Liberty, Competition, and the Rise of Coercion in American Federalism

  • John Kincaid


Changing conceptions of liberty and equality in the United States have given rise in recent decades to a new, coercive phase of American federalism in which the federal government engages in unprecedented regulation of state and local governments and displacement of their sovereign powers. This coercive federalism reflects a shift in federal policy-making from places (i.e., state and local jurisdictions) to persons (i.e., individual citizens). In order to protect individual rights and provide benefits to persons, the federal government has increasingly pre-empted state and local powers and required state and local governments to implement federal policies and comply with federal rules. As a result, the federal government is occupying a more monopolistic position in the federal system. Acting more like a monopolist, the federal government has sought to suppress intergovernmental competition in the federal system and has fewer incentives to behave as a co-operative partner with state and local governments.


Local Government Federal Government Federal System Fourteenth Amendment Federal Power 
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© Lüder Gerken 1995

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  • John Kincaid

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