Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Historical & Political Studies; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Angela Kachuyevski

Abstract

The focus of my project is American Federalism, a cornerstone of American political thought for centuries. American Federalism is a political system where power is divided between federated states and a central government, and the federated states retain a large portion of their original independence and police powers. The question this project seeks to answer is: How and why did the idea of a federated system, where the states retain their own sphere of sovereignty, become codified in American political thought? Scholars have attempted to answer this question, but their arguments look at American Federalism in a vacuum and ignore the basic fact that political decisions exist in a continuum. In short, all of the presented theories ignore one or more pieces of the timeline or they fail to acknowledge the complexities of a certain piece of the timeline. These theories will be critiqued using the methodology of American Political Development. Using this methodology, I argue federalism became codified in American political thought due to a changing definition of republicanism with heavy influences from a changing definition of a constitution and a desire to change from the established British system.

Comments

PGL Thesis 2020.

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The Codification of American Federalism: An Analysis of Events Preceding the Ratification of the United States Constitution

The focus of my project is American Federalism, a cornerstone of American political thought for centuries. American Federalism is a political system where power is divided between federated states and a central government, and the federated states retain a large portion of their original independence and police powers. The question this project seeks to answer is: How and why did the idea of a federated system, where the states retain their own sphere of sovereignty, become codified in American political thought? Scholars have attempted to answer this question, but their arguments look at American Federalism in a vacuum and ignore the basic fact that political decisions exist in a continuum. In short, all of the presented theories ignore one or more pieces of the timeline or they fail to acknowledge the complexities of a certain piece of the timeline. These theories will be critiqued using the methodology of American Political Development. Using this methodology, I argue federalism became codified in American political thought due to a changing definition of republicanism with heavy influences from a changing definition of a constitution and a desire to change from the established British system.

 
 

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