The Bill of Rights and Federalism

Explores the powers reserved to the states as provided by the Tenth Amendment. Explains the Founders’ understanding of a federalist system and the expansion and contraction of the federal government’s power.

What is the Commerce Clause?

Clock 50 minutes

Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce, granted in the Commerce Clause, is often invoked as justification for laws regulating a wide variety of economic activities. How much power does the Commerce Clause allow the federal government to have over the states? This lesson examines this question by looking at the principle behind this clause, the Founders intentions, and how the Supreme Court has interpreted the clause throughout American History.

Founding Principles

Federalism image

Federalism

The people delegate certain powers to the national government, while the states retain other powers; and the people, who authorize the states and national government, retain all freedoms not delegated to the governing bodies.

Inalienable / Natural Rights image

Inalienable / Natural Rights

Freedoms which belong to us by nature and can only be justly taken away through due process.

Limited Government image

Limited Government

Citizens are best able to pursue happiness when government is confined to those powers which protect their life, liberty, and property.

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Property Rights

The natural right of all individuals to create, obtain, and control their possessions, beliefs, faculties, and opinions, as well as the fruits of their labor.

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