GOVERNMENT > State
& Local Government > State
State governments have their own constitutions,
similar to that of the national Constitution;
however, the laws made in individual states
cannot conflict with the national Constitution.
Each state's constitution differs from one
another. This is because each state has its
unique history, needs, philosophy, and geography.
During the first 100 years of United States
history, the states did most of the governing
that directly affected the people. The national
government mainly concentrated on foreign
affairs. This is known as "dual
each level of government controlled its own
sphere. However, during this time a rift
began to form between the two over the issue
had sovereignty that would culminate in the
This issue was clarified
following the Civil War. After the war, a series
of constitutional amendments were passed that
spelled out the federal government's control
over social and economic policy and protection
of the civil rights of citizens.
The Civil War Amendment
slavery nor involuntary servitude,
except as a punishment for crime . . . shall exist
the United States."
persons born or naturalized in the United States. . .are citizens of the United States
. . . No State shall make or enforce
any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens
of the United States; nor shall any State deprive
any person of life, liberty, or
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its justification
the equal protection of the laws."
rights of citizens of the United States to
not be denied or abridged by the United
States or by any State on account
of race, color, or previous condiction of servitude."
1860, dual federalism continued, but the power
of the federal government began to strengthen.
The Great Depression in the 1930s brought the
end of dual federalism. States were unable to
cope with the economic upheaval. Instead,
President Roosevelt's "New Deal" brought about a
system of "cooperative federalism". Instead of
assigning specific functions to each level of
goverrnment, Roosevelt encouraged the national,
state, and local governments to work together on
A system of government where the states governed
the people directly and the national government
concerned itself with issues relating to foreign
Sovereign: Above or superior to all others;
chief; greatest; supreme dominion or power.