The Structure of American Federalism

The Structure of American Federalism

The Structure of American Federalism

The Structure of American Federalism

Excerpt

In Spite of the large number of books on American government now in existence, there is at present no study available which sets out to present the American federal structure as a single system of government, combining both the political and constitutional elements of federalism. Most presentations of the American governmental system tend to treat the Federal and State systems separately, linking them only by a chapter or section on 'intergovernmental relations'. Recently Professor William Anderson has approached the subject from the opposite direction in his monograph Intergovernmental Relations in Review, University of Minnesota Press, 1960, but as the present book was in page-proof when his work appeared, I was unable to include any comment upon it. The work presented here is not intended as an exhaustive text on American federalism, but as a re-examination of the working of the American federal system, and the implications of this for the understanding of the nature of federalism itself.

Federalism in the United States is not merely one aspect of the governmental system of that country, but is the expression of an attitude towards government which pervades the whole structure. We must look at federalism in the United States as a single integrated system of government, one in which the constitutional structure, and legislative, administrative and judicial activities, combine with the operation of the party system, and of pressure groups, to provide a single highly complex organization within which, it is contended, Federal and State governments are linked together in a mutually interdependent political relationship. An attempt is made here to present an integrated picture of American federalism in these terms, and to formulate a redefinition of the nature of federalism, which embraces the political, as well as the legal, aspects of this form of government.

In the preparation of any academic work, the writer benefits from contacts and discussion with a large number of people, and one whose name I would particularly like to mention in this connexion is Derek Crabtree, of the University of Exeter. Although this book grew out of a thesis on American and Australian federa-

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