Federalism and the Constitution

South Dakota v. Dole (1987)

Case background and primary source documents concerning the Supreme Court case of South Dakota v. Dole. Dealing with the whether or not the federal government can attach conditions to money given to states in areas where the federal government has no enumerated power, this lesson asks students to evaluate the extent to which the Court’s interpretation of the General Welfare Clause and attachment of conditions to federal funds given to states is consistent with the principle of federalism.

Founding Principles

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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.

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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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