunity for state officials to meet with each other, with national officials, and with reporters. This involvement of state governors in foreign policy illustrates the complexity of American federalism. The national government has an impact on state and local governments, which in turn influence each other and the national government. The governors meet each year to exchange ideas and express common concerns.
These meetings give them an opportunity to try to use the news media to bring public attention to their concerns, lobby the national government, and reap policy benefits for their states. But the coverage the governors received in the Iraq case was exceptional. The news media seldom communicate the dynamic complexity of government across national, state, and local levels.
Online media are better at enabling people to negotiate the bewildering thicket of the federal system and communicate between levels of government. Federalism The allocation of powers and responsibilities among national, state, and local governments and the intergovernmental relations between them. At the same time, each level of government is partially autonomous from the rest. See Paul E. After reading this section, you should be able to answer the following questions:. The Constitution and its amendments outline distinct powers and tasks for national and state governments.
Some of these constitutional provisions enhance the power of the national government; others boost the power of the states. Checks and balances protect each level of government against encroachment by the others. The Constitution gives the national government three types of power.
Forum of Federations
In particular, Article I authorizes Congress to act in certain enumerated domains. The Constitution gives exclusive powers Powers that the Constitution grants to the national or state governments and prevents the other level from exercising. These are foreign relations, the military, war and peace, trade across national and state borders, and the monetary system. States may not make treaties with other countries or with other states, issue money, levy duties on imports or exports, maintain a standing army or navy, or make war.
The Constitution accords some powers to the national government without barring them from the states. These concurrent powers Powers that the Constitution specifies that either national or state governments may exercise. National and state governments both regulate commercial activity. A state may regulate any and all commerce that is entirely within its borders. National and state governments alike make and enforce laws and choose their own leaders. They have their own constitutions and court systems. The states existed before the Constitution, so the founders said little about their powers until the Tenth Amendment was added in License Cases, 5 How.
Some powers are reserved to the states, such as ratifying proposed amendments to the Constitution and deciding how to elect Congress and the president. National officials are chosen by state elections. Congressional districts are drawn within states. Their boundaries are reset by state officials after the decennial census. Republicans, having taken over many state governments in the elections, benefited from this opportunity.
The Constitution lists responsibilities the national government has to the states. The Constitution cannot be amended to deny the equal representation of each state in the Senate. States can, however, deny benefits to out-of-staters if they do not involve fundamental rights. Courts have held that a state may require newly arrived residents to live in the state for a year before being eligible for in-state thus lower tuition for public universities, but may not force them to wait as long before being able to vote or receive medical care.
Officials of one state must extradite persons upon request to another state where they are suspected of a crime. States dispute whether and how to meet these responsibilities. Conflicts sometimes are resolved by national authority. In , several states wanted to try John Muhammad, accused of being the sniper who killed people in and around Washington, DC. The US attorney general, John Ashcroft, had to decide which jurisdiction would be first to put him on trial.
Ashcroft, a proponent of capital punishment, chose the state with the toughest death-penalty law, Virginia. In any clash between national laws and state laws, the latter must give way. However, as we shall see, boundaries are fuzzy between the powers national and state governments may and may not wield. Implied powers of the national government, and those reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment, are unclear and contested. The Constitution leaves much about the relative powers of national and state governments to be shaped by day-to-day politics in which both levels have a strong voice.
Table 3. They employ over eighteen million full-time workers.
Source : US Bureau of the Census, categorizing those entities that are organized, usually chosen by election, with a governmental character and substantial autonomy. In one sense, all fifty states are equal: each has two votes in the US Senate. The states also have similar governmental structures to the national government: three branches—executive, legislative, and judicial only Nebraska has a one chamber—unicameral—legislature. Otherwise, the states differ from each other in numerous ways.
These include size, diversity of inhabitants, economic development, and levels of education. States get less attention in the news than national and local governments. Many state events interest national news organizations only if they reflect national trends, such as a story about states passing laws regulating or restricting abortions.
A study of Philadelphia local television news in the early s found that only 10 percent of the news time concerned state occurrences, well behind the 18 percent accorded to suburbs, 21 percent to the region, and 37 percent to the central city. Since then, the commitment of local news outlets to state news has waned further.
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A survey of state capitol news coverage in revealed that thirty-one state capitols had fewer newspaper reporters than in In principle, Native American tribes enjoy more independence than states but less than foreign countries. Georgia , 30 US 1 As wards of the national government, the Cherokee were forcibly removed from land east of the Mississippi in ensuing years. Native Americans have slowly gained self-government.
Buttressed by Supreme Court decisions recognizing tribal rights, national policy now encourages Native American nations on reservations to draft constitutions and elect governments. See Charles F. The image of glamour and prosperity at casinos operated at American Indian reservations, such as Foxwoods the largest such casino in Connecticut, is a stark contrast with the hard life and poverty of most reservations.
Worcester v. Georgia , 31 US As a result, many Native American tribes have built profitable casinos on reservations within states that otherwise restrict most gambling. Montana v. Florida , US 44 All but two states are divided into administrative units known as counties. The two exceptions are Alaska, which has boroughs that do not cover the entire area of the state, and Louisiana, where the equivalents of counties are parishes.
States also contain municipalities, whether huge cities or tiny hamlets. They differ from counties by being established by local residents, but their powers are determined by the state. Cutting across these borders are thousands of school districts as well as special districts for drainage and flood control, soil and water conservation, libraries, parks and recreation, housing and community development, sewerage, water supply, cemeteries, and fire protection.
American Domestic Priorities
The US Bureau of the Census categorizes those entities that are organized usually chosen by election with a governmental character and substantial autonomy. The US Constitution specifies exclusive and concurrent powers for the national and state governments. Other powers are implied and determined by day-to-day politics.
The meaning of federalism has changed over time. Such a doctrine was largely discredited after the Civil War. Then dual federalism An approach to federalism that divides power between national and state governments into distinct, clearly demarcated domains of authority. During the New Deal of the s, cooperative federalism An approach to federalism that sees national, state, and local governments working together to address problems and implement public policies in numerous domains.
Since then, the situation is summarized by the term competitive federalism An approach to federalism that stresses the conflict and compromise between national, state, and local governments. The ink had barely dried on the Constitution when disputes arose over federalism. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton hoped to build a strong national economic system; Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson favored a limited national government.
In , Federalists passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, outlawing malicious criticism of the government and authorizing the president to deport enemy aliens. After the Revolutionary War, slavery waned in the North, where slaves were domestic servants or lone farmhands.
In the South, labor-intensive crops on plantations were the basis of Southern prosperity, which relied heavily on slaves. This section draws on James M. In , Congress faced the prospect of new states carved from land captured in the Mexican War and debated whether they would be slave or free states. In a compromise, Congress admitted California as a free state but directed the national government to capture and return escaped slaves, even in free states. Officials in Northern states decried such an exertion of national power favoring the South.
They passed state laws outlining rights for accused fugitive slaves and forbidding state officials from capturing fugitives. Thomas D. The Underground Railroad transporting escaped slaves northward grew. Figure 3.
https://seporgerbtireels.cf In , the Supreme Court stepped into the fray. Dred Scott, the slave of a deceased Missouri army surgeon, sued for freedom, noting he had accompanied his master for extended stays in a free state and a free territory.
Related Governments as Interest Groups: Intergovernmental Lobbying and the Federal System (Education; 66)
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