In section 2.1 of the textbook under the section, The Idea of Federalism, list the three Forms of Government mentioned. Identify the form of government the United States adopted? Define one of the three forms of government.
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The Idea of Federalism
Federalism is a system of government in which the national government and state governments share power within the same political system. As the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in 2001, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing tragedy of mass shootings have all demonstrated, a single event may trigger action by officials at both levels of government.
Key term: federalism
A system of government in which both the national and state governments share power within the same political system
In a federal system, both the national and state governments have jurisdiction over individuals. For example, in preparation for the tax-filing deadline each year, individual citizens perform tasks resulting directly from the existence of a federal system. Taxpayers must file returns with the national government; in most states (those that choose to have income taxes), they must also file returns with state governments. The duty of filing national and state tax returns illustrates an important point about federalism: Individuals receive services both from Washington, DC, and their state capitals, and they must consequently send money to two different levels of government.
The federal system is a compromise between a strong central government and a league of separate states. Because the states ultimately had to approve any change to the new constitution being created in 1787, the challenge for the framers was clear: How could a stronger national government be created without, at the same time, instilling so much fear in the states that the proposed new structure would be rejected? The states, after all, were already in place. The framers pressed for change, but not so much change that their efforts would fail. The result was a federal system.
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