Bell Ringers
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By sunshinecavalluzzi
On August 26, 2018

Bell Ringer: Dual Federalism

Implications of Dual Federalism

Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) discusses dual federalism in the context of the Tenth Amendment, as well as the conflicts between states' rights and moral concerns.


In a system of dual federalism, the national government and state governments are co-equal, with each being dominant within its respective sphere (this is also referred to by political scientists as "layer cake federalism" since the federal and state responsibilities are discrete). Dual federalism was predominant in American government until the New Deal, when it was replaced by a model of cooperative federalism (aka "marble cake federalism"), wherein both federal government and state governments cooperate in solving problems and share responsibility for a variety of issues.

Bell Ringer Assignment

  • What does Representative Jackson raise as a concern presented by a system of dual federalism?
  • What is an advantage of a system of dual federalism?
  • What is an example of an issue handled exclusively by the federal government or the state government?
  • Dual federalism envisions a more limited role for the national government. Why would the Framers have been inclined toward that model?
  • AP Gov Questions to Consider: How did the New Deal initiate the shift from dual to cooperative federalism? How is the debate between the two reflected in modern American politics and policy? What Constitutional clauses support a more limited role for the federal government and what clauses support a more expanded role?

Additional Resources



    • Dual Federalism
    • Federalism
    • States


    AP U.S. Government Key TermsConstitutional FoundationFederalism and State Issues


    High School