What is the example and implication of New Federalism?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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“New Federalism” is a term that is most generally connected to the Nixon administration.  To understand this term, let us first look at what “federalism” is.  This is a system in which powers are divided up between the states and the national government.  The Constitution divides these powers up and assigns certain powers to each level of government.  A government in which the national government has all the power is called a unitary government.  The New Federalism held that the US was becoming too unitary.  It held that states should have more power than they did at the time.  Some aspects of the New Federalism continue to exist today though the term is not used much anymore.  Perhaps the clearest example of New Federalism is the trend in which states have more say over how they run their welfare programs.

If New Federalism were implemented, the implication would be that the US states would become more different from one another.  Different states might, for example, have rules on things like welfare or environmental protection that were very dissimilar.  This would mean that Americans in different states would live under very different governmental systems.  This would make our country less unified.

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