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The History Of Federalism In The United States And It's Roots, Meaning, And Effects.

1256 words - 5 pages

Federalism has been one of the most controversial terms in American Government since its creation in 1789. Confusion over the meaning of federalism and disagreement over its implications have not ceased since the debate over the constitution. Federalism, adding to its problematic history has never conformed precisely to any theoretical idea. The definition that we have come to study of federalism is: A political system in which power is divided between the central government and its two component parts- in the United States, between the national government and the states. Exactly how power should be divided, and to resolve disputes over the distribution of power are difficult questions. Because the answers to these questions vary, there are many different forms of federalism. Duel federalism, also known as "layer cake" federalism recognizes that both the state and national governments are supreme within their respective spheres of power. Cooperative or "marble cake" federalism underscores the importance of cooperation between the two levels of government. Creative federalism called for cooperation between state and national governments, along with the private sector to solve problems like poverty and urban decay. The "New Federalism" under President Nixon moved to shift creative federalism in the direction of state-centered federalism.Thirteen years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and eight years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, which established a league of sovereign states, the nation repealed the Articles of Confederation and ratified a new constitution creating the United States in 1789. The new constitution established a union of states under a federal system of governance. Two questions have generated considerable debate since the beginning of the constitution: What is the nature of the Union? And, What privileges, power, responsibilities, and duties does the constitution grant to the national government and reserve to the states and the people? During the entire existence of this great document the answers to these questions have led to thousands of debates that have developed to us as politics.I believe in order to come to understand this controversial issue we call federalism we must first study the roots from which the word derived. The term "federal" became a part of the English language via French from Latin. We can trace the origin of the word federalism to three different Latin roots, first; Foedereratus, meaning "bound by treaty", derives from the word "foedus", meaning "treaty", and third; fidere meaning "to trust". The earliest recorded use of this term in English was in the seventeenth century when religious puritans defined federal theology as a covenant between god and the settlers of America.Essentially federalism is a system of government in which sovereignty is shared (between two levels of government) so that on some matters the national government is supreme and on others the...

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