The Federal Government: The Role in Society


Laws and regulations are important for a country to be able to run well. Such guidelines are usually compiled and written under the constitution. The constitution defines the kind of leadership and powers that are to be executed by the various leaders and the rights of the citizens. However, the laws in the constitution can be amended in case the need to do so arises. When the constitution is strictly followed and the various responsibilities are adequately performed, the country will always move forward and experience stability and security both economically and socially. The leadership is the main body that has to ensure that the laid down rules are followed.

The Role of the Federal Government in Society

The government of the United States has established a form of double system government to enhance its leadership strategy. The federal government is the central system that oversees all the affairs of the country and ensures that there is balance in leadership in different states. The state governments are different units of the federal government through which the states exercise their powers and responsibilities. Even though they have a specific constitution through which they exercise their powers, all this are subject to the federal government which poses the power to amend them. Through this governance all the citizens of the United States can be adequately attended to.

Desmond (1995 pp15) states that, “The Federal government is the central body that takes care of well being of the people and ensures that all the citizens have access to all the important services”. It also has the role of protecting the citizens from internal or external attacks. Apart from providing these services, the federal government needs to ensure that each and every citizen performs their responsibility in ensuring that they are served accordingly. To enhance its performance, the federal government has expanded its leadership to lesser divisions so as to effectively reach the individuals. With the various authorities in place, each and every citizen can be properly attended to. Most of the security personnel are appointed by the federal government because; it is the government that has the authority to summon them in case of a crisis. The federal government is in charge of the armed forces with the president as its commander in chief. (Austin, 2004)

The main role of the federal government is to provide citizens with security and stability that they can rely on. The safety of a nation depends on security measures that are taken by the government to ensure that citizens are free from danger. It is the federal government that has to send troops to the borders of a country to maintain peace and order to ensure that there is no illegal entry of individuals in the country. It is the government that ensures that, security personnel are given adequate skills to enable them deal with any issue that may arise on their way.

The government of the United States is made up of the executive branch, the judicial branch and the legislative branch. The executive branch is the major decision making component of the country consisting of the president, the vice president and the cabinet ministers. The president is usually appointed by means of election by the majority from the various states. The vice president and the cabinet ministers are appointed by the president to work in various departments. These departments are ministries that have a specific role to play in the day to day running of a country. The judicial branch is mainly the court that has the role of interpreting laws to the people and also executing judgment in cases that are brought to court for hearing. The legislative branch is the law making committee of the country which is endowed with the power to make and amend laws according to the requirements of the nation.

The government plays a fundamental role in ensuring that people are protected from the environmental hazards. The American chemical society has been on the fore front to advocate for the strategies that can be employed to ensure that the country is free from hazards that will put its citizens in certain risks. Some of the strategies needed by the government include; employ clean technologies through flexible regulations that will enhance the environmental performance. The government should also enhance the incentives of tax on research programs that are aimed at technologies to minimize the rate of pollution. It should also give grants to support the establishment of new institutions that will spearhead on environment friendly technologies. Programs that are aimed at informing the masses about the common environmental hazards and the measures that should be taken to protect themselves should be established. (Austin, 2004)

Necessary and Proper Clause

It is also referred to as the coefficient or elastic clause. This law increases the powers that are granted to the congress with provisions in this clause to ensure that the congress gets a share in the responsibilities to enact the necessary legislation according to the power accorded to it by the national government. Several powers of the government have been increased through this clause. The laws have been organized in a manner to give definite guidelines to punish those who are found in various crimes. The trade and commerce industry has benefited to a large extend through this clause; the economy of the nation has been under check by the necessary authority. The clause has also put in place measures to ensure that all known property of the country is taxed to provide the necessary revenue needed for the operation of a country. It also gives the government the power to acquire any land that seems appropriate to carry out its operations. The clause grants each and every individual to enjoy their rights as citizens and any inconveniences by any person or group will face the law according to the constitution. (David, 2007)

