Political Science 1100, Introduction to American Politics, February 4, 2013
How and Why do Americans fight about states' rights and federalism?
1. WHAT IS FEDERALISM?
In a federal political system, political authority is divided by a constitution between a central government and regional governments
Examples: Canada, Australia, U.S.
(As Opposed To A Unitary System, Such As Britain Or France)
2. WHO CARES ABOUT
A. States Affect Everyone's Lives
B. States do things differently
3. FEDERALISM AND NATIONAL
Interstate economic competition
The Economic Shift to the
The Political Shift to the Sunbelt:
Population Shifts Result In Shifts In ....
... The distribution of Seats In The House Of Representatives,
.... and Therefore in The Electoral College that elects the President
When Government Must Step in to Protect People
The Constitution left many unanswered questions about civil rights
1) Unanswered Question #1
Do slaveowners hold the balance of power in America?
How did the U.S. answer the question? Political Compromise (Missouri Compromise)
2). Unanswered Question #2
Can slaveowners start their own nation?
How did the U.S. answer?
3). Unanswered Question #3
Are African-Americans' civil rights protected by the states?
How did the U.S. answer? In the courts
At first, by letting states decide (de jure segregation; "Jim Crow")
Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896 upheld Jim Crow laws
In the 1950s, Brown versus Board of Education (1954) rejects de
jure segregation in schools
The Civil Rights Movement, the 1964 Civil Rights Act & the 1965 Voting Rights Act
4). The legacy
a). The Civil Rights agenda expands to de
facto segregation: Housing, Schools, Jobs
b). ... and to other groups: Gender, Other Minorities, the Disabled, and Gays