What is Federalism?

Since the signing of the Constitution, the division of power in the United States has been based on sharing power between the national government and individual state governments. This is known as federalism.


The distribution of power in the United States:

National Government State Government
  • Print money
  • Declare war
  • Provide a defensive force, army, navy and air force
  • Conduct foreign relations
  • Oversee foreign and interstate trade
  • Establish post office
  • Ratify amendments.
  • Manage public health and safety.
  • Oversee trade within the state.
  • Education
  • Regulate intrastate business

Shared powers of the national government and state governments:

  • Make and enforce laws
  • Tax
  • Borrow money
  • Establish courts
  • Support transportation, roads, rail, air, etc.
  • Protect public health and safety