How has federalism evolved throughout US history to its current state?

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A summative analysis of federalism tracing its evolution through US history would be a lengthy project, focusing on consensus between historians and primary sources. Such an analysis would build up a complex picture of the balance between state and government authority over the course of more than two centuries.

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Summative analysis is a complex and relatively recent method of organizing data. It is described in detail in Francis Rappaport's 2010 article in the International Journal of Qualitative Methods, attached below. For the purposes of this question, the important point is that summative analysis is collaborative and based on consensus-building.

A summative analysis of federalism would trace the ideological basis of the concept from the foundation of the United States of America to the twenty-first century, examining the disputes over the limits of federal power and including views of how and if they have been resolved. An early example is the dispute between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson over the authority of Congress to create a central bank. This finally ended with the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), in which it was held that Congress had the authority to take actions not expressly authorized by the Constitution.

McCulloch v. Maryland is the first major blow to the rights of individual states in the nineteenth century, but the greatest was clearly the Union victory in the Civil War. After this strengthening of the federal government, dual federalism, cooperative federalism, and new federalism emerged as successive methods of balancing the rights and duties of the federal government with those of individual states. A summative analysis of federalism would have to include detailed examinations of all these approaches and would probably be a book-length project.

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