The Stages of American Federalism

Period Name Characteristics
1836–1933 Dual federalism
  • States and national government are each sovereign and therefore equal
  • Relations between them are characterized by tension rather than collaboration
  • National government gains strength because of its role in promoting economic growth
1933–1961 Cooperative federalism
  • Federal, state, and local governments share responsibilities for almost all functions
  • National government's powers grow steadily, especially regulatory power
1961–1969 Creative federalism
  • President Johnson emphasizes partnership of national government, states, cities, counties, school districts, and nonprofit organizations
  • National government creates many new programs with many grants made directly to cities
1969–1977 New fiscal federalism
  • President Nixon emphasizes decentralization and revenue sharing
1977–1981 Partnership federalism
  • President Carter seeks to foster greater cooperation between states and national government while limiting new programs
1981–1989 New regulatory federalism
  • President Reagan emphasizes cutting back federal government's role and increasing efficiency;
  • Revenue sharing ends
1989–1993 Coercive federalism
  • President Bush's use of unfunded mandates and preemption to influence state and local conduct
1993— Reinventing federalism
  • President Clinton emphasizes greater efficiency and responsiveness, with national government steering but state and local governments providing the motor
  • National government limits on unfunded mandates and provides waivers to encourage state experimentation

View Source
Edwards, David V. and Alessandra Lippucci. 1998. Practicing American Politics: An Introduction to Government. New York: Worth Publishers, p. 96.