The congress has been given the power to create banks and regulate their operations. It also has the power of authorizing specific functions to the national banks in case of competition. These functions are exclusive and no other institution is allowed to perform them. They have the power to regulate money that is being advanced to the citizens in terms of loans. With such regulations, they help to control the monetary flow to minimize the cases of inflation and deflation. The congress is also responsible for any monetary borrowings and is able to regulate its value. The congress has the responsibility of promoting commerce within the states through the creations of corporations that will form the basis of connecting the different states. These corporations are required to strengthen the military of the nation by manufacturing merchant vessels. The congress has the role of establishing uniform laws on various subjects that will be applicable to the whole states of America. It also coins, regulates money and set the necessary weights and measures. The congress is required to protect and promote the fields of art and science by ensuring that the concerned individuals are given the right to carry out their responsibilities without any difficulty. They are to promote the work of the army by providing them the necessary support which includes training. The congress has been given the full authority to punish crimes such as piracy, felony, punish offenders against the law of the nations, treason and the offenders found with the crime of counterfeiting coins and notes of the country. The congress is the body that has to protect the citizens according to the constitution by punishing anybody who interferes with life enjoyment of life of another person.

Apart from creating banks, the congress has also been given the mandate to charter corporations to function as a bridge that connects different states. This purpose is mainly to promote and enhance trade and commerce between the states. All the states in America are free to carry out their trade activities in any state of the country without being subjected to any kind of restrictions. The congress may also perform judicial responsibilities when deemed necessary. Incase of a crime committed by a federal officer, the congress may order that the case be transferred from a state court to a federal one for the necessary investigations and prosecutions. (David, 2007)

Importance of McCulloch v Maryland

During the month of February eleventh in 1818, Maryland passed an act that required all the banks and branches in the state to pay taxes. It was suggested that, any note or coin issued from this banks shall pay a certain amount of fee to the treasury depending on the strength of the dollar. The values were; ten cents on a five dollar note twenty cents on ten dollars, thirty cents on twenty dollars, fifty cents on fifty dollars, one dollar on a hundred dollars, ten dollars on five hundred dollars and twenty dollars on a thousand dollars. An alternative to this was suggested to be an advance of fifteen thousand dollars annually. Any institution that did not follow the above regulations was required to pay a fine of five hundred dollars for each offence. Any agency that was also found to be circulating the unstamped notes was also to pay a thousand dollars accordingly.

James McCullough, who was the head of the second bank of the United States was found with the offence of not following the aforesaid guidelines and prosecuted by john James. The case was however appealed in the Maryland court where he was found innocent as the court ruled out that the law was not applicable to the banks. The explanation given by the Maryland court was that the federal government was not constitutionally authorized to chatter a bank and therefore the bank of the United States was unconstitutional. The case was again appealed to the Supreme Court. (Desmond, 1995)

The court under the chief justice Marshall held that the tax be voided since the bank was taxed unconstitutionally. It was stated that, although the powers of the federal government were not enumerated, they were implied and therefore subject to application. Marshall also stated that, the necessary and proper clause must not be necessary and proper. In later history, the case provided important guidelines to the Australian government that encountered a similar case. Marshall’s opinion was subsequently applied in deciding the case.

From the two cases, it was established that the American constitution gives the congress implied powers to implant those express powers that are necessary for a functional national government. The action of the state may not hinder the federal government from exercising its powers. In this situation, the role of federal and state government was adequately defined. In as much as the state government has its roles to play, the execution of any law must comply with the requirements of the federal government. (Desmond, 1995)

Jefferson vs. Hamilton

Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were the founding fathers of reforms in the government of the United States. They both had political dreams that they wanted to accomplish and fulfill. Hamilton was elite and believed in a strong centralized government while Jefferson was an agrarian, who made decisions that were in support of the agrarian farmers. Even though Hamilton’s decisions were the ones that led to the current success of the United States, Jefferson too made recognizable contributions towards the country’s growth. Hamilton suggested that, the kind of leadership that the Americans needed was a monarchial type. Although he proved his influential nature, the decision did not go through. Jefferson published a book, ‘a summary view of the rights of British America’, while he was in France. In this book he expressed his view on his believe that, the educated people were better placed to promote the growth of the country and suggested that, they be given influential positions in the government. He also openly expressed his lack of faith in the poor farmers. The book drew a lot of attention from the masses and therefore had a great impact on the reformation of America. (Dudley, 2007)

After America’s revolution, the economic strength of the country declined greatly which led to increased debts in the country. To correct this, huge taxes were imposed on the people and the most affected were the poor farmers and the lower class people. Hamilton campaigned for the elite community to be given permanent positions in the government. His decision was based on the thought that the elite individuals were better placed to make lasting decisions that will benefit the country.

