U. S. Government: Democracy In Action

Chapter 4: The Federal System

Student Web Activity

"American Federalism"

In this chapter you have studied the division of powers between the state and national governments, the evolution of American federalism, and how federalism impacts politics. This activity takes a closer look at the formation of the United States system of government and how it has been able to adapt to the changing needs of society.

Destination Title: Liberty and Limits

Note: Clicking on the link above will launch a new browser window.
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Start at the Liberty and Limits Web site.

  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "The Ideas."
  • There are four topics presented under this heading (If Men Were Angels . . ., The Nation and the States, Government and the Individual, and Federalism Re-Examined). Read through each topic, taking notes as you go.

After you have read through the information, answer the following questions.

What did James Madison say was the "great difficulty" in framing a government that is to be administered by men over men?
At the Constitutional Convention, how did the Framers satisfy the need to have a government that could control the governed? How did they solve the problem of getting the government to control itself?
Under the heading "Federalism Re-Examined," how does the author describe the likely reaction of the Framers if they could see what government is like today?
What factors have contributed to the many changes that have taken place in the role of the federal government?
James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay were leading Federalists strongly in favor of the new Constitution. Choose one of these men and conduct additional research. Then write a one-page biographical sketch on a separate sheet of paper.
US Government: Democracy In Action
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