How is the power to govern shared under the principle of federalism?

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Federalism in the United States draws divisions in power between states and the federal government. This was an essential element when drawing up the Constitution. There was a heated debate at the time (and still to some extent today) as to whether the states or the federal government should have...

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Federalism in the United States draws divisions in power between states and the federal government. This was an essential element when drawing up the Constitution. There was a heated debate at the time (and still to some extent today) as to whether the states or the federal government should have certain powers. Federalism is a compromise in which power is shared between the two.

In most cases, federal laws and authority trump the power of the states. Each of the 50 states has its own constitution. However, the state constitutions must be in accordance with the laws laid out in the United States Constitution. For instance, a state cannot limit the freedom of the press as this would violate the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, certain powers are given exclusively to the federal government, such as the power to make treaties with other nations or print money. There are other powers which states and the federal government share, such as collecting taxes and running courts.

Any powers not given exclusively to the federal government are granted to the states under the 10th Amendment as long as they are deemed constitutional. It is in fact this amendment from which the states draw their power under this system.

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Federalism is the system in which (in the case of the US) the Constitution divides powers between the state governments and the federal governments.  By doing this, the Constitution gives each of these levels of government their own power and prevents either level from completely dominating the other.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the states essentially had all the power to govern.  The national government had no power that the states did not give it.  In such a system, the power to govern is not shared.

Under the Constitution, both the federal government and the state governments have defined powers.  In that way, the power to govern is shared.

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