Jefferson on the other hand was against the decision of imposing taxes on the agrarian farmers. The first bank that was established by Hamilton in the southern farming states was despised by Jefferson who discouraged the farmers from investing in it. He described it as a swindler of the people’s future. The bank ultimately expired twenty years after its establishment but revived again after five years.

Hamilton’s ideas on public credit in which he suggested that the countries debts be taken care of by the federal government rather than the individual states was highly opposed by Jefferson and his supporters. Jefferson suggested that liberty should be distributed evenly while Hamilton believed in equal sharing of war debt. With all this clashing opinions from two influential pioneers, the country was left in the valley of indecision. However, Hamilton’s voice was stronger and ultimately followed yet Jefferson’s impacts on the country continue to be remembered in America’s history. (Dudley, 2007)

No child left behind

This is an initiative by the federal government to ensure that all children irrespective of their backgrounds have access to basic education. This initiative was signed into law in 2002. Under this program they are not only concerned about getting the children to school, but measures are being taken to ensure that the kind of education being offered to these children is of high quality. Measures that are taken to implement this include; employing qualified teachers to teach core subjects, using the instructional methods that have been properly researched and proved to be the best, collaborating with the parents by updating them on the progress of their children and the school. In case a school underperforms, it is held responsible and therefore required to either upgrade the students’ skills by offering them free tuition or transfer them to schools that are performing well.

The NCLB works in accordance to the following principles to ensure quality education; making the schools accountable for the pupils results, different states and districts are given the opportunity to determine how to spend the money given to them by the federal government, using scientifically approved researches to guide the students and the teachers in class and involving the parents in the daily activities of their children’s education. (Frank, 2005)

The government of the United States has put in place guidelines that may be followed by a parent to prosecute any school or teacher that may hinder the progress of their child in education. At the local level, the government requires that, the case be resolved at the school or the district and forwarded to the department of education when necessary. In handling such issues at the local level, the policy requires presence of the principal, the central administrators of the school and the school’s board of directors. If no solution is found on the case, it is forwarded to the department of education in the state. The complaints are required to include the following information in the case; the name of the institution or employee that violated the law, the specific law that was violated, the facts behind the complain, a written report to describe the efforts that were taken by the local government to solve the issue and the resolutions expected by the complaint.

The complaints which must be written are then sent to the department of education by email, mail and fax or in person. Before they are accepted for consideration, the name and contacts of the complaint must be verified, the importance of the contacts is for the complaints to be able to be contacted incase more information on the case is needed to provide valuable evidence. On verification, complains are forwarded to the state education agency for appropriate action. According to the action that will be taken by the court, the school administration , if found guilty of the offence shall be required to take correct measures that may involve transferring the student to a better school or taking care of the tuition expenses of the child.

The government of America will be determined to ensure that each and every school going individual receives quality education. The country understands that unless it takes responsibility to empower its junior citizens, it will have future problems in the leadership. The federal government through the state and local leaders supervises the activities of the schools and ensure that quality facilities are available in the learning institutions. The government is also concerned about the social and health issues of the pupils and students. It has therefore emphasized on the continual support of the co curricular activities in order to mould the talent that is within the young ones. Health facilities are also made available in schools and a professional health expert frequently visits the school to ensure that they are up to standard. (Frank, 2005)


