Conflicts over the respective roles of national and state governments have been around since America’s beginning. The Civil War was fought over questions of states’ rights: Can a state create a law that allows for slavery? Does a state have the right to secede from the Union?
Even today people disagree on how much power the federal government should have; some would like the states to have more power. An area where this debate has made the news in recent years includes:
Illegal Immigration – Is protecting America’s border with Mexico mainly a federal or a state issue? What laws – state or federal – have been broken when a person enters the U.S. illegally? What should a state do if the current federal methods aren’t working? Does a state governor have the authority to enforce federal laws against illegal immigration? Can a state use its laws against trespassing as a means to arrest illegal aliens?
Analyze the historical conflict including the limits on national and state government, and draw conclusions as to whether you agree with decisions that were made. Identify the pros and cons of limiting state powers and give your opinion on how much power the states should have as compared with the federal government.