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Federalism and American Politics

            How has the type of federalism we enjoy in the United States today evolved from the founding to the present? .
             Initially when the constitution was drafted, the anti federalists opposed it on the grounds that it gave too much power to the national government. However, today the big government has grown to encompass all three levels of government namely federal, state and local. Earlier, the antifederalists fussed over how vast the federal government might become someday. However, apart from military affairs and international diplomacy, most national laws, policies and programs are shaped, administered and funded in whole or part through a complex system of federal state relations. Thus, we find no sovereignty located in the American political system. Which level of government has the ultimate power to decide where nuclear waste gets stored, how much welfare beneficiaries are paid, what rights prisoners enjoy? American federalism answers these questions but on a case-by-case basis through intergovernmental politics and court decisions. (American Government , Page number 51).
             Historically there were two views about federalism in the United States by the framers of the constitution. Hamilton believed that the National Government was the leading force in political affairs and that its power must be broadly defined and liberally construed. On the other hand, Jefferson believed that the federal government was a product of an agreement among the states and therefore the powers of the national government should be narrowly construed and strictly limited. (American Government, Page number 55).
             However, since the founding, the balance of power between the national government and the states has shifted over time. Early in American history, local governments and the states had most of it. For example, the doctrine of nullification held that any state could suspend within its boundaries the operation or implementation of any federal law it deemed to be unconstitutional.

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