Who is more powerful the federal or state government?

 
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612 IKU
Posted on May. 17th, 2008

The federal and state governments have a tricky relationship. Technically, each "state" handles its own internal affairs, while the federal government works on things that affect the entire nation, such as defense, foreign affairs, and commerce. At least, that's the theory.

However, the federal government's wide-ranging powers are often checked by the fact that states have individual representatives who answer to said state, not to the President. There is also the fact that while states have to abide by federal law, there are states' rights issues with any law proposed in Congress, if some senators are to be believed.

The usual way of getting around this is for federal law to include promised funding that states receive only if they abide by other stipulations. For example, the act that established the Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate Highway System promised states funding to help build said highways - but only if they also changed their legal drinking ages to 21.

The point of this is that while the federal government could technically centralize more power in Washington, it is prevented from doing so by senators and congressmen who answer not to the federal government but to their own state governments, and especially by said state representatives if they are part of the opposition.

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141 IKU
Posted on May. 17th, 2008

Currently the federal government. But the original intent of the constitution was that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Tenth amendment. There is much debate about what this means, but the general consensus shown in the Federalist Papers (John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton) was that the national government was not to give itself any more rights than it was given in the above constitution. It is interesting that all of the amendments after the Bill of Rights are restrictive of state and personal freedom. The exact opposite of the intent of the bill of rights.

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112 IKU
Posted on May. 17th, 2008

The Fed is more powerful but like the post before this one, it was supposed to be the states, this is the real reason the civil war was fought...

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