Download Full Text (186 KB)

Download Cambridge Blog: Monitoring American Federalism by C. Fritz (263 KB)

Download History News Network: Monitoring American Federalism by C. Fritz (703 KB)

Download Law and Humanities Blog: Monitoring American Federalism by C. Fritz (140 KB)

Download The Faculty Lounge: Monitoring American Federalism by C. Fritz (283 KB)

Download Publius The Journal of Federalism: Monitoring American Federalism by C. Fritz (74 KB)

Download Jotwell: The Unfinished Symphony of American Federalism (160 KB)

Download H-FedHist (part of H-Net): Roundtable on Fritz, Monitoring American Federalism (181 KB)


As Americans have monitored federalism, they struggled with how a government based on sovereignty divided between nation and states might function. The Constitution’s shared sovereignty created an inherently dynamic federalism with almost continuous debates over the balance of power, making this testing of the balance of federalism and monitoring government central to the American constitutional order. Many constitutional debates involved the protection of slavery, yet other interests including debt, taxation, and police powers also played vital roles in shaping American federalism. State resistance to the national government utilizing the constitutional tool of interposition arose when the disequilibrium of federalism was most keenly felt and states needed to resist perceived constitutional overreaching by the national government. This state legislative resistance shaped the broader American political conversation about constitutional rights and jurisdiction and this debate over federalism is arguably a strength and not a weakness of the framers’ constitutional design,inviting each generation to determine what the appropriate constitutional balance should be.



Publication Date



Cambridge, United Kingdom; New York, NY, USA


Cambridge University Press


State-local relations, Federal-state controversies, United States, States' rights, American politics


Legal History

Monitoring American Federalism: The History of State Legislative Resistance

Included in

Legal History Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.