Federalism is the philosophy that certain powers taken up by the national government should be transferred back to the states, where they originally resided.
The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that powers not expressly delegated to the national government belong to the states and to the people themselves. Since the end of the Civil War in 1865, power has been shifting away from the states and towards the national government.
President Ronald Regan began what was hoped would be a “devolution revolution” in the early 1980s, and in between 1980 and 2001 250 new block grant programs were introduced in areas as diverse as healthcare, transportation, housing, education, and counterterrorism.
Proponents of federalism believe the national government has overstepped its Constitutional bounds in many areas and wish to restore autonomy and power in these areas back to the states. Over the past 35 years, this has mainly been done through the practice of block-granting federal program funds to the states.