Overview

Even before the Constitution was ratified, the relationship between state and federal power was unclear. Use this lesson to help students understand the source of that tension and why the tug-of-war has continued through our nation’s history. Students will explore some of the biggest sources of state-federal tension, such as the Commerce Clause and federal funding, and will look at real-life examples of the conflict.

This resource was created with support from the State Government Affairs Council. 

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Analyze conflicts over the respective roles of national and state governments
  • Interpret the extent of the federal government’s power
  • Explain that different levels of government sometimes have different goals, ideas, and resources that lead to conflicts over policy 

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