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Federalism: The Historical Trends and National/State Power Balance Outline - page 2 / 5





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Dred Scott had been a slave who had lived with his owner in the free territory of Minnesota and Illinois. When his owner died, he applied for freedom citing a federal law, the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which made slavery illegal in a free state or territory. Justice Taney said the law did not apply.

Civil War and the Limitation of States’ Rights through 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments

Dual Federalism, Industrialization, and Laissez Faire Capitalism


Although the Civil War preserved the Union, a new challenge to federalism was surfacing that involved economic questions.

The Challenge: Constitutional doctrine held that certain policy areas, such as interstate commerce and defense, were the clear and exclusive province of national authority, while other policy areas, such as public health and intrastate commerce, belonged clearly and exclusively to the states. This is DUAL FEDERALISM.

Dual Federalism: the power one possesses the other does not. In other words, dual federalism recognizes separate and distinct spheres of authority for the national and state governments.

Layer cake metaphor.

The Industrial Revolution raised questions about the usefulness of dual federalism as a governing concept.

The rapid growth of industry had given rise to large firms, which used their economic power to exploit workers and markets.

Government was the only counterforce against their economic power.

Who would regulate industry? Federal or state governments?

During this time period the Supreme Court was dominated by those who believed in the doctrine of laissez-faire capitalism. So they tended to frustrate efforts at regulating industry.

(Laissez-faire Capitalism)

Philosophy that holds that business should be "allowed to act" without interference.

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