The federal government has an important role to play in taking care of the general welfare of the people. It has to ensure that all citizens have access to important services such as health care facilities and other social amenities. In 1996 a welfare reform that was based on neo-conservatives promoted the idea that, every individual had the responsibility of taking care of themselves. Through this program, mature individuals are required to participate in activities and programs that will be able to earn them a living. The beneficiaries of the welfare program are given attachment strategies so that they can be self-reliant and reduce the number of dependants on welfare. The strategies that are involved ensure that, their members are giving them work requirements, with sanctions to the ones who do not comply and mandatory hard work for self-sufficiency for the dependants. The aim of the 1996 welfare reform was to undo the 1601 in which the local community had to take care of the poor widows and orphans and also the strong youths who had no jobs. This law promoted laziness among the dependants and reluctance among the youth to search for jobs. In the nineteenth centuries several economists suggested that, the government had nothing to do with poverty. Poverty to them was a normal trend among the low income groups and that, being rich was everyone’s right. In 1980s, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) was criticized by conservatives who observed that, despite its operations, it served less to reduce poverty. Through the 1996 reforms, eligibility procedures for the welfare beneficiaries were set and stern measures taken to ensure that the dependants are made independent.

Due to the various improvements that have been made to the welfare act, the beneficiaries are being helped to secure jobs and become self reliant. This move has been of benefit to the country’s economy as most of the funds that were being used for this program are invested in other projects. The welfare is now more concerned about making individuals self reliant rather than fully depending on the government to support them fully. Citizens have become more hardworking and responsible than before. (Gregory, 2006)

Privileges and Immunities Clause

This clause is also referred to as the comity clause found in article four of section two in the constitution of the United States. In this clause, every citizen is given the right to travel to any state of his or her choice without being discriminated against according to the basic civil rights. It also prevents the citizens from behaving in a manner to prevent others from going to their states to be part of their privileges and immunities. The clause states that, they are free inhabitants of the state, whether they are vagabonds, paupers or fugitives and are to enjoy similar freedom when they go to the other states. It is therefore to be noted that, the rights that were earlier on given to the citizens of a certain state have been aborted and that as long as a citizen has the right of state freedom, he or she may go to any other state and still enjoys similar rights. This right is inclusive of the privileges that the visiting citizens are eligible to which include the right to the states amenities like schools, worship centers, shopping places, courts and the rest. They also have the right to own property in that state and carry out their business activities. (Gregory, 2006)

In some cases, controversy arose on the kind of privileges and immunities that the citizens are eligible to. It was found that, each and every state has laws which have to be adhered to by the visitors. In accordance to this law, the visiting citizens will be treated in accordance with the law of that state. For example; if the visitor is an alien, he will be given treatment in accordance to how the law states that the aliens have to be treated. It has therefore been agreed that, in accordance to the state laws which have to protect their citizens, the visitors will also be treated in accordance with the laws of the states they visit. Hence, they do not have a right to demand anything beyond what the host state is required to offer them. The fundamental role of this clause is to prevent any form of discrimination to the non citizens of a state.

The privileges and immunity clause has brought a sought of uniformity to the country that is dominated by many states. Through this clause, citizens have been given the freedom to freely move and conduct their activities with the assurance that they have the support of the government. Citizens have also been able to be united through the frequent interactions where Knowledge, advice, skills and even opportunities have been shared among the different states which helped to enhance development of the nation. These interactions have also helped to deliver the country from cultural affiliations, they now have the opportunity to interact and share what they have with others. (Judith, 2006)

States V Federal Government

According to the constitution of the United States, its governance is federal. By this it means that the power has to be shared between the national and state government. The government of the United States is divided into fifty states each with its defined constitution. Despite this, the states are required to comply with the rules and laws of the central government. The role of the central government is mainly to print money in case there is a deficit, declare war in times of necessity, this is usually done when the government feels that the safety of its people is at risk and unless the necessary action is taken, the country will be invaded. An example of such move was the war on Iraq; they established and trained an army and navy to enter into treaties with other foreign governments. Such coordination are necessary to ensure that military knowledge is shared and also to assure the country of external support in case of a crisis, regulate trade between the states and the international market, establish post offices in the country and deliver postage and to make and amend laws as necessity demands to enforce the constitution.

