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Humanities Libertexts

3.S: Federalism

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  • Recommended Reading

    • Berman, David R. Local Government and the States: Autonomy, Politics, and Policy. Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2003. An overview of the relationship between state and local governments.
    • Derthick, Martha. Keeping the Compound Republic: Essays on American Federalism. Washington, DC: Brookings, 2001. A set of discerning essays on intergovernmental relations.
    • Kaniss, Phyllis. Making Local News. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. A pathbreaking account of how politicians and journalists interact to produce local news.
    • Lawrence, Regina G. The Politics of Force: Media and the Construction of Police Brutality. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. An eye-opening example of how local issues do and do not spread to national news and politics.
    • Peterson, Paul E. The Price of Federalism. Washington, DC: Brookings, 1995. An astute assessment of the contributions that national, state, and local levels can and do make to government.
    • Posner, Paul L. The Politics of Unfunded Mandates: Whither Federalism? Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1998. A concise account of the ups and downs of unfunded mandates.
    • Shapiro, David L. Federalism: A Dialogue. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1995. A distinguished legal scholar debates with himself on the pros and cons of federalism.

    Recommended Viewing

    • Amistad (1997). This Steven Spielberg dramatization of the legal aftermath of a revolt on a slave ship examines interactions between local, state, national, and international law.
    • Anchorman (2004). This vehicle for comedian Will Ferrell, set in the 1970s, spoofs the vapidity of local television news.
    • Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Small-time criminals become romanticized rebels in this famous revisionist take on the expansion of national authority against crime in the 1930s.
    • Cadillac Desert (1997). A four-part documentary about the politics of water across state lines in the American West.
    • Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (2010). Alex Gibney’s interviews-based documentary about the interweaving of hubris, politics, enemies, prostitution, the FBI, and the media.
    • The FBI Story (1959). James Stewart stars in a dramatized version of the Bureau’s authorized history, closely overseen by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
    • First Blood (1982). When Vietnam vet John Rambo clashes with a monomaniacal local sheriff in this first “Rambo” movie, it takes everyone from the state troopers, the National Guard, and his old special forces colonel to rein him in.
    • George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire (2000). A compelling documentary on the political transformations of the Alabama governor who championed states’ rights in the 1960s.
    • Mystic River (2003). A state police officer investigating the murder of the daughter of a childhood friend faces “the law of the street” in a working-class Boston neighborhood.
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