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How autonomous (or independent) do you think states should be from the federal government?

Argument on policy issue between state and federal government

 American Government

First Paper

(Must be submitted viaTurnitin link on Blackboard)

About 3-4 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman)

Federalism is undoubtedly one of the key features of the American government. Like any other fundamental feature of government, written law (especially in the Constitution) does not comprehensively determine the distribution of power between the central government and states.This distribution of power evolves over time, and depends on the policy issue.

Assignment: Pick a policy issue (other than marijuana legalization or transportation funding, as in the assigned reading). Critically argue whether the states or the federal government are better placed to take primary responsibility for that issue. By this, I mean that you should think about (to the extent applicable for your case):

  • Who should be responsible for funding?
  • Who should be responsible for determining the rules?
  • In general, how autonomous (or independent) do you think states should be from the federal government

You should start your paper by summarizing some of the ways that both the federal government and state governments are involved in this policy issue you choose.

This is not a full-scale research paper, but you should still include hyperlinks or basic citations for your claims. This means you should have a basic bibliography at the end, but I’m not picky about how it is formatted as long as it is clear where you are getting information from. If you would like some guidance on what kinds of sources make sense, feel free to ask me.

The following are good places to look:

  • News articles
  • Academic articles/book chapters that discuss the policy issue you have in mind (these can be found using JSTOR, Google Scholar, or other sites. Your Baruch library login gives you access to many of these kinds of source)
  • Congressional Budget Office website for information on spending, or state budget summaries if you choose to compare more

How much you choose to rely on each type of source is entirely up to you. For those of you who are political science majors (or even if you just anticipate writing more robust papers in the future), I encourage you to try to rely more on academic sources

Please note that the following are not good sources:

  • Wikipedia
  • Websites that are clearly biased opinion sites or blogs
  • Unrobust statistical aggregator sites like Statista (if you have a source you’re unsure about, let me know)


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