Federalism

Federalism in the United States

In The Federalist Papers

The first and most obvious approach The Federalist Papers used was a new definition of federalism. Having just won a revolution against an oppressive monarchy, the former American colonists were in no mood to replace it with another centralized, unrestrained regime. On the other hand, their experience with instability and disorganization under the Articles of Confederation, due to jealousy and competition between the individual states, made them receptive to a substantial increase in national powers. A number of Federalist Papers argued that a new kind of balance, never achieved elsewhere, was possible. Indeed, the Papers were themselves a balance or compromise between the nationalist propensities of Hamilton, who reflected the commercial interests of a port city, New York, and the wariness of Madison, who shared the suspicion of distant authority widely held by Virginia farmers.

Madison proposed that, instead of the absolute sovereignty of each state under the Articles of Confederation, the states would retain a “residual sovereignty” in all those areas which did not require national concern. The very process of ratification of the Constitution, he argued, symbolized the concept of federalism rather than nationalism. He said:

“This assent and ratification is to be given by the people, not as individuals composing one entire nation, but as composing the distinct and individual States to which they respectively belong…. The act, therefore, establishing the Constitution, will not be a national but a federal act.”

Hamilton suggested what he called a “concurrency” of powers between the national and state governments. But his analogy of planets revolving around the sun, yet retaining their separate status, placed greater emphasis on a central authority. Hamilton and Jay (also from New York) cited examples of alliances in ancient Greece and contemporary Europe that invariably fell apart in times of crisis. To the authors of The Federalist Papers, whatever their differences, the lesson was clear: Survival as a respected nation required the transfer of important, though limited, powers to the central government. They believed that this could be done without destroying the identity or autonomy of the separate states. (1)

Federalism in the International Business Landscape

Definition of Federalism in the context of U.S. international business and public trade policy: A mode of political organization that divides power among general and constituent governments in a manner designed to protect the existence and authority of both national and subnational political systems, such as states, enabling all to share in a decision-making and policy execution.

American Federalism

Concepts in relation to American Federalism

Note: Definitions on these topics are available in the American legal Encyclopedia. The following topics are included in this section:

  • Devolution revolution
  • Federalism
  • Unitary system
  • Confederation
  • Express powers
  • Implied powers
  • Necessary and proper clause
  • Inherent powers
  • Commerce clause
  • Federal mandate

Concepts in relation to American Federalism

Note: Definitions on these topics are available in the American legal Encyclopedia. The following topics are included in this section:

  • Concurrent powers
  • Full faith and credit clause
  • Extradition
  • Interstate compact
  • National supremacy
  • Preemption
  • Centralists
  • Decentralists
  • State’s rights

Concept of Federalism

In the U.S., in the context of the U.S. Constitution and Federalism, Federalism has the following meaning: A form of government in which power is constitutionally divided between a central (national) government and subnational (state, provincial, regional) governments. Both levels exercise some powers (rather than power being exclusive to the central government or the subnational governments). (Source of this definition of Federalism : University of Texas)

Federalism

Horizontal Federalism Explained

References

See Also

  • Civil Procedure
  • Federal Courts

Federalism Background

Federalism Background

Resources

See Also

  • Constitution
  • Federalism

Horizontal Federalism Explained

References

See Also

  • Civil Procedure
  • Federal Courts

Federalism Background

Federalism Background

Resources

Notes and References

  1. “An outline of American government” (1980), by Richard C. Schroeder

Federalism: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Federalism. This part provides references, in relation to Federalism, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Federalism by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Federalism and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Federalism or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Federalism and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Federalism. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Federalism should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Federalism when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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