- How to Write a Research Paper - A Research Guide for Students
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- II. States in the Federal System
The proposition is in direct contraction to federal policy but was allowed to stand by the Court. Not all attempts to assert state sovereignty succeed.
How to Write a Research Paper - A Research Guide for Students
In , in Garcia v. San Antonio MTA, the Court added to a long line of decisions, beginning with the New Deal, that permitted federal regulation of the conditions of labor for state and local employees, including minimum wage, maximum hours, and the right to unionize. In the early 21st century, the boundaries between state and federal authority remain unclear. In the area of medical marijuana, for example, at least 14 states have laws that permit the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and several have decriminalized marijuana altogether.
However, marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and there have been numerous incidents, notably in California, where medical marijuana dispensaries, operating in a manner consistent with state law, have been shut down by federal authorities. In the Gonzales v. This particular federal—state dispute remains active as more states indicate the likelihood of relaxing marijuana laws at the state level.
States remain vibrant, vital sovereign actors in American politics. Constitutional provisions, centuries-old practice, and Supreme Court decision making will ensure that state—federal tension remains a significant dynamic in the system. One of the frequently cited benefits of an American-style federal system is the variety offered by the existence of 50 sovereign states. This diversity provides a number of benefits. It provides an array of opportunities and options for American citizens in terms of economic opportunity and lifestyle choices.
Political scientist Daniel Elazar observed three distinct political cultures in the United States. These allow for the prediction of quality of life, business climate, expansiveness of government programming, and other features. Anyone traveling around the United States can observe differences in speed limits, motorcycle helmet laws, hours of operation of bars, and severity of punishment for crimes three-strikes laws and the presence of a death penalty. These obvious differences among states are the surface manifestations of the considerable leeway that states have to determine policy agendas.
Many observers note that some of the most significant policy innovations in contemporary American history have begun as experiments at the state level. Welfare-to-work programs, universal health insurance, charter schools, and family leave policies are in this category. As noted, however, the presence of state autonomy with regard to public policy can produce inequities among Americans that derive from the state in which they live.
Federal laws such as the No Child Left Behind Act attempt to mandate a national standard for education. Federal programs such as Food Stamps and Medicaid ensure a base level of benefits to the poor regardless of geography. Even with these programs, there is considerable variation in the funding levels and quality of services from state to state. Article IV of the U. Constitution lays out several rules that must be followed by all states if they are to be members of the union: Each state shall give full faith and credit to the records and documents of every other state, citizens of every state shall have all the privileges and immunities granted to citizens of each state, and every state shall have a republican form of government.
Article I, Section 10 prohibits states from doing certain things: coining money, entering into treaties, passing ex post facto laws, among others.
22+ Research Paper Outline Examples and How to Write Them
Beyond these relatively few requirements, states are free to design their own forms of government. Although there is some variety from one state to the next in constitutional structures and processes, most states mimic the national level of government, with three branches, checks and balances, regularly scheduled elections, substate units of government with some degree of autonomy, and some set of civil rights and liberties guaranteed to the citizens. Beyond those basic structural similarities lie significant differences among state constitutions.
Massachusetts has the oldest constitution, adopted in Most state constitutions are relatively easy to amend, including by popular initiative. In 17 states, the constitution can be amended by majority vote of the legislature. In 18 states, the constitution can be amended by majority vote of the electorate. Thirty-one states have constitutional amendments restricting the definition of marriage to a union between one man and one woman.
The result is a proliferation of provisions attached to many state constitutions. One of the most controversial recent uses of the state constitution amendment process has been in the area of gay marriage. In the United States, demands for equal treatment for all citizens regardless of race, gender, religion, age, and disability have been made and resolved, for the most part, at both the state and national levels. Such demands for equality in the matter of sexual orientation are still contested terrain in U. Family law is typically the province of state governments, and so the battle about the legality of same-sex marriages is being fought in that arena.
