Federalism And Intergovernmental Relations Do Essay

However, post-Reconstruction, 'states rights' often became a code word for Jim Crow legislation. Southern states demanded the 'right' for the majority to engage in de facto segregation of schools and to institute limits upon how voting rights were exercised. Many Americans do not know that the Bill of Rights originally was only intended to govern the actions of the federal government, not the states. "The debate over whether the Fourteenth Amendment makes applicable against the states all of the protections of the Bill of Rights is one of the most important and longest-lasting debates involving interpretation of the U.S. Constitution" (Linder 2012). The Supreme Court has found that "provisions of the Bill of Rights: that are "fundamental to the American scheme of justice" (such as the right to trial by jury in a serious criminal case) were made applicable to the states by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment" (Linder 2012). The 20th century would see increasing attention given to individual rights and enhanced control by the federal government over states that tried to legislate those rights away, including access to unsegregated schooling, the right to counsel, and abortion rights.

In general, the balance of power...


This can be seen in the recent debate over education. Education in the United States is locally controlled, for the most part, with districts using property taxes to fund school services. However, the federal government can influence state policies. A good example of this is No Child Left Behind (NCLB) which has changed education in the United States by "requiring tests at multiple grade levels, mandating parent involvement, addressing military access to school campuses, and imposing consequences (like allowing students to transfer out of schools labeled 'in need of improvement') for schools that fail to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)" (the law and its influences on public school districts: An overview, 2012, Center for Public Education). However, this progress is measured by state-given exams, which vary from state to state and there is often widespread variance in how the law is implemented. No matter how far and wide the bureaucracy of Washington may reach, it is unlikely that the U.S. will ever has as centrally a controlled government as the nations of Europe and the other major Western industrialized democracies.

Sources Used in Documents:


The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act. (1998). Africans in America. PBS.

Retrieved at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/index.html

Federalism. (2013). Cornell Law School. Retrieved at:

Education. Retrieved: http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Main-Menu/Public-education/the-law-and-its-influence-on-public-school-districts-an-overview
Retrieved at: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/incorp.htm

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