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New Federalism

AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

New Federalism is a description of the relationship between the States and Federal Government in the latter half of the 20th century.

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This period of federalism runs from the 1970s to the 2000s and incorporates mainly Republican Presidents. These Presidents include Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush and Clinton. New Federalism is characterised through the shift of power back to the states from the Federal Government. There was an overriding belief, certainly from President Reagan, that the ‘Federal Government did not create the states; the States created the Federal Government”. New Federalism is also characterised for the large increase in Block Grants, which are allocated to states by the Federal Government for non specific purposes or in general policy areas.

This type of federalism and the use of block grants, often allow the Federal Government to test out policies that tackle issues in states first before deciding whether or not to roll the policy out across other areas.

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