On June 27, Morehead State University’s School of Public Affairs and the Federalism in Action Project co-hosted a Federalism Symposium. Academic researchers, government officials and students gathered to explore the historical development of federalism and modern governance in systems of federalism.
Adherence to federalist principles was the theme of last week’s federalist symposium, as speakers discussed both current and historical issues as well as the accountability of a good statesman. Professor Marc Landy of Boston College captured the room’s attention with his opening remarks in which he explained that federalism is like a diet, and that individuals must stick with it and be dedicated to the principles behind it in order to recognize the full extent of its positive benefits. Like a diet, federalism may not be the easiest approach, but it has the better long-term benefits than the alternatives.
Dr. Michael Hail, professor of government at Morehead State University offered hope and encouragement for future actions and the prosperity of federalism in the United States in his introductory remarks. Today it has become all too common for states to turn to the federal government for help, but Dr. Hail raised the important yet often overlooked point that states created the federal government, and it is up to those states to maintain the balance of power. Federalist principles are as important now as they were at the founding.
The first panel discussion focused on historical development and current issues and featured Dr. James Clinger of Murray State University, Stephanie Davis of the University of South Carolina, Kate Brown of the University of Virginia and Dr. Hail. These speakers focused on the Founding Fathers’ conceptualization of federalism, the evolution of the Senate and supremacy laws, the expansion of commercial jurisdiction, and changes in representation that occurred during the transition from the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution of 1787.
The second panel addressed the intersection of federalism, statesmanship, and accountability and featured four speakers: Dr. Jeremy Hall of Rutgers University, Dr. Stephen Lange of Morehead State University, Professor Kathleen Arnn of Morehead State University, and Professor Marc Landy of Boston College. They discussed the proper role of evidenced-based policy, the importance of civic virtue in Americans, the perks of living a political life and taking federalism seriously.
This symposium provided a forum for scholars across the nation to come together and share their unique insight concerning the development and application of federalism. It is the foremost goal of Federalism in Action to help establish a balance between federal and state governments, promoting local action and empowerment of the individual. It was an honor to co-host this symposium and join with other individuals who are working to restore local control.