Identify and describe provisions of the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution that define and distribute powers and authority of the federal or state government.


Focus Question: How does the U. S. Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution define the powers of the federal and state government?


Federalism

  • Idea that a central governing body, is divided between other provincial state governments
    • Combination in which power to govern is shared by both the National and state governments
  • Minting Money is a Power Reserved for the Federal Government

Click here for a Crash Course video that explores the structure of National and State government, and concurrent powers.

external image USCurrency_Federal_Reserve.jpg

U.S. Constitution: Powers of Federal Government

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U.S. Constitution (1787)


Article I Section 8: Powers of Congress

Gives Congress power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises as well as give Congress the power to pay debts, and provide common defense and general welfare for the United States.

All duties, imposts, and excises must be the same throughout the United States


primary_sources.PNG"Congress shall have Power … To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." (http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congpowers.htm)

The 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution declares that "The powers not delegated to the United States [federal government] by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." This remains a fundamental Constitutional provision that gives more power to the States.

Powers Reserved for the Federal Government

  • Regulate foreign commerce
  • Regulate interstate commerce
  • Regulate naturalization and immigration
  • Grant copyrights and patents

  • Mint money
  • Create and establish post offices
  • Admit new states
  • Declare and wage war, declare peace
  • Fix standards for weights and measures
  • Raise and maintain an army and a navy
  • Govern the federal city (Washington D.C.)
  • Conduct relations with foreign powers
  • Universalize bankruptcy laws

Restrictions on Federal Government Powers
  • No ex post facto
  • No bills of attainder
  • Two-year limit on appropriation for the military
  • One port may not be favored over another
  • All guarantees as stated in Bill of Rights
  • No suspension of habeas corpus, unless it is a time of crisis

Amendment X of the Constitution: Rights of the States under the Constitution ( Part of Bill of Rights)
  • "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"

Massachusetts Constitution: State Government Powers

1827 drawing of the Massachusetts State House by Alexander Jackson Davis
1827 drawing of the Massachusetts State House by Alexander Jackson Davis

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rotating gif.gifSee United States History I.17

Powers Reserved for the State Governments
  • Establish voter qualifications
  • Provide for local governments
  • Regulate intrastate commerce
  • Provide education for its citizens
  • Maintain police power over public health and safety
  • Conduct and monitor elections
  • Maintain integrity of state borders
  • Regulate contracts and wills

Restrictions on State Government Powers
  • Treaties, alliances, or confederations may not be entered into
  • Letters of marque and reprisal may not be granted
  • Contracts not impaired
  • Money may not be printed or bills of credit given out
  • No import or export taxes
  • May not wage war, unless a state is invaded

primary_sources.PNGMassachusetts Constitution (1780)
- Established the creation of a two branch state government, the House and the Senate


The separation of Federal and State powers has an interesting influence on each tier's court system.

In the case of Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), federal government's and state government's role in marriage equality came into question.

Selected Works Cited:
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/uscongress/a/congpowers.htm
http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A1Sec8.html
http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/ma-1780.html