The Power Struggle of the States and Federal Government in the United States

The Power Struggle of the States and Federal Government in the United States

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To define the terminology of federalism to a simplistic way is the sharing of sovereignty between the national government and the local government. It is often described as the dual sovereignty of governments between the national and the local to exert power in the political system. In the US it is often been justified as one of the first to introduce federalism by the ‘founding fathers’ which were developed in order to escape from the overpowered central government. However, federalism in the United States is hitherto uncertain where the power lies in the contemporary political system. In this essay I will outline and explain how power relationship alternates between states and federal government. Moreover I will also discuss my perspective by weighing the evidence based upon resources. Based on these resources, it will aid me to evaluate the recent development in the federal-state relationship.
Theoretically, in a Federal system the sovereignty is shared between the national government and the local government but the ultimate sovereignty lies on the people. The federal government does not have the power to be involved in the states laws as they are only able to deal with national security, taxation and foreign affairs. The States however, deal with public welfare, education and justice. For instance, in different States there are different laws in executing criminals implemented as such in California death sentence is applied. However, it differs in practice whereby in the recent events the federal government is heavily involved in the public welfare especially when it dealt with major crises.


The evolution of power gained by the Federal government can be seen in the McCuloch versus Maryland (1819) case. This case des...


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... objective was to pull out people from poverty as the poor migrates to the urban were duly attracted to the incentives provided by the welfare. Not only has it reduced the amount of federal spending it also provides the welfare to be more efficient as the people are only allowed to receive federal support with a limited time span.
In my opinion, the relationship between the Federal government and the States is unclear whether which institution has the authority to implement legislations. The vagueness of the American constitution particularly in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution that quote ” The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The ambiguous of the American Constitution may be the main cause of the over power of Federal government.

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