Division of Powers

 
 
 
 
In the American system of government there is a division of power between the states and the federal government that is embodied in the United States Constitution. At different times in our history, relative levels of power may shift from one to the other, but at all times there are certain functions relegated to the states and certain functions that are handled in Washington, D.C. One of the themes in American political history is federalism as seen in various arguments over whether the balance of power has shifted too much one way or the other, with some believing that all power should devolve to the states, with the federal government performing only a few tasks, such as the national defense, while others see a much stronger role for the federal government based on ideas of fairness and equity so that a citizen can move from one state to another and find essentially the same laws and the same benefits. At the present time, the new Congress is involved in an effort to shift power back to the states, and this may mean greater innovation and greater opportunity for states such as New Hampshire to shape policies and programs in an individual way to meet the needs of local citizens. In any case, there are certain roles and functions which belong to state government and which have traditionally been administered by the states.

The system that has developed was based first on arguments among the Founding Fathers over the proper role of a central government and the power that

     
 
 
 
    

 

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