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A Strong Central Government

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The United States, compared to countries like France, does not have a very strong central government. For example, public education in the United States is almost wholly within the domain of local government. In two-pages, discuss whether or not you believe that in the 21st century Washington should have greater power to dictate national policy. Should the federal government be able to override state policies? If you were to amend the Constitution, would you entrust greater powers to Washington DC and less power to the states? Why or why not? Are state and local governments fundamentally equipped to handle the current public policy challenges of today, or do they lack the expertise to adequately address concerns and issues that may have national implications?

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A Strong Central Government

Will Washington have greater power o dictate national policy? The answer is no. The states' rights versus federal rights have been a fight that has occurred throughout the history of American politics. The debate was discussed as part of the ratification process at a Constitutional Convention in 1787 between the Federalist and Anti-Federalists. This discussion has been debated between political parties and a Civil War. The purpose of the Constitutional Convention was to give the federal government more power as compared to the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution has a balance between states' rights and federal powers. Generally, the states' rights were held in tact with certain limitations. A key limitation is that no state law is superior to the federal law. Also, the federal government has the power to regulate commerce within the United States. The Federalist argued for the powers of the federal government whereas the Anti-Federalist argued against the powers of the federal government and opposed ratification of the Constitution. The Anti-Federalist argued that too much power was given to the federal government and taken away from the states. For example, the new powers given to Congress, Senators would have a six year term and the powers of the president. The Federalist argued that the states would hinder developing commerce. More importantly, a strong government would allow the United States to become a world leader. In order to obtain ratification of the Constitution, the Federalist agreed to the Bill of ...

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A strong central government are discussed.

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o What were the reasons America's forefathers divided the government into the legislative, judicial, and presidential branches? How does this benefit the three branches?

o What obstacles do the division of power present to enactment of important legislation?

o How was the conflict between supporters of a strong federal government and champions of states' rights characterized then as opposed to now? Identify specific issues.

1. What were the reasons America's forefathers divided the government into the legislative, judicial, and presidential branches? How does this benefit the three branches?

The idea that power can be abused if monopolized by one individual is not a new idea. Ancient history is replete with examples of absolute rulers who terrorized neighboring societies as well as their own people. The Roman Caesars drove the Roman Empire to ruin through their megalomania and abuse of power. Louis XIV and Louis XVI of France provided a similarly disastrous leadership style in France. Lord Acton, famed British historian and moralist wrote the following in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." William Pitt served as the British Prime Minister from 1766 to 1778. The dissatisfaction and resentment in the American colonies was building and would lead the Patriot leaders to embrace open rebellion against England in 1776. In 1770 William Pitt, in a speech before the House of Commons, made the following insightful quote. "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it." (McClellan, 2000)

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