Competitive Federalism

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Federalism, by definition, is the division of government authority between at least two levels of government. In the United States, authority is divided between the state and national government. “Advocates of a strong federal system believe that the state and local governments do not have the sophistication to deal with the major problems facing the country” (
Even before the Constitution was ratified, strong argument were made by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in the Federalist Papers urging the inclusion of a federal form of government to replace the failed confederation. In Federalist Paper No. 9 Hamilton states, “This form of government is a convention …show more content…

The first act, the Clean Air Act of 1970, set national standards for air quality. Under competitive federalism, the states were now held responsible that the laws created under this act were implemented and enforced. The second act, the Emergency Highway Act of 1974, provided funding for highways. Under competitive federalism, the states had to agree to limit highway speed limits to fifty-five miles per hour in order to receive federal funds for highway repair ( The idea under competitive federalism was that if a state was going to receive federal money, it must agree to do something in return. During the 1980s, the scope of federal programs aiding local interests decreased …show more content…

After the election of 1994, the Republican Contract with America clearly signaled a return to a more traditional approach. This trend continued when the Republicans maintained their majority in both houses in the 1996 election. Such measures as more welfare reform, a balanced budget, and regulatory reform were introduced specifically to downsize government and return power to the states. Many of the parts of the Republican Contract have been passed by one or both house but never signed by the President. However, now with a Republican president is power, the passage of the ideas proposed in the Republican Contract seem to be high on the Republican

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