Keeping the Compound Republic: Essays on American Federalism

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Brookings Institution Press, Jun 23, 2004 - Political Science - 205 pages

The framers of the U. S. Constitution focused intently on the difficulties of achieving a workable middle ground between national and local authority. They located that middle ground in a new form of federalism that James Madison called the "compound republic." The term conveys the complicated and ambiguous intent of the framing generation and helps to make comprehensible what otherwise is bewildering to the modern citizenry: a form of government that divides and disperses official power between majorities of two different kinds—one composed of individual voters, and the other, of the distinct political societies we call states. America's federalism is the subject of this collection of essays by Martha Derthick, a leading scholar of American government. She explores the nature of the compound republic, with attention both to its enduring features and to the changes wrought in the twentieth century by Progressivism, the New Deal, and the civil rights revolution. Interest in federalism is likely to increase in the wake of the 2000 presidential election. There are demands for reform of the electoral college, given heightened awareness that it does not strictly reflect the popular vote. The U. S. Supreme Court, under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, has mounted an explicit and controversial defense of federalism, and new nominees to the Court are likely to be questioned on that subject and appraised in part by their responses. Derthick's essays invite readers to join the Court in weighing the contemporary importance of federalism as an institution of government.


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Enduring Features
The Paradox of the Middle Tier
Congress the States and the Supreme Court
Income Support Programs and Intergovernmental Relations
UptoDate in Kansas City
Federalism and the Politics of Tobacco
Roosevelt as Madison Social Security and American Federalism
Crossing Thresholds Federalism in the 1960s
HalfFull or HalfEmpty?
Other Work by Martha Derthick on Federalism

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Page 14 - ... the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry, and frugality, chastity, moderation and temperance, and those other virtues, which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which a republican constitution is founded...
Page 10 - ... an arrangement pointed in two contrary directions or aimed at securing two contrary ends. One end is always found in the reason why the member units do not simply consolidate themselves into one large unitary country ; the other end is always found in the reason why the member units do not choose to remain simply small wholly autonomous countries. The natural tendency of any political community, whether large or small, is to completeness, to the perfection of its autonomy. Federalism is the effort...

About the author (2004)

Martha Derthick is the former director of the Governmental Studies program at the Brookings Institution. She is retired from the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, where she taught from 1983 to 1999. She has written five previous Brookings books, including Agency under Stress (1990), The Politics of Deregulation (1985, with Paul J. Quirk), and Policymaking for Social Security (1979).

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