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2.1 Concepts of Federalism

The proper distribution of powers between the central and local governments is an important issue in a federal union. According to the American Constitution certain powers were specifically delegated to the national government. Further, the Tenth Amendment of 1791, stated:

"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."

However, over the years, economic and social changes, have altered the balance of powers between the central government and the states.

2.1a The Constitutional Framework

The bare outline of national and state powers under the American Constitution is quite straightforward. Certain powers are delegated to the central or national government. For example, Congress is authorized to declare war, to provide a system of post offices and place roads, as well as to regulate inter state commerce. Certain other powers are clearly reserved to the state governments, but they can be determined only by inference. Since Congress is not given the authority to maintain a system of public schools or to regulate marriage and divorce issues, it may be inferred that these powers are reserved for the states.

2.1b Dual Federalism

Under the concept of dual federalism, certain delegated powers are specifically mentioned as belonging to the national government. The Tenth Amendment lays down all other powers that are reserved for the states. This Concept allots separate functions to the national and state governments, which are therefore supreme, in their own spheres. The term layer-cake federalism may also be used to describe this concept of federalism.

Owing to dual federalism, tensions between the national government and the states are bound to arise.

2.1c Co-operative Federalism

The concept of co-operative federalism does not accept a clear demarcation between the functions of the national government and the state government. In fact in several matters such as drug enforcement, there is an overlapping of their responsibilities. The term marble-cake federalism is used to describe this concept of federalism.


2.0 - Introduction
2.1 Concepts of Federalism
2.2 Defining Federal-State Relations
2.3 Recent Trends in Federalism

Chapter 3

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