(Kerry, 2003) The state government on the other hand has the following responsibilities: to establish local governments that will assist them in governing the people and distributing the necessary resources, to issue licenses such as for driving and marriage to the eligible candidates, regulate commerce within the states by ensuring that the goods traded within and outside the state meet the required standards, conduct state elections by ensuring that the elections are done in a free and fair environment, ratify any amendments that are required in the constitution, provide health and safety facilities to its citizens by ensuring that the health centers are properly equipped and that only qualified staff is working in these centers and to exercise and delegate powers in accordance with its constitution and the constitution of the united states.

There are also powers that are shared jointly by the central and state government which include: borrowing money from internal and external sources, collecting and creating taxes, establishing courts, making and enforcing laws, spend money in a way that is going to benefit the people’s welfare, taking over the private property by compensating the owner and chartering banks and corporations. In executing this shared powers, the federal and the state government works in collaboration with the state government where the state government will work at the grass root level and the federal at national level. The state government will collect taxes on behalf of the federal government and report any irregularities for appropriate action. When making laws that are to govern the people, both the state and federal government are involved. With the different cultures and practices in different states, laws have to be made considering this factor. It is the state government that will present the issues of their states to the federal government for the necessary amendments to be carried out. The federal government receives all government incomes from the various sources and then allocates them to different states according to their needs. The state government will report to the federal government the areas in their states that need financial interventions, from these reports the government will allocate funds in order of priority. (Judith, 2006)

The main intentions of the founders of this system of government were to strengthen the states of America. Due to its bigger size and the demands of the individual citizen, it was viewed fair enough to decentralize the government to enhance leadership. With this kind of leadership, each and every state is able to amend laws to suit the requirements of the group. Facilities have also been moved closer to the people making it easier as people do not have to move far in order for their needs to be met.

Several people have however argued that leadership in the United States is becoming more centralized than it was expected, according to their observation; the central government has so much power over the state governance that, it is defeating the power of the states to exercise its authority. There are some issues that need to be taken care of by the state government which the central government have full authority over them. This interference by the central government has served as a major draw back to the freedom of the state. Some of the common issues raised are education, drugs, medical care, prostitution, drinking age and marriage. It has been suggested that, in dealing with such issues, the government has to live it to the states to decide the kind that is appropriate to the people. The state government authorities are closest to the people and they are the ones in a better position to determine what is best and right for the people they govern.

On education, the central government has a direct influence on how the schools are managed all over the country; such an issue is seen to be ridiculous. This is because; every state has different standards that they have set for their schools and once the central government comes with its requirements; it may interfere with academic progress. On drug use; it has been argued that, the states should be given the authority to either legalizes or illegalize on the use of illegal drugs. This and other issues of personal nature have raised conflicts between the federal and state government. It is however to be noted that, despite the powers accorded to different states, the federal government has a control over any amendment and exercise of those laws. (Kerry, 2003)

Tax Clause

The tax clause according to the constitution of the United States gives the congress the power to collect and lay taxes, imposts, duties and excises. It also states that all the excises, imposts and duties shall be similar throughout the nation. In section nine of the constitution, any person who has legally migrated or imported to the United States shall be eligible to a tax or duty of ten dollars on each person. Articles exported between states are not eligible for tax or duty. There will be no regulations and preferences on revenue to the ports of different states and no vessel shall be denied entry for clearance or duties.

The state has no power to lay imposts and duties on the imports and exports without consulting the congress. This may however not be the case in situations where the state is executing its powers. The duties and imposts levied on such articles shall be forwarded to the treasury of the United States and is also subject to be revised by the congress. (Reed, 2005)

Government Spending

Economists have classified the spending strategy of the U.S. government into three categories; government consumption, government investments and transfer payments. In order to meet the above mentioned expenditures, the government gets fund by seigniorage, taxes, or borrowings. This spending occurs both at the federal, state and local government.

In government consumption, the resources are spent in acquiring the immediate needs of the people. This may include food stuff, health facilities and educational needs. Government investments are the long term projects that will not only improve the well being of a nation but will also generate more income to the country. Such projects include; research in the field of technology, construction of roads, learning institutions, hospitals and planting industries. Transfers of payments are the obligations that the government needs to undertake like social security payments. Government investments and the government expenditure form the basic component of the gross domestic product of the country. The census bureau of the United States conducts a census after five years to determine the expenditure of both the local and state government. The latest report for this case was in 2006. The spending rate of the government has increased substantially since 1902 with a record of over twenty five percent increase. Major spending occurred during the two world wars.

