VII.2: What Does “Federal” Mean?

The word ‘federal’ refers to the division of governing power between a nation and its sub-regions or states. It is confusing that in America it has become common to use the word “federal government” to refer to the national government alone. It would be far clearer to use the phrase “national government” for that purpose. … Read more

VI.3: National versus State Sovereignty

The American Civil War was not just about slavery, though that was the hot-button issue. The bigger issue in that war was national versus state sovereignty or power. That included a state’s right to allow slavery. And while it’s true that most southerners believed slavery was necessary for their economy, many wanted it slowly abolished. … Read more

VI.1: The Fight over the US Constitution

The Articles of Confederation acted as a “federal constitution” for the original thirteen American states, but it had no enforcing power. The story of the fight over the US Constitution begins after the War for Independence. At that time, the state governments ignored the Articles of Confederation. In fact, they refused to cooperate on much … Read more