• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Types of Federalism

Page history last edited by jordan 14 years, 5 months ago

previous section 'Types of Power'                                                                                                       next section 'Problem Section: Gun Control'


          When the American government was first established in the Constitution it was deemed to be run under a system of federalism. Federalism, a term that sprouted from the Federalists,  is the idea that the governmental sovereignty is divided between the central governing national authority, and another political unit, such as states. This is exactly like the American government which has a national government, and the state government. There are some restrictions on the national government which are listed in the Constitution in Articles 1, 2, and 3. There are however, no restrictions on the state governments, and in fact, the Constitution only enables the state governments and guarantees them rights that are not listed in the Constitution.   There are many different types of federalism including dual federalism, cooperative federalism, creative federalism, fiscal federalism, and new federalism among others.  The three main types of Federalism are;


Dual Federalism is the idea that the union and the state share power but the Federal Government holds more than the individual states. This is currently how the U.S. system works. (1)


Cooperative Federalism is the idea that the federal government and the state government share power equally. It has never been attempted but it seems unlikely that it would work as the state governments and the federal government would be locked in a stalemate unable to reach compromises over important legislation. (1)



Fiscal Federalism is the type of Federalism in which the money bag controls everything. This gives Congress massive amounts of power as it is responsible for the American treasury. It can therefore limit the budget of any other political department it does not belive is working towards the best interest of America. There have been several instances in our history however of times when Congress has given full of the treasury to the President. One example of this would be the Tonkin Gulf Resoultion in 1964 which gave President Johnsonthe ability to, "expressing the unity and determination of the United States in supporting freedom and in protecting peace in southeast Asia". Which as anyone can see leaves a wide space open for interpretaition. To quote Dr Berry, it was essentially a "blank check". (2)


The definition has changed over time and history has shown us that our own actions have created a few new forms of Federalism in American's times of crisis.


Creative Federalism is common in the United States even now, while New Federalism was doninant type of governmental federalism from 1960 to 1980, and particuarily during the Johnson administration in the 1960's.  (1)


     The key aspects of Creative Federalism or "picket fence federalism" is that the federal government determined the needs of the states and provided services for them. In this case, the federal government works directly for the states, and caters to their needs.  This involves common planning between the federal and state governments to achieve goals that work for the states. These days, creative federalism seems to have been diminished by cooperative federalism and the rise of the federal governments power which started during FDR's presidency and escalated from there. 


New Federalism was created in response to the power the state governments lost due to the enforcement of civil rights and President Roosevelts New Deal in the 1960's.  This type of federalism returned rights to the local and state governments and turned federal government powers over to the lesser governments.  President Nixon prominantly enforced this by returning the provision of block grants and revenue sharing to the state and local governments. (1)


Work Cited

(1) Annenberg Media. "Federalism: U.S. v. the States" <http://www.learner.org/courses/democracyinamerica/dia_3/dia_3_topic.html> (1997-2010)

(2) The Gale Group Inc. "Dictionary Definition: Fiscal Federalism" <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1O104-fiscalfederalism.html> (2010)


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.