Sample Political Science Research Paper Summary on Federalism in the United States

Federalism in the United States

Since the American Revolution, various forms of federalism have been practiced in the country. From 1789, the country practiced dual federalism. This is characterized by separation of power into state and federal systems; different government levels with authority over different jurisdictions and power possession by enumerate parties. From 1933 – 1964, the country practiced cooperative federalism where the government powers were augmented to be able to provide consolidated resources such as infrastructure and others. The augmentation of power was aimed at salvaging the country from the effects of the great depression. The type of federalism was defined as a marble cake federalism status. The national and federal governments then shared power and cooperated in the delivery of services to the citizens (Dickovick, 2013). From 1964 – 1980, the country adopted creative federalism which involved direct control of the sub national governments. The national government provided resources directly to the state governments.

The new federalism developed in 1980 was focused on the curtailing of grants through conversion and blocking of the grants. The national government deals directly with the state government but the state government had direct discretion on the use of the allocated funds. The federalism is referred to as the pineapple upside down cake due to this freedom possessed by the state government. The aspect of federalism is common in the U.S due to various reasons (Stephens, 2012). Federalism is supported by the country’s government organs and the general population due to the rich history associated with federalism in the country. In addition to this, federalism is recognized to promote innovative policy making as well as fostering loyalty from the states. As such, federalism forms the most appropriate government strategy for the separated government.



Dickovick, J. T. (2013). Comparative Politics: Integrating Theories, Methods, and Cases. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stephens, B. (2012). Federalism and Foreign Affairs: Congress’s Power to Define and Punish… Offenses against the Law of Nations’. Offenses against the Law of Nations'(August 8, 2012)42.



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