Graphic Organizer: The Federal System: Got Power?




Image: USA

Definition: Powers that are held by the federal (national government) because they are outlined in the Constitution. The federal government also has implied powers because of the Elastic Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18), but they are not spelled out like enumerated powers.


         Coin and print money

         Conduct foreign affairs

         Create a postal system

         Regulate foreign and interstate trade

         Raise and maintain armed forces.




Powers that are reserved or saved for the states. Many of these are not listed but given to the states by the 9th and 10th Amendments.


         Control the state militia (national guard)

         Conduct elections

         Set voter qualifications

         Provide public education

         Certify public school teachers

         Regulate trade within the state (intrastate trade)



Powers that are held by both the federal (national) government and the states. When in conflict, the federal government is always more powerful according to the Supremacy Clause in Article 6, Sec 2 of the Constitution.


         Make laws

         Borrow money

         Collect taxes

         Enforce laws

         Punish those found guilty of breaking the law

         Establish courts



Powers that neither the federal nor the state government are permitted to have.


         Pass laws the violate the rights of citizens such as ex post facto laws (laws that punish for something that was legal previously), bills of attainder (laws that jail citizens without trial), suspending writs of habeas corpus (preventing courts from trying accused people).

         Granting titles of nobility such as king, duke, earl, and knight.

         Taxing exports (doing so hurts domestic manufacturers).



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