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1. What is Federalism?
About this Lecture
In this module, we lay the groundwork for later modules by establishing just what we mean when we refer to federalism, focusing in particular on: (i) various definitions of federalism; (ii) the origins of federalism in the United States and the importance of the US Constitution; (iii) the differing responsibilities of federal and state governments; (iv) the differing jurisdictions and spheres of authority of federal and state governments; (v) state diversity and competition as two key features of American federalism; (vi) viewing federalism as an ‘agreement to disagree’ and practical examples of this, e.g. marijuana prohibition in Pennsylvania vs in New Jersey; (vii) federalism characterised as shared rule as well as self-rule; (viii) comparisons between federations and confederations; (ix) the importance of sovereignty.
In this course, Professor John Kincaid (Lafayette College) explores the theory and practice of federalism in the United States. In the first module, we lay the groundwork for later modules by establishing just what we mean when we refer to federalism. Then, in the second module, we dive deeper into the specifics of American federalism, before in the third module using the US Constitution as our “way in” to thinking about federalism and Congress. In the fourth module, we similarly use the US Constitution as our “way in” to thinking about federalism, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court, focusing in particular on debates around the Electoral College and the vital role of the Supreme Court as “guardians of the Constitution”. In the fifth module, we explore dual and co-operative federalism, before exploring, in the sixth and final module, coercive or regulatory federalism. Ultimately, the fact that dual, co-operative, and regulatory or coercive federalism can all co-exist simultaneously is emphasised, and examples are given for the role of each in modern America.
Professor John Kincaid is the Robert B. and Helen S. Meyner Professor of Government and Public Service at Lafayette College. He is also the President of the Center for the Study of Federalism, an elected fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, and a co-editor of the Routledge Book Series on Federalism and Decentralization. He has testified before the U.S. Congress on intergovernmental matters, and recently published an article on 'Partisan Fractures in U.S. Federalism’s COVID-19 Policy Responses'.
Cite this Lecture
Kincaid, J. (2022, May 17). US Politics – Federalism - What is Federalism? [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/us-politics-federalism/what-is-federalism
Kincaid, J. "US Politics – Federalism – What is Federalism?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Jun 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/us-politics-federalism/what-is-federalism