How Does Federalism Today Differ from That Created by the Founding Fathers and Why?

2011 Words9 Pages
How does federalism today differ from that created by the Founding Fathers and why? Federalism, a form of government which divides sovereignty, law and decision making between levels of government, will ultimately lead to tension (Lowry, 2000, p73). This tension arises from competing levels of government, i.e. the regional and the central, trying to serve their own interests. It is because of this competition that a federal system can not be static but ever changing and evolving. It has been two hundred and twenty three years since the U.S constitution, which prescribes how U.S federalism will work and the limits of both state and federal (central) power, came into effect. Since then both the United States and the world have changed dramatically and with it U.S federalism. This essay will be divided into the following main sections; the first will outline and compare the major differences in the federalism of today and that of the Founding Fathers; the second will asses why, and therefore how, this evolution in U.S federalism has occurred. The federalism created by the founding fathers differs, as the essay title suggests, in many ways to that of todays. This is most obviously the case when it comes to influence and power. The early federal system devised by the Founding Fathers and regulated by the constitution was a ‘duel federal system.’ What this means is that the national (federal) government and the states both had separate spheres of authority and worked independently side by side. This made the two levels of government ‘equals’ and ‘sovereign’ within their own jurisdiction as there was little interference from one to the other (Miroff, Seidelman, Swanstrom, 2002, p418). The U.S constitution outlines which areas are to belong: exclusively to the federal government; make treaties, coin money, regulate interstate and foreign commerce; to both the
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