Since state courts, state attorneys general, and local town clerks have frequently found no basis in law for denying a marriage license to same-sex couples, many states have responded by defining marriage as between one man and one woman either by statute in 12 states or by an amendment to the state constitution in 29 states.
Virtually all of these amendments have been adopted since Most notably, in California, in November , voters approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
This vote came only months after a California court had ruled same-sex marriage as constitutional in that state. The ease with which many state constitutions can be amended by both legislatures and voters have resulted in some constitutions with hundreds of amendments: South Carolina with , California with , and Alabama with 1, The result is constitutions that are weighed down with anachronistic policy mandates; confusing, overlapping, and conflicting prohibitions; and special protections for groups that have been savvy enough to take advantage of the amendment process.
Starting in the s and continuing to this day, most states have been undertaking a process of constitutional reform to address some of the flaws of these wordy, policy-laden documents. Bowman and Kearney reveal that between and , every state altered its constitution to some degree, and 10 states replaced their constitutions completely. The process of reform, which is connected to similar trends in other areas of state government to be discussed in subsequent sections, continues. The governor is the chief executive of the state, charged with the day-to-day operation of the state.
Yet the aversion to executive power that suffuses the national government is present at the state level as well. In early state constitutions, governors were often limited to single terms, or even one-year terms, and had no veto power, no budgeting power, and no appointment power. In some states, the governors themselves were appointed by the legislature. As with the national government, as the states grew more complex, the need for effective executive power became clear. And throughout the 19th century, state legislatures revealed themselves to be prone to corruption, and their oversight of the budget and administration of state government became problematic.
The first half of the 20th century was a period of little change in state government as the federal government grew rapidly and, with the New Deal, gathered much tax, spending, and programmatic power to Washington, D. Throughout this period, right through the mids, the mal-apportionment of state legislatures rendered most governors powerless in the face of their legislatures. Virtually all state legislative lines were relics of earlier times, drawn before populations of immigrants and farm workers swelled the size of American cities.
So by the early s, state legislatures were dominated by representatives from tiny rural districts. Governors, on the other hand, were elected statewide in response to the needs of the population centers. But without legislative approval, governors were unable to push their policy agendas. In Tennessee, one Charles Baker of Memphis pointed out to the Supreme Court that his district, with its one representative, had 10 times as many people in it as neighboring rural districts. This underrepresentation of urban districts in both state legislatures and the U.
House of Representatives was ruled a violation of the equal-protection clause of the U. The Conclusion A good conclusion should explain to the reader how your analysis has demonstrated that your argument is more persuasive than competing arguments. It should, in short, explain your contribution to the extant literature. Some pitfalls to sidestep when composing your conclusion are the following: Do not go beyond your data Even seasoned scholars can be guilty of concluding their pieces with grand statements that are not supported by their data.
You can underscore your contribution to the literature without claiming that you have, for example, refuted all that has been written on your topic hitherto or created a "new paradigm. Take care to identify the limitations of your findings or even some of the questionable parts of your analysis. Doing this will, if not immunize your work against criticism, at least allow you to get a jump on addressing some of the critiques that will be leveled at your work.
Do not sprinkle your conclusion with "questions for future research" This is a complement of the above.
Bear in mind that you are a novice researcher. It is more than a bit presumptuous to claim that your piece can be the foundation upon which other scholars will build. Avoid boilerplate phrases such as "time will tell" or "no one can know for sure" Conclusions are notorious for vaporous phrases that leave readers wondering, "What does that mean?
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Short, tightly constructed and -argued conclusions are preferable to voluble, flabby conclusions that do not advance your case. For Further Reading Howard S. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Scott and Stephen M. Smith, and Tarek Masoud eds. Tufte, Envisioning Information Cheshire, Conn. Natalie Taylor Associate Professor and Chair. Barbara McDonough Administrative Assistant.
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II. States in the Federal System
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