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Exploring The Source Of Power Of The Federal Government

2861 words - 11 pages

When it comes to identifying the powers of the federal government, we know where to look, but it can be complicating at times. Article I of the Constitution provides a list, which specifies powers to each branch of government. The debate is, and has always been, how to interpret the meaning of these provisions and how broadly or narrowly to interpret that meaning. Although the Constitution provides a specific list of limitations on state powers along with a list of certain rights, it does not provide any written list of state powers or even a general statement as to their scope. In America, the states existed first, and they struggled to create a national government. When the framers proposed to replace the Articles of Confederation with the U.S. Constitution, they created a new form of government known as federalism. Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between U.S. state governments and the federal government of the United States. Such change was considered a hybrid form of government, a mix of a unitary government and a confederal government. A unitary government did not have a system of states with indivisible boundaries; instead power flowed directly from the national government to the people. On the other hand, the confederal government, required the national government operate through the states, which had primacy in the system.
Federalism is one of the most important and innovative concepts in the U.S. Constitution, as well as one of the most persistent and divisive issues in U.S. history. The framers of the U.S. Constitution created a system that divided power between the national government and the states, as well as allowing governments to operate directly o the people. The judicial branch of government frequently patrols the border of state and national rights. According to Vile (2010) in early U.S. history, the court issued a number of important cases establishing its authority in this area. The judicial branch has limited both the scope of state exercises of power that it thought undermined national powers as well as the scope of national powers that it thought undermined states’ rights.
The key to federalism is the tenth amendment, solely because it states “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” which clearly assumes the idea that the federal government is limited to only the powers granted in the Constitution, has been declared to be obvious by the Supreme Court. Both the tenth and eleventh amendments address the issues of federalism, as Vile (2010) states “first-adopted as part of The Bill of Rights, by reserving unspecified powers to the states and he people; and second, limited certain suits against the states” due to the supreme court case involving Chisholm v. Georgia. There have been many cases involving the tenth and eleventh amendment concerning the...

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