Ch 3


A way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government share formal authority over the same area and people

Unitary Government

a central government that holds supreme power in a nation

intergovernmental relations

The entire set of interactions among national, state, and local governments - including regulations, transfers of funds, and the sharing of information - that constitute the workings of the federal system.

Supremacy Clause

The clause in Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws as long as the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.

Tenth Amendment

The constitutional amendment stating, "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.

McCulloch v. Maryland

An 1819 Supreme Court decision that established the supremacy of the national government over state governments. The court, led by chief justice John Marshall, held that Congress had certain implied powers in addition to the powers enumerated in the constitution.

enumerated powers

Powers of the federal government that are listed explicitly in the constitution. For example, article I, section 8, specifically gives Congress the power to coin money and regulate its value and impose taxes

implied powers

Powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the constitution, in accordance with the statement in the constitution that Congress has the power to " make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution" The powers enumerated in article I

Elastic Clause

The final paragraph of Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which authorizes Congress to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the enumerated powers.

Gibbons v. Ogden

A landmark case decided in 1824 in which the Supreme Court interpreted very broadly the clause in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution and defined the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, encompassing virtually every form of commercial activity.

full faith and credit

A clause in Article IV of the Constitution requiring each state to recognize the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of all other states.


A legal process whereby a state surrenders a person charged with a crime to the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed.

privileges and immunities

The provision of the Constitution according citizens of each state the privileges of citizens of other states.

Dual Federalism

A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each with different powers and policy responsibilities

Cooperative Federalism

A system of government in which states and the national government share powers and policy assignments


Transferring responsibility for policies from the federal government to state and local governments.

Fiscal Federalism

The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments.

categorical grants

Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes, or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions.

project grants

Federal categorical grants given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications

formula grants

Federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations.

block grants

Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services