Assess the significance of federalism in the U.S.A

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Assess the significance of federalism in the U.S.A

Federalism, and all it stands for, underpins politics in America. The basic principle of American federalism is fixed in the Tenth Amendment (ratified in 1791) to the Constitution which states: "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." Federalism gives the executive its power but it also gives states a great deal of power as has been clarified in Dillon's Law. On many occasions, the Supreme Court has been called on to adjudicate what federalism means (usually in favour of the executive rather than states) but the Constitution put a great deal of faith in federalism when the Founding Fathers first constructed it. However the significance of federalism in the U.S.A is debatable.

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Proponents of federalism argue that one way federalism is significant is that it fosters state loyalties: Many Americans feel close ties to their home state, and federalism maintains that connection by giving power to the states whilst still allowing the executive to retain the ultimate power. This is significant as those anti-federalists are appeased through the power given to the states preventing the tyranny of a large executive whilst retaining a powerful federal government.

Moreover federalism is a practice in pragmatism: Running a country the size of the United States, with such a diverse population, is much easier to do ...

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