📚

 > 

👩🏾‍⚖️ 

 > 

🏛

1.7 Relationship Between States and the Federal Government

5 min readfebruary 4, 2023

Riya Patel

Riya Patel

Annika Tekumulla

Annika Tekumulla


AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

240 resources
See Units

Introduction

The relationship between states and the federal government in the United States is defined by the Constitution and is based on the principles of federalism.
  1. Powers are divided: The Constitution divides powers between the federal government and state governments, with specific powers granted to the federal government and others reserved for the states.
  2. Supremacy of federal law: Federal law is supreme over state law, but states retain the power to regulate many areas of life within their own borders.
  3. Cooperative federalism: Federal and state governments often work together to solve common problems, sharing resources and leveraging each other's strengths.
  4. Checks and balances: The Constitution provides checks and balances to prevent either the federal or state governments from becoming too powerful.
  5. Constitutional amendments: The Constitution can be amended to alter the balance of power between the federal government and the states.

Key Vocabulary

  • Federalism: A political system in which power is divided between a central government and constituent political units, such as states or provinces.
  • Constitution: The supreme law of the United States that establishes the framework of the federal government and defines the relationships between the federal government, the states, and the citizens.
  • Exclusive powers: Powers that are exclusively granted to the federal government and cannot be exercised by the states.
  • Concurrent powers: Powers that are shared by both the federal government and the states.
  • Full faith and credit clause: A provision in the United States Constitution that requires states to give "full faith and credit" to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states.
  • Extradition clause: A provision in the United States Constitution that requires states to surrender individuals who have fled from one state to another to face criminal charges.
  • Privileges and immunities clause: A provision in the United States Constitution that ensures citizens of each state are entitled to the same privileges and immunities as citizens of every other state.
  • Republican form of government: A form of government in which power is held by elected representatives, rather than a monarch or other single ruler. The United States is established as a "Republican Form of Government" in Article IV of the Constitution.

Key Questions

  • What is federalism and how does it work in the United States?
  • What is the division of powers between the federal government and the states outlined in the Constitution?
  • What is the full faith and credit clause and why is it important?
  • What are the exclusive powers of the federal government?
  • What are the concurrent powers of the federal government and the states?
  • What is the extradition clause and how does it work?
  • What is the privileges and immunities clause and how does it affect citizens of different states?
  • How has the distribution of power between the states and the federal government changed over time?
  • What is the importance of the concept of a "Republican Form of Government" in the United States?
  • How does the Constitution balance the powers between the federal government and the states to promote individual liberty and regional diversity?

What is Federalism?

Federalism is a political system in which power is divided between a central government and constituent political units, such as states or provinces. In the United States, federalism refers to the division of power between the federal government and the individual state governments. Under this system, both the federal and state governments have distinct spheres of authority and jurisdiction, and each level of government has the power to make and enforce laws within its own jurisdiction. This division of powers is enshrined in the Constitution and allows for a balance of power between the federal government and the states, promoting individual liberty and regional diversity.

Article IV

Article IV of the United States Constitution establishes the relationship between the states and the federal government, and outlines certain obligations of the states to one another. Some key provisions of Article IV include:
  1. Full faith and credit clause: States are required to give "full faith and credit" to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states.
  2. Extradition clause: States are required to surrender individuals who have fled from one state to another to face criminal charges.
  3. Privileges and immunities clause: Citizens of each state are entitled to the same privileges and immunities as citizens of every other state.
  4. New states: The federal government has the power to admit new states into the Union and to regulate the territories belonging to the United States.
  5. State sovereignty: States retain all powers not specifically granted to the federal government by the Constitution.
Article IV also establishes the United States as a "Republican Form of Government" and provides that "the United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." This means that the federal government is obligated to protect each state's system of government and prevent any attempt to establish a monarchy or other undemocratic form of government within a state.

Exclusive and concurrent powers

The Constitution divides powers between the federal government and the states in a federal system of government, and these powers can be either exclusive or concurrent.
  1. Exclusive powers: These are powers that are exclusively granted to the federal government and cannot be exercised by the states. Examples include the power to regulate commerce among the states, to declare war, and to coin money.
  2. Concurrent powers: These are powers that are shared by both the federal government and the states. Examples include the power to tax, to regulate health and safety, and to provide for the general welfare. In cases of conflict between federal and state laws, federal law takes precedence.
This division of powers between the federal government and the states is a key aspect of federalism and helps to maintain a balance of power between the two levels of government, promoting individual liberty and regional diversity.

The changing distribution of power between states and the federal government

The distribution of power between the states and the federal government in the United States has changed over time as a result of several factors, including court cases, constitutional amendments, and shifting political and social priorities.
  1. Court cases: Court decisions, such as the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison, have expanded the power of the federal government by interpreting the Constitution to grant the federal government greater authority over areas previously considered the sole purview of the states.
  2. Constitutional amendments: Constitutional amendments, such as the 14th Amendment, have expanded the power of the federal government to protect individual rights and liberties, even against actions by the states.
  3. Shifting priorities: Changes in political and social priorities have led to changes in the distribution of power between the states and the federal government. For example, the growth of the national economy and the increasing importance of national security have led to a shift of power towards the federal government.
Despite these changes, the fundamental principles of federalism and the division of powers between the states and the federal government have remained intact, providing a balance of power and a check against the concentration of power in any one level of government.

Fiveable
Fiveable
Home
Stay Connected

© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.


© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.