Kentucky Politics & Government: Do We Stand United?

By Penny M. Miller | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE
Kentucky in the Federal System: Dependence and Resistance

Kentucky has long maintained an ambivalent relationship with the federal government, both depending on the national government and resisting its influence. This dependence-resistance is one form of the divisiveness that has characterized Kentucky's political past. Kentuckians also have defined themselves as a part of the region of which Kentucky is the northern boundary, often as an especially needy neighbor among the southern states. As noted in chapter 2, Kentucky's southern connection has divided it since statehood. These two themes--dependence-resistance and peripheral southernness--pervade much of the state's past and present relations with other governments. At the same time, the form that these themes have taken has changed (as have all aspects of life in Kentucky) with the state's changing economic, cultural, and political development.

Kentucky has repeatedly sought rescue by the federal government. Throughout the generations, the state has often relied on its national political influence, based on the seniority and eloquence of its congressional delegation. At other times--and even at the same time--Kentucky has viewed the federal government as her people's principal enemy, the political leadership's whipping boy, scapegoat, and excuse.

Intergovernmental outcomes do not always evidence those two extremes. Variously labeled "models" of federalism (more than 326 classifications) have been offered by scholars.1 These divergent models include the dominant "dual federalism" model of the period from the signing of the U.S. Constitution until the New Deal, a pattern suggesting equality between the national and state governments; the alternative model of "cooperative federalism," continuing from President Franklin D. Roosevelt until the mid-1960s (sometimes called "marble cake federalism"2), denoting the intertwined

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