• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the Causes and Consequences of the changing balance of power between the federal and state governments since 1980.

Extracts from this document...


Examine the Causes and Consequences of the changing balance of power between the federal and state governments since 1980 In the years preceding 1980 the balance of power between the federal and state governments had been evolving and changing. This was due to both the changing times in America and the differing philosophies of those men in the famous oval office who had different ideas about how little or large a role the federal government should play. This role has been basically decreasing since 1980 with recent US president's adhering to Nixon's idea of 'new federalism' although the federal government still does have a lot of the power that it gained in the years leading up to 1980 as a result of revered president's such as Franklin Roosevelt increasing this power. Those presidents who took the view that the powers of the federal government should widen mainly did so because decisive federal action was needed at the time to ease America's problems. Since 1980(with the possible exception of September 11th) America hasn't faced such difficulties, which has meant that the Federal government hasn't had to do so much and therefore its powers have decreased. ...read more.


The change in the balance of power since 1980 has also been affected by the attitudes and actions of the executive who have been less inclined to use grant-in aid programmes which has weakened the stranglehold of the federal government on the states. This point is backed up by the fact that in 1995 federal aid accounted for 22.2% of state and local outlays compared to 26.3% in 1980. This money is usually given by the federal government with strings attached and a proviso that the states will agree with a certain area of federal government policy to receive aid. For example when the federal government wanted to raise the national drinking age to 21 they offered all of the states a huge grant for road building and this was money that the states needed. Therefore all of the states decided to tow the federal governments line, enforce the change in the law and receive their grant. This clearly shows how the federal government can use grants to increase their power by making states agree to their proposals and therefore increase the balance of power in favour of the federal government. ...read more.


This can be starkly contrasted to the presidency of Johnson in the 1960s when the balance of power was firmly with the federal government. Johnson was voted in on the promise of achieving a 'Greater Society' and he was able to pass numerous Acts such as Medicaid, which meant that he was carrying out what he had promised the voters. Therefore it can be said that since 1980 US president's have not been able to carry out reforms even if they have a popular mandate to do so. This due to a shift in power towards the states who now have much more control over issues such as healthcare. Even though the recent atrocity in New York has raised question marks over whether or not more power should be in the hands of the states, it is clear that since 1980 the trend has been for states to gain an increase in this power. While this is the case it is evident that a lot of power still resides in the hands of a federal government who try to maintain the USA as a centralised nation and it is clear that in times of crisis, this is what American's want. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level United States section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level United States essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Outline how and why federalism has changed since the 1960s.

    5 star(s)

    in federal aid and increases in what they needed to supply, and the number of Americans living in poverty rose from 29 million to 35 million. His system of swaps also had many flaws; the states found the idea very attractive but it was clear that they would not be

  2. How and Why has federalism changes sice the 1960s

    He may arguably further the concept of government intervention with policies similar to affirmative action, since he is a very left wing democrat, and also is being accused of being socialistic by some Americans in his approaches.

  1. 'Examine the reasons for change in the balance of power between the federal and ...

    This period was regarded as 'New Federalism' Introduced in the 1960s as a reaction against the continuing expansion of the federal government's activity and expenditure, President Nixon was committed to a system of 'new federalism' to resolve the proper balance of power, regaining some of the states former authority.

  2. 'Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of ...

    Satyagraha lead to civil disobedience and violence as peaceful protest turned into riots, culminating in the Churi-Churra incident in 1922 when a mob of protestors burnt down a police station killing seventy-seven policeman.20 The Congress and Gandhi voiced its appeal for peace and withdrew its programme of Satyagraha.

  1. To what extent can Reagan's electoral victory in 1980 be put down to the ...

    During his presidency he grew more foolish and weak in the eys of America. Almost nothing positive happened during his presidency; America's d�tente with the USSR ended, there was an energy crisis. Also his failure of a brother somewhat cast negativity towards him making him look more foolish and weak.

  2. presidential power how far does it go

    Furthermore, there is a perceived conflict in which Tribunals administering justice to these individuals, allow the executive branch to make law, handle prosecution and then render final judgment. And finally, we have Ms. Mayer's cause celebre, the use of torture on enemy combatants.

  1. A Trend of Decentralization

    They decide where to put a bill on the legislative calendar in which the congressmen favor the bills in relevance of their choice. They act as the traffic cop and can even attach rules to the bill along with adding anything that suits them.

  2. Is the USA still a federal state?

    similar to that of FDR?s during the 1930s, for one would expect a policy of de-centralisation or the ?devolution revolution? as Ronald Reagan stated to occur during George Bushes? presidency. Therefore it is right to assert that central government appeared to dominate the political life of this period and that the states had little involvement in the policy making process.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work