Federalism in the Constitution

Create a Free Account to Access this Resource

Create a Free Account to Access this Resource

Already have an account? Sign In

This is an Inquiry Pack to accompany the Federalism Timeline on LegalTimelines.org, which examines the evolving division of duties and powers between the federal and state governments throughout the eras of federalism.

Built around primary sources from the Library of Congress and other collections, this Inquiry Pack facilitates a deep dive into an important aspect of the history of federalism in the United States.

Each Inquiry Pack includes a background reading, several primary sources (documents, articles, images), discussion questions about the sources, an inquiry question, and an inquiry extension question.

This pack includes the following components:

  • Introduction: Federalism in the Constitution
  • Enumerated Powers and the Elastic Clause
  • Powers Denied to the Federal and State Governments
  • Relations Among States and Between Federal and State Governments
  • The Supremacy Clause and the 10th Amendment
  • The 14th Amendment and Incorporation
  • Inquiry Question: Which rules about the division of power between the federal government and the states are clear? What constitutional provisions may cause conflict or uncertainty?
  • Inquiry Extension Question: Apply the sources to the following scenario: The federal government passes a law establishing a national bank to assist it in carrying out the enumerated powers dealing with financial responsibilities. The legislature in a state in which the bank will be located opposes the bank and passes a tax designed to force the bank out of business or at least out of the state.
  • Inquiry Question Graphic Organizer

© 2022 Street Law, Inc.

This resource was developed with funding provided by the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program. Content created and featured in partnership the TPS program does not indicate an endorsement by the Library of Congress.  

related resources

If you have not visited our Resource Library since April 8, 2024, you must create a new account due to a platform migration.