POL203Y1 Lecture Notes - American Political Development, Sherman Antitrust Act, Dual Federalism

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Published on 11 Nov 2011
Political Science
POL203Y1: U.S. Government and Politics
October 6th, 2011.
Federalism and American Political Development: From the New Deal
The Development of Federalism
1800-1860: Jeffersonian-Jacksonian era - decentralized federalism
1860-1880’s: civil war and the failure of reconstruction
1880-1930: the progressive era: new conflicts over federalism
The Progressive Era and Conflict over Federalism
• They wanted to increase the power of the national state
The Interstate Commerce: congress adopted laws to regulate railroads and large corporations,
which were mostly directed to interstate commerce, this was a problem because railroads were in
the position to charge monopoly charges, states couldn’t effectively regulate railroads because
they were too easy to bribe and the supreme court limited the power of states to regulate
businesses which are directly connected to interstate commerce because that wasn’t in their
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act: trying to regulate trusts (organized firms that are created to
obey state limitations on monopolies),
Dual federalism: courts are trying to draw the line somewhere (state side, people are making
things i.e. production and the other side is commerce, i.e. regulation but not making things)
Opposition to federalism mainly lied within the courts, problem was with the attempt to
establish a federal police power (keeping people safe and happy)
The Federal Child Labour: wants to prevent the movements of goods produced by children
under the age of 14 but this didn’t pass because the children weren’t actually passing through
state lines (this was decided in the Hammer v. Dagenhart case)
The New Deal
Two main purposes:
1) FDR wanted to create a modern social safety net
2) Manage economic competition, so that the economic breakdown of the depression would
not occur again
Social security act: old age insurance, unemployment compensation etc.,
Tax offset: tax imposed on employers and then it will be removed if states adopt an
unemployment insurance
Introduced the use of federal grants, categorical grants and bloc grants as an attempt to get
national government to get state government to adopt new policies
Two levels of government become deeply intertwined
Example of certain aspects of new deal that caused controversies: wickard v. fillburn- dealt
with agricultural adjustment act which gave the government the power to set a floor/bottom
price, if you set products at a certain level than you get to decide what is being produced, the
case was about a marketing penalty which was imposed on fillburn (couldn’t market any of his
goods because of this infraction)- his crime was growing wheat in excess of his quota to feed his
family and animals, he argued that it was not interstate commerce, courts argued that if you
allowed fillburn to produce extra wheat to feed family than you would have to allow other
farmers to the do same and then the price of food will go down, which is a problem to the state
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