According to most public opinion polls, many Americans believe that the federal .
government is too big, both in the number of agencies it directs and in the scope of its .
powers. Some people also think that the daily business of Capitol Hill has no effect on .
their lives, in part because they believe that politicians "who live and work "inside the .
beltway" "don't understand their problems. This dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C., .
in recent years has renewed debate over the division of power between federal and state .
and local governments. (CQ Researcher 92).
Federalism, the sharing of power between the states and the national government .
has been a major issue throughout U.S. history. When the federal government was .
established by the U.S. Constitution in 1787, it only exercised limited or enumerated .
powers, such as making treaties and printing money. The Tenth Amendment of the Bill of .
Rights, ratified in 1791, clarified that all other powers belonged to the states: "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." Over the years, in .
response to national crises, many of the government's powers "particularly those over .
social programs " were centralized to the federal level. However, in recent years, an .
increasing number of people on Capitol Hill and across the country want to "devolve," or .
transfer, power from Washington, D.C., to state and local governments.
Federalism has played a large role in our government since the time that the .
Constitution was ratified. It originally gave the majority of the power to the states. As .
time went on, the national government gained more and more power. It used the .
"necessary and proper" clause of the Constitution to validate its acts, and the Supreme .
Court made decisions that strengthened the national government creating a more unified .