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Why States? The Challenge of Federalism Paperback – March 23, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Hickok currently serves as an adjunct professor of political science at the University of Richmond, and is a Bradley Fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Dr. Hickok and his wife Kathy have two children and reside in Richmond, Virginia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Heritage Books (March 23, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891951261
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891951261
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By W. Connor on August 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
I came away from this book with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of the role the Founders intended the People and the States to play in restraining and holding in check the powers of an intrusive Federal government, which they feared. At just 95 pages, it's a quick read but don't let that deter you. It's literally filled with jewels of knowledge every Layman that is concerned with the over-reaching of our Federal government needs to know. A revival of the understanding of Federalism is KEY to reclaiming our Liberty. We the People need to know how to preserve the Sovereignty of the People and Rights of the Individual given in the Declaration of Independence in order to check the intrusive growth of the power of the Federal government into our personal lives.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on May 23, 2012
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I read this book as a quick and dirty "introduction" to federalism before I embarked on some of the heavier reading on the topic for my master's dissertation.
And it does provide that. If you're looking for a quick read that gives you an overview of what federalism meant when this nation was founded, go for it.

Things to be aware of before purchasing this book (and why this is not five stars):

- There are no footnotes or citations. There's a "selected bibliography" of half a dozen sources. But I find it problematic to have any nonfiction work to quote someone directly and at length without any way to follow up on the source they're using. Without citations, this comes off as more a rather long lecture, which may have been the point, but that approach is not effective for academic research. (This is the main reason for the drop in stars. Publishers/authors: Don't assume your target audience are idiots. Everyone should be able to follow up on the sources used in any nonfiction work, particularly ones of a historical and legal nature.)

- The Heritage Foundation, who published this book, is a conservative think tank in DC. And boy is that noticeable, especially in the last chapter. At one point it felt like the author was inferring that Brown v. Board of Education should have never happened. Maybe, from a standpoint of federalism, it should have not. But the line between the author's argument for federalism and the author's argument for the nostalgic days before we had black people in our schools was a wee on the thin side.

- The argument itself is never spelled out. I'm not anti-conservative or particularly liberal and I appreciate a lot of the arguments made for federalism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sam on July 26, 2010
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In this brief book Eugene Hickok, political science professor at the University of Richmond, clearly defines what federalism is, what it looked like in the United States and how far away from this concept we are today. I think one of the most important concepts in the book regarding federalism is the obvious yet often missed concept that under the federal system promoted by the authors of the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalists alike, the states not only retain most powers relating to the exercise of sovereignty, but they are themselves a check on the national government. And that it's not treasonous to exercise state sovereignty, in fact it's rather patriotic. The national government should not be trusted to simply check and balance itself, but the states must act as a type regulator as well; an agent in the balancing of power, not merely an executor of the federal will.

Hickok also points out what I consider to be the most important aspect of the culture of true federalism: the cultivation of civic virtue and participation within self-ruling communities. As he states in the book, "It is more than coincidental that the emergence of the modern administrative state has been accompanied by a decline in civic participation, public confidence in government, and electoral participation." One major reason for this according to Hickok is that federalism, rightly understood, allowed people to keep tabs on the center of power. Now, thanks in large part to what has been called the "Statist Revolution of 1913," which included the passage of the 16th and 17th Amendments, along with the creation of the Federal Reserve, power has been ripped from local communities and states and consolidated in the hands of the federal government in far away Washington, DC.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MN Mike on December 30, 2009
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Time to time we need to read a summary from our Founding Fathers to understand the foundation for this great country. This overview helps all to understand the national gov't limits and what State rights were meant to be. This is fundamentally different than than what Congress and the Supreme Court have been doing since the FDR Administration. We have been experiencing a dramatic shift from our Founding Father's intentions over the last 70 years.
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