Relations between States
The division of political power in a federal system, between the national government and the states, automatically produces relations between the latter. These relations may be cooperative as manifested by interstate compacts, uniform state laws, reciprocity statutes, administrative agreements, and regional and national associations of state government officials. On the other hand, such relations can be hostile. A 1964 front page headline in The New York Times was entitled "Iowa is Called Aggressor State: Nebraska Fears Shooting War." 1 This dispute, resolved peaceably, involved the Missouri River which serves as the boundary line between the two states and has shifted its course periodically.
Interstate relations involve an important spectrum of economic, political, and social matters, yet there has been relatively little academic interest in the subject for more than fifty years. The Annals has published special issues devoted to intergovernmental relations and federalism. The 1940 issue contained six articles on interstate relations, but the number of articles on this subject declined to two in the 1974 issue and to zero in the 1990 issue. 2 This academic neglect is surprising since the economic and political health of the nation is dependent upon comity in interstate relations.
A foreign observer of the U.S. federal system probably would conclude that interstate relations generally are chaotic and the national government possesses only limited authority to create order out of the chaos. One cannot deny the fact that the lack of uniformity of policy in many fields, resulting from general state autonomy in these fields, causes serious problems for numerous business firms and individuals, as highlighted in subsequent chapters. To understand current interstate relations, it is essential to review briefly the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union and the U.S. Constitution relative to the complexities of the sharing of sovereignty by Congress and the states.