The protection of individual rights and the division of power between the national government and the states are core principles upon which American governance is built, but how well do these concepts work together and to what extent could they be at cross purposes? American Federalism and Individual Rights presents both of these founding concepts and explores their compatibility through policy-specific studies, including civil rights, education, marriage equality, and physician-assisted death. Written for anyone interested in American politics, the author presents all of the foundational information one would need to make their own assessment of how federalism works to either promote or undermine the protection of the individual in these policy areas along with suggestions for further study.
Stephanie Mora Walls is associate professor of political science at Bowling Green State University.
Part One: Foundational Concepts
Chapter 1: American Federalism: Origins and Debate
Chapter 2: American Federalism in Practice
Chapter 3: Individual Rights
Part Two: Federalism and Policy
Chapter 4: Federalism and Civil Rights
Chapter 5: Federalism and Education
Chapter 6: Federalism and Same-Sex Marriage
Chapter 7: Federalism and Physician-Assisted Death
Part Three: Conclusions
Chapter 8: American Federalism and Individual Rights
Chapter 9: The Future of Federalism and Rights
This book explains American federalism in simple terms. As its title implies, the author's thesis is that the constitutional framers wanted federalism to protect individual rights, as another check on governmental abuses and unwanted concentrations of power. Walls reviews the historic arguments for federalism and then tests the thesis that federalism is compatible with individual rights, examining civil rights, education, same-sex marriage, and physician-assisted suicide for evidence. Her conclusion is that federalism is not inherently opposed to individual rights, but that it does not always necessarily support them either. The book offers a sympathetic, cogent description and defense of federalism, developing a good roadmap for its evaluation and outlining what needs to be done in the future to strengthen state and national government cooperation. An excellent contribution to collections on US politics. Recommended.