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Federalism Timeline

  • Blue = More Federal Power

    Blue = More Federal Power
  • Red = More State Power

    Red = More State Power
  • Articles of Confederation

    Articles of Confederation
    The Articles created a loose confederation of sovereign states and a weak central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments. The need for a stronger Federal government soon became apparent and eventually led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
  • Constitutional Convention

    Constitutional Convention
    The Convention was intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, chief among them James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington to preside over the Convention. The result of the Convention was the creation of the United States Constitution, placing the Convention among the most significant events in the history of the United States.
  • Supremacy Clause (Article 6, Section 2)

    Supremacy Clause (Article 6, Section 2)
    The Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2) establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land. A landmark case representing one of the earliest examples of the use of the Supremacy Clause is that of McCulloch v. Maryland. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the State of Maryland had no legal right to tax the Second Bank of the US as a Federal entity.
  • 10th Amendment

    10th Amendment
    It expresses the principle of federalism and states' rights, which strictly supports the entire plan of the original Constitution for the United States of America, by stating that the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the United States Constitution. All remaining powers are reserved for the states or the people.
  • McCulloch v Maryland

    McCulloch v Maryland
    In McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had implied powers under the Necessary and Proper Clause of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution to create the Second Bank of the United States and that the state of Maryland lacked the power to tax the Bank. When the Maryland courts upheld this law, the Bank, in the name of its Baltimore branch cashier James W. McCulloch, appealed to the Supreme Court.
  • Gibbons v. Ogden

    Gibbons v. Ogden
    Gibbons v. Ogden was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the power to regulate interstate commerce, granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, encompassed the power to regulate navigation. In this case, the Supreme Court held that Congress has implied powers derived from those listed in Article I, Section 8. The “Necessary and Proper” Clause gave Congress the power to establish a national bank.
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    Civil War BLUE

    America’s bloodiest clash, the sectional conflict of the Civil War pitted the Union against the Confederate States of America and resulted in the death of more than 620,000, with millions more injured. The election of the anti-slavery Republican Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 caused seven southern states to secede from the Union to form the Confederate States of America
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    Formation of Land-Grant Colleges RED

    A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of higher education in the United States designated by a state to receive the benefits of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. Today there are 17 1890 institutions. In addition to being part of the land grant system, these 17 1890 schools are among the more than 100 historically black colleges and universities in the United States.
  • 14th Amendment

    14th Amendment
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
  • Sherman Anti-Trust Act

    Sherman Anti-Trust  Act
    The Sherman Anti-Trust Act is a landmark federal statute in the history of United States antitrust law (or "competition law") passed by Congress in 1890 under the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was the first Federal act that outlawed monopolistic business practices. The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 was the first measure passed by the U.S. Congress to prohibit trusts.
  • Plessy v. Ferguson

    Plessy v. Ferguson
    Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896) was a landmark constitutional law case of the US Supreme Court decided in 1896. It upheld state racial segregation laws for public facilities under the doctrine of "separate but equal". The Court said that a state law that “implies merely a legal distinction” between the two races did not conflict with the 13th Amendment forbidding involuntary servitude, nor did it tend to reestablish such a condition.
  • 16th Amendment

    16th Amendment
    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
  • Gitlow v. New York

    Gitlow v. New York
    In Gitlow v. New York, the Court ruled state and local governments could not limit the right to freedom of speech. Supreme Court rulings over time has limited the right of states to make laws that limit the rights and privileges granted to citizens in the Constitution.
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    New Deal BLUE

    The New Deal was a series of federal programs, public work projects, and financial reforms and regulations, enacted in the United States during the 1930s in response to the Great Depression. These programs included support for the farmers, the unemployed, the youth, and the elderly, as well as the new constraints and safeguards on the banking industry and changes to the monetary system.
  • Civil Rights Act of 1963

    Civil Rights Act of 1963
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, is considered one of the crowning legislative achievements of the civil rights movement.
  • Economic Opportunity Act of 1964

    Economic Opportunity Act of 1964
    The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 authorized the formation of local Community Action Agencies as part of the War on Poverty. These agencies are directly regulated by the federal government. The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 (EOA) was the centerpiece of the "War on Poverty," part of the legislative agenda of the Lyndon Johnson administration. The EOA provided for job training, adult education, to reduce unemployment and poverty.
  • Roe v. Wade

    Roe v. Wade
    Roe v. Wade, is a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy. The US Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, affirms the legality of a woman's right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth amendment to the Constitution.
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    Reagan Presidency RED

    Ronald Reagan was a Republican President from 1981-1989. Ronald Reagan's first months in office could mark the beginning of a reversal in the role the federal government has played over the last half-century. The changes Reagan is seeking in the name of “new federalism” are part of his announced effort to cut taxes, trim spending and significantly reduce “Washington's influence” over the states.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
    Passed by Congress in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation's first comprehensive civil rights law addressing the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.
  • Planned Parenthood v. Casey

    Planned Parenthood v. Casey
    Planned Parenthood v. Casey, was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the constitutionality of several Pennsylvania state statutory provisions regarding abortion was challenged. In Casey, a more recent Supreme Court not only affirmed Roe's abortion right, but broadened the states authority to regulate it. And yet the decision remains as controversial as Roe, not just politically or morally, but legally.
  • United States v. Lopez

    United States v. Lopez
    In United States v. Lopez (1995), the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had exceeded its constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause when it passed a law prohibiting gun possession in local school zones.The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist and released in 1995, ruled that the Gun-Free School Zones Act was unconstitutional. The Court ruled that the act exceeded the limited powers of Congress under the Constitution.
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    104th Congress RED

    Republicans swept the 1994 elections and won control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. President Bill Clinton successfully vetoed Republican spending and tax cuts; an ensuing budget impasse resulted in two government shutdowns. In 1996, Congress and the White House compromised on an overhaul of the nation’s welfare system. The power is being shifted from the federal government to the state governments.
  • Printz v. United States

    Printz v. United States
    Jay Printz, a law enforcement officer from Arizona, sued to challenge the constitutionality of the Brady Act provision that required him and other local chief law enforcement officials (CLEOs) to conduct background checks on prospective gun purchasers. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion. He stated that early federal statutes did not suggest that Congress thought it had the power to direct the actions of State executive officials.
  • Development of the Department of Homeland Security

    Development of the Department of Homeland Security
    The Department of Home;and Security was created in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The DHS has largely focused on federal preparations to deal with terrorism while trying to manage other duties, including border security, customs and emergency management.
  • Affordable Care Act

    Affordable Care Act
    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often shortened to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or nicknamed Obamacare, is a United States federal statute enacted by the 111th United States Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. Changes made to the law by subsequent legislation, focuses on provisions to expand coverage, control health care costs, and improve health care delivery system.