The framers of the Constitution were opposed to establishing a strong, centralized federal government. They were more comfortable with strong state governments and a small federal government that performed only carefully articulated duties—17 of them to be exact. This is why they chose federalism as the form of government for the United States. Federalism as established by the framers divides government power between the federal government and the states.
In theory federalism can tilt in favor of the federal government or state governments concerning where the most power resides and which specific powers reside where. The framers clearly intended that the most power would reside with state governments. But their strong-states version of federalism has long been a thing of the past in America. We now have precisely what the framer’s feared: a strong federal government and weak state governments. By centralizing the lion’s share of government power in Washington, D.C., politicians—aided and abetted by the American people—have not just undermined the intent of the framers, they have done what the framers tried to guard against: removed government farther from the people and made it less accessible, less responsive, and less accountable to the public.
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