Over the past 20 years, the balance of power is beginning to tilt back toward the states.
President, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush tried to slow down the
Growth of the National Government under the banner of “New Federalism.”
Richard Nixon declared an open attempt to reverse the flow of power to the Federal
Government back to the states. In his winning campaign in 1980, Ronald Reagan
Claimed that the Federal Government, in it’s attempt to improve society, was actually
Eroding individual freedoms. Then 1994, when republicans took control of both Houses
Of Congress, the leaders of the Devolution Revolution attempted to return many
Functions to the states.
Before the Great Depression and New Deal, experts often compared federalism to a
Layer cake. Each layer of Government, National, State, and Local had responsibilities
Separated clearly by a distinct covering of ‘icing.’ This interpretation is known as Dual
Federalism, which each level of Government dominating it’s own sphere. The Supreme
Court served as an umpire between the National and State Governments in case of a
Dispute. But Franklin Roosevelt changed all that.
The Federal New Deal Programs cast the States in supporting cooperative roles with a
Clearly dominant National Government.
One sign of growth of the national government was large # of categorical grants to
States for a specific purpose often states must contribute money to match Federal funds, but categorical grants almost always come with a great many strings attached that
Demonstrate the Supremacy of the National Government.
In the past, some states allowed people 18 years of age to drink, while others set
The legal drinking age to 21. Passing a national drinking age might be unconstitutional,
Unless congress could prove that such legislation was ‘necessary and proper.’ Congress
Avoided controversy by requiring all states that receive highway funds to set the drinking
Age at 21. No states could afford to lose these funds, so they had no choice but to
When Richard Nixon became president in 1969, he backed a revenue sharing plan that
Channeled federal dollars back to the states, ...