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The Evolution of Government Based on Dual Federalism in the State of Texas

Since the United States Constitution was put into effect in 1789, the United States has run on a federalism based government, meaning national and state powers are divided. Throughout history, the type of federalism put into effect has changed. After the Civil War and Reconstruction period had ended, dual federalism was put into practice, and stayed in effect until the early twentieth century. Dual federalism is comprised of a small amount of power granted to the national government and a larger amount granted to state government. Political scientist. Morton Grozdins, described dual federalism as “layer-cake federalism”, as the powers of government as separated like the layers on a cake (Champagne, 42).

Between 1957 and 1968, layer-cake federalism began evolving into “marble-cake federalism”, which is a form of federalism where state and national powers become more incorporated and begin to overlap each other. Unlike layer-cake federalism, the state government does not have more power than the national government. This type of federalism was brought on by the expansion of national government in order to protect the rights of minorities (43).

In Texas, parties began to form with ideologies that preferred one form of federalism over the other. The Progressive movement, which favored a stronger role in national government, began when Woodrow Wilson was elected president in 1912. Progressives would move closer to marble-cake federalism as they believed the state government should not have more power than the national government (47). After World War I, national power expanded due to the fear of communists and radicals after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. State governments lost the power to elect Senators by state legislatures rather than the votes of citizens. The ratification of the woman’s suffrage amendment and the income tax amendment also lessened the power of state government by eliminating their individual choice in the matter. The national government’s role in addressing financial problems was greatly increased by the establishment of the Federal Reserve, which serves as a central bank for the United States (49).

Due to a shift in Republican dominance in Texas in the 1980s, the Texas Republican Party known as the Tea Party, established under the leadership of Governor Rick Perry. The core belief was that national government had grown too powerful and intrusive on the lives of individuals. Another belief of the party was that national government spending would lead to a bankrupt nation (57). The Tea Party wanted the power of the national government to be weakened, especially its power to regulate interstate commerce, and the power of the state government to be enhanced. The Tea Party also believes the Constitution should be interpreted to protect states’ rights under the Tenth Amendment, which states all powers not granted to the national government should be given to the states (59). The ideology of the Tea Party reflects more closely with layer-cake federalism, as it calls for a clear distinction between state and national powers, and prefers for the national government to have a weaker role than the state government in terms of power.

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