In the historical years of the United States, major spending was on education and weapons. During the depression time after the world wars, welfare projects became the major spending of the government. Spending on health care and social security increased in the 1950s. In the current spending, most of the finances have been used in military forces due to the need for the government to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. America has also faced economic recessions in the recent past and is thus concentrating on reviving the economy of the country. The terrorist attacks and the hurricane Katrina tragedy had a great impact in pulling the economy of the country down. This is because of the destruction caused to property which required huge amount of money to return them back to the condition they were in before the attack. (Reed, 2005)

With increased technology, the country is also investing a lot of funds in the field of research. It is hoped that, once this field is fully exploited, the country’s economy will be boosted not only by using the modern technology but also by exporting similar skills to other nations to generate income. Infrastructure development, establishment of institutions and improvement in health care has remained to be the fields in which America invests its resources. This help in economic development because, all places will be accessible by everyone and nothing would hinder movement of people and transport of goods and services from manufacturing industries to consumers. Improved medical services ensure that, the health of people is taken good care of all the time and all patients in the hospital are taken good care of.


According to Robert (2002 pp30) “The government of the United state has remained to be strong politically and economically due to the strategies it has applied in its leadership”. When the country has a strong political base, it will experience growth in all other aspects. Despite the security and economic challenges that the country is currently facing, it can always rely on its strong political base for revival. With the federal government as the central government, the operation of the local and state governments are always put under check to ensure that the citizens are given maximum attention. The state government in coordination with the federal government ensures that, every citizen enjoys their rights without interference of any kind.

Austin (2004 pp33) found that, “the trade and economic policies that the country has constituted enables different states to trade easily among themselves”. This has helped to improve internal trade and enhance interstate relationships. Through its investments in the field of technology the country has been of help to many countries that have continued to benefit from their inventions. Inventions in the field of information technology have enhanced communication in all parts of the world, which has not only promoted trade but has also enhanced international relations.

Through the various researches that the country is carrying out and the protection of artists and science, America has been able to utilize to the maximum the resources that are available thereby reducing wastage. As the country continues to support its leaders and the leaders performing their responsibilities according to the constitution, the country will continue to experience growth and stability which will also form a base that will not only be admired by other nations but also be emulated by them for substantial growth. (Robert, 2002)


Austin C. (2004): An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States: Courier Dover Publications pp34-39

David M. (2007): Rules and Restraint: Government Spending and the Design of Institutions pp44-49

Desmond S. (1995): Black Americans and the US federal government: Oxford University pp13-19

Dudley S (2007): McCulloch V. Maryland: State V. Federal: Power Marshall Cavendish pp56-59

Frank R. (2005): The Educator’s Guide to Texas School Law: University of Texas Press pp27-34

Gregory C. (2006): Litigation with the federal government: ALI-ABA pp24-29

Judith R. (2006): Justice in the United States: Rowman & Littlefield pp16-20

Kerry P. (2003): The Articles of Confederation: The Rosen Publishing Group pp35-43

Reed A. (2005): America’s Constitution: A Biography Random House pp15-19

Robert L (2002): The U.S. Constitution A to Z: CQ Press pp28-33

Cite this paper

Select style


DemoEssays. (2023, January 5). The Federal Government: The Role in Society. Retrieved from


DemoEssays. (2023, January 5). The Federal Government: The Role in Society.

Work Cited

"The Federal Government: The Role in Society." DemoEssays, 5 Jan. 2023,


DemoEssays. (2023) 'The Federal Government: The Role in Society'. 5 January.


DemoEssays. 2023. "The Federal Government: The Role in Society." January 5, 2023.

1. DemoEssays. "The Federal Government: The Role in Society." January 5, 2023.


DemoEssays. "The Federal Government: The Role in Society." January 5, 2023.