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Federalism and the Making of America

The discussion topic

In this book, the author has embarked on a historical expedition of the development of federalism in America’s political development. In his book, he has focused on the history of federalism which he says has evolved throughout America’s history (Robertson 2011, 29). In his argument, he asserts that the balance between the national government and the state government has been changing significantly. In Part II of the book, the author has focused on dual federalism and its nature which represents America’s political development within the first 150 years after independence (Robertson 2011, 19).

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Critiquing the writer’s argument

As outlined in the constitution, there were to be two forms of government in the United States, the national and the state government (Robertson 2011, 21). According to the author, the roles of the two governments were stipulated to avoid replication of federal functions. The national government is responsible for national defense, foreign policy, and commerce (Robertson 2011, 27). On the other hand, the state governments deal with local matters, economic regulations, as well as criminal law (Robertson 2011, 28). The two levels of government had their roles well defined such that their functions rarely overlap. According to the author, the nature of the American government changed significantly in the industrialization period (Robertson 2011, 53). This was in the late 19th and early 21st centuries.

In his argument and ideas, I think the writer is very careful to establish his claims backed by a strong base of proof and references. The writer has eloquently presented his points in a manner that satisfies his readers. The book has developed a premise that seeks to explain the development of America’s dual form of governance. He has clearly outlined the processes and steps that led to the formation of the two forms of government under the topic ‘Federalism at the founding’ (Robertson 2011, 19).

His explanation of the process of dividing power is assimilated in the book as he outlines the tools of everyday governing and the limits therein. He has made his argument by presenting the facts on the process of splitting powers and the limitations of each governing level which supports his politically observable facts.

My points

My points will be significantly aligned with the writer’s argument in the development of federalism in the United States (Edsitement 2015). I believe the changes that have occurred over the years are a result of America’s strong belief in democracy. America’s political structure has shaped a political arrangement that is emulated all over the world. Federalism has been one of the greatest features that give the country a unique position in global politics (Edsitement 2015). However, I believe that the roles of the national and states governments are in most cases distinct but full of challenges and power struggles. The national government has an upper hand in most of the important decisions that are crucial to the state government. This has been the main contentious issue over the years regarding America’s federalism.


Does the national government take precedence over decisions made by the state-level governments and does this serve the purpose of dual federalism?


In some ways, the federal government supersedes the state government, and the cooperation between the two is hardly friendly. However, in matters concerning political governance, the state governments have the liberty to form their political structures.

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Excitement. 2015. “The Federalist and Anti-federalist Debates on Diversity and the Extended Republic.” Web.

Robertson, David. 2011. Federalism and the Making of America. New York: Routledge.

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