Saturday, May 16, 2009

States' Rights and the Tenth Amendment

The debate over federalism that began at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 continues even today.

The State Legislatures of Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota have recently approved resolutions claiming their sovereignty under the Constitution's 10th Amendment. These resolutions claim the federal government has acted unconstitutionally by interfering in state matters ranging from education to drunken driving.

Similar measures are being considered in over 20 other states. Though the measures are being passed during the Obama administration, many of these resolutions were first introduced during George W. Bush's tenure. Proponents of these resolutions claim that they are attempting to un-d0 decades of over-stepping by federal authorities.

The National Constitution Center has an entire section of its permanent exhibition dedicated to explaining the concept of federalism, but if you can't make it to the Center, your students can further investigate the controversies surrounding federalism in American history by visiting the Center's Citizenship Timeline and Interactive Constitution.

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