Introduction to American Politics – Federal vs. Unitary state?

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Q: Federal vs. Unitary state:

What are the main features of any federal form of government compared to that of a unitary state? In the United States, the Constitution gave some powers to the “federal” or “national” government, and some to the states. Some rights or powers were shared by both. Discuss these rights and any tensions that have arisen over the last two centuries (including during the founding period). This is a very broad topic, and you may take some PIECE of this and go into some depth. Try searching out the “Federalist Papers” in full text, and find some interesting articles to talk about. Read each others responses first, THEN formulate your. “Speak” to each other as much as possible.

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Classmate’s post

A federal form of government is a “balance between central and state governments and between unity and diversity.“ (Understanding American Politics ch.02 pg.33) With federalism both national and state governments share power. Federal forms of government deal with the bigger issues of higher populations. They step in when terrorist attacks or natural disasters occur. National government has many different actions from delivering social security checks to regulating the safety of our environment, to providing national security. Whereas a unitary state is a more central government such as states or provinces. “ The 50 American states are themselves unitary governments with respect to their own local governments.“(Understanding American Politica ch.2 pg.32) Unitary government has a dominance of central government. Over the years there have been many hot topics that caused tension between the states and the federal government. For example there has been debate over the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Although on a federal level marijuana is still illegal many states have chose to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Our state of Nevada being one of them. I believe the war on drugs should be over and states should have the right to decide on whether or not to legalize drugs, tax them and use the taxes for the good of their community. Don’t allow a black market to occur where it’s not taxed and regulated. According to an article written by the New York Post “ Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 substance, just like heroin, ecstasy and LSD. Removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act would decriminalize it at the federal level.The act, which stands for Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, would also encourage the expunging of most cannabis convictions on the state level. Still, states would have to pass their own laws to legalize the drug locally.”

We need balance which is why we have federalism. “ The federal system is a compromise between a strong central government and a league of separate states because the states ultimately had to approve any change to the new constitution being created in 1787“(understanding American politics ch.2 pg.32) However federalism is about more then only legal relationships. “ Cooperative fiscal relationships have become the single most important characteristic of federalism in the 20th and 21st centuries, with money acting as a kind of glue that binds the different levels of government together.”(understanding American politics ch.2 pg.51) If states had the power to create their own laws or currency that would cripple the nation and cause a crash to the economy. “ The search for the right balance between state and national power remains an enduring issue in the federal system.” (understanding American politics ch.2 pg.40) National and state governments are distinguished between delegated and reserved powers. With delegated powers legal authority is granted to people in the states by the national government for the purpose of ratifying the constitution. “Expressed powers are specifically enumerated as belonging to Congress. Among these are the powers to levy and collect taxes, to borrow money, to regulate interstate commerce, to coin money, to declare war, and to raise and support armies.“ (understanding American politics ch.2 pg.41)

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