Essay on Federalism1

This essay has a total of 2156 words and 9 pages.


Federalism1





Federalism is a system of government that divides power between a national government and
a regional government with the use of a constitution. Throughout the United States
history, federalism has played a significant role in the constitution and the system of
government adopted by the United States of America. Federalism has also changed
throughout the course of America’s history to fit the constitution and the
government.

Montesquieu was a French philosopher who was very important in the American constitutional
thought. He was a man who was referred to more that any other theoretical writer and
wrote, "The Spirit of the Laws." Some of Montesquie’s theories or views were that
the Republic form of government was only possible in small societies, a federal republic
is where several societies, form to make a more new and enlarged society, and he believed
the cure for internal strife within a country is commerce because it cures destructive
prejudices and keeps people aware of their interdependence for comfort and security.
Montesquieu’s greatest influence on the American constitution is his doctrines of
separation of powers.

In Montesquieu’s doctrines, he discusses the three distinctive branches of
government. The actual people in each of the branches should develop distinct ways of
governing which will provide groups in society some form of accomodation in the
government’s decision making roles. Checks and Balances is another theory of
Montisquieu. Which is a system where one branch of government has some form of power over
the other two branches. "Montisquieu was one of the most important theorists and was
referred to by James Madison as the "oracle who is always consulted and cited."

David Hume was another philosopher and historian who is very important in government. He
was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and wrote "Idea of the Perfect Commonwealth." Hume
believed that opinion is divided into two kinds which are interest and right. He also
believed that a right is of two kinds-- power and property. Hume was a man that was lead
by the influence of John Locke and George Berkeley. Hume also believed that we should
just keep and improve our ancient governments; hence, we prevent any new radical forms of
government.

Federalism was incorporated in the constitution for many different reasons. One of the
main reasons federalism was added was to prevent the new form of government in the United
States after the Articles of Confederation of abusing its powers. Under federalism, state
governments and the national governments would have specific limit, and rights. Some of
the limits and rights on the national government were the right of habeus corpus, and
control of interstate commerce. States could not tax imports and exports, could not
impair obligation of contracts. Federalism was created to ensure both separate
governments certain privileges. The Framers of the Constitution believed that the
competition between both of the governments would create an effective limitation on each
governments power.

The Federalist Papers, numbers forty-five and forty-six, were written by James Madison and
supported some of the ideas of federalism in them. In Federalist Papers 45, Madison wrote
about "The Alleged Danger from the Powers of the Union to the State Governments." In
Federalist Papers 46, Madison wrote about "The Influence of the state and federal
governments."

Madison’s Federalist Papers 45 cited federalism in a few areas. One big area was
the power to tax. Madison said that if federal government had tax collectors, than the
state governments will have theirs also. Madison believed that the national and state
governments should both have their own powers. The national government has powers on war,
peace, foreign commerce, and negotiation. He then stated that the state government has
the powers concerning the lives and liberties of the people such as improvement and
prosperity of the states.

The Federalist Papers 46 also had federalism incorporated in it. Madison believed that
the state governments should silently and cautiously build up an army, just in case the
federal government was to invade the states. Therefore, the states could be ready just in
case something like that happened. He also believed that the federal government powers
are as little as those of the states in recollection to the Union.

The "necessary and proper clause" is the significance of enumerated powers are a source of
strength to the national government, not a limitation on it. This clause is also known as
the elastic clause and was settled by the Supreme Court under the Chief Justice John
Marshall. Marshall basically nationalized or expanded the "necessary and proper clause"
throughout the United States. Marshall declared that the states did not have power to tax
and national agency. Marshall believed that Congress had the power to set up a bank even
if it was not clearly in the constitution. He argued that as long as Congress was abiding
by the enumerated powers that there would be no problem with a national bank. Marshall
expanded the interpretation of the "necessary and proper clause" because after that
ruling, the national government could become more powerful without taking powers that were
already enumerated. Marshall’s interpretation of the clause clearly gave more power
to the national government and more or less limited the power of the state governments.

McCullogh vs. Maryland was a court case during the time of Chief Justice Marshall’s
Supreme Court. Maryland wanted to sue the bank that was in Baltimore because they would
not give them the taxes given to them by the state of Maryland. John Marshall ruled that
the states could not place a tax on any federal agency including the bank, under the
"necessary and proper" clause. This gave the national power more power because it
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