Federalism by Shmoop
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Federalism by Shmoop


Federalism, a la Shmoop. Any time you and your sibling have gotten into it with each another… your parents have likely stepped into the
ring to separate the two of you, and to get you both to play nice. Well, back when our country was even younger than…you and your sibling… …it got into some similar squabbles. What we as a nation decided to do, mainly as a result of the failure of the Articles
of Confederation, was to engage in a political system known as ‘Federalism.’ Basically, control was to be split between
both national and state governments. In other words’ they both got to play with
the new Xbox. There wasn’t a strong centralized government
in place before the Constitution was written and ratified. It was just a bunch of separate states, each minding their own business, and setting their own rules. So this idea of all the states being… minions,
more or less… underneath the bigger umbrella of one national government… freaked some
people out a bit. But… the whole “Articles of Confederation”
experiment had gone awry. It was clear that the states needed a little hand-holding. Some people were able to recognize the positives, however. The 10th Amendment gave whatever powers that weren’t in the federal government’s control to the states… …so it wasn’t like Big Brother was stepping
in to rule over all with an iron fist. They were just trying to… divvy things up
a little more fairly. It also provided a nice little compromise.
No crazy, King George the Third types would be in charge… …but there would be no wussy, powerless government – like there was under the Articles of Confederation either. So, in order to outline an argument for the ratification of the Constitution and for a
strong central government… …a few of our founding fathers; namely James
Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton, created the Federalist Papers. The Papers were published serially over the
course of about a year, so American citizens were introduced gradually, rather than all
at once, to the ideas of these three great thinkers. And you thought it was tough waiting each
week for a new Breaking Bad episode… But while they swayed many minds, there were still plenty of staunch Anti-Federalists… …most of whom were in favor of a weaker federal government. They had done the whole maniacal tyrant thing already and were worried the door was being left open for such a thing to happen again. However, most of them eventually caved and
went along with the majority…under the condition that there be added to the Constitution a
“Bill of Rights”… This was back in the days when opposing members of the government could actually agree on
some things… All the states eventually ratified the constitution… …and the federal government and the states
lived happily ever after… Or did they?

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