n class we have discussed that federalism is not always consistent in the distribution of powers between Washington DC and the states. Furthermore, the amount of centralization and federal control has been a constant political debate dating back to Jefferson and Hamilton. At times the states seem to have more power while in other instances the federal government has brought more policies under its authority. We have looked at federal land rights, marijuana legalization, and discrimination laws, and there are countless other instances where this relationship is tested – including reducing federal funding for sanctuary cities and states, questioned, or outright rejected. How does a federal system address these questions? Should it be flexible in the delegation of power or does a ridged clear divided between what powers reside where best resolve any potential issues or questions about power?

When is a blurred line best?

When is a clear division best?

In general should more power reside in the states or in the federal government, is your answer different for the challenges of modern day life than for the challenges the founding fathers faced in creating a nation? What similarities still exist?

When responding you do not need to answer each question above, you can answer parts or build on the responses of others. In your answers you should consider what we have discussed in class. You can also bring in other examples of federalism and the power distribution that you have seen in the news or experienced in policies that effect you. You can also draw from the articles posted here looking at Federalism after the Trump election (who in many areas, but not all, pledged to give power back to the states), and one dealing with sanctuary cities.

b) Blackboard assignments: There are five weeks in which I will post an article or two on the topic for that week on blackboard that is in addition to the required course readings. Each student is required to post a response to 2 of the 5 forum postings. I encourage student to continue the dialog with other students in the weeks they decide to post. There will be additional blackboard activities that all students must complete by the date posted. These may include short quizzes and polls designed to show diversity of views toward US political institutions and policies. These assignments are designed as a chance for you to test your understanding of course material, and to apply this information toward your own views toward US politics and policies. They will also help structure in-class discussion of the material.

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