.How does Federalism divide powers of government?


The Framers of the Constitution were dedicated to the concept of limited government. They believed (1) that any governmental power threatens individual liberty, (2) that therefore the exercise of governmental power must be curbed, and (3) that to divide governmental power is to restrict it and thus prevent its abuse.

What is federalism?

Federalism is a system of government in which a written constitution divides the powers of government on a territorial basis.

The division is made between a central, or national, government and several regional or local governments.

 Each level of government has its own area of powers.

Neither level, acting alone, can change the basic division of powers the constitution makes between them.

Each level operates through its own agencies and acts directly on the people through its own officials and laws.

How does it divide powers of government?

Quite simply, federalism allows local and state governments to make laws about certain things and the national government to make laws about other things.

These laws can not conflict with each other (example: Colorado could not make a law forbidding women to vote because the national government has said it is a right for all citizens of this country).

Hence, the national government has the power to make laws over a variety of things but the Constitution (10th amendment) says that state and local governments have power to make laws over everything else that the national government doesn't make laws about. For example, the national government has made a law saying that everyone has the right to vote at age 18 and it is no different in any state. However, the states have the power to determine the speed limit in their state and the national government has no say on what the speed limit should be in any of the states.

Often, they share the power to make laws about certain issues. For example, there are national laws about gun rights and restrictions that all states must follow. However, Colorado also has laws that are more specific about what rights Colorado residents have concerning guns in Colorado, such as Colorado is the only state that doesn't require a permit for handgun owners.

Examples of how federalism divides powers of government