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How does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 relate to federalism? 

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greenisin | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:16 PM via web

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How does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 relate to federalism? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 8, 2013 at 7:29 PM (Answer #1)

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 relates to federalism because it takes some power away from the state governments and gives it to the federal government. 

In our system of federalism, some powers are given by the Constitution to the state governments while others are given to the national, or federal, government.  This is what federalism is all about.  Anything that changes the balance of power between these two levels of government is related to federalism.

One thing that states typically have the right to decide for themselves is the rules about private businesses like hotels and restaurants.  States generally have the power to set rules about things like health and safety standards for businesses within their own jurisdiction.  The Civil Rights Act took some of this power away from the states.  It created a national law saying that no private business could discriminate on the basis of (among other things) race.  This took away states’ powers to do things like mandating segregation.

When this law was passed, powers were taken away from the state governments and given to the federal government.  For that reason, the law was related to federalism.

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