chapter  4
Federalism and Race
Pages 17

Federalism’s powerful influence on American political development is most clear in the enduring political battles about race and the government’s role in the economy. These two issues have been the most basic, persistent, far-reaching, and passionate conflicts in American life. In turn, the relentless use of federalism in these conflicts legitimized it as a weapon in all other major conflicts. This chapter and the next focus on the way federalism affected the way the United States has grappled with these issues over its history. Conflict over the place of African Americans in the United States has

been an agonizing “American dilemma” for generations, from battles over slavery until the 1860s, then racial segregation and white supremacy until the 1960s, and remedies for the consequences of this history ever since. Race has permeated American politics from the beginning.1