Diversity in the USA (Federalism)



Two different stories appeared on the Post this week, but both with a similar topic and certainly with a similar outcome – the USA is a large and very diverse country. This is studied in Unit 4 as part of the topic on Federalism and common questions crop up about just how federal the USA is in reality (i.e. are the people/states different or does the national government dominate?).

In the first story, the new governor of Arizona (having taken over from the somewhat controversial Jan Brewer, who signed Arizona SB 1070 in 2010 making it misdemeanor for an alien to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents) has reversed an Arizona law and is allowed same-sex couples to adopt. The example is quite a simple one – this ruling will only apply in Arizona and is therefore federalism in action. The article is worth reading however as it talks about the judicial reviews that have taken place over this issue too).

The second story relates to polling data on support, or not, for same-sex marriage across America. In this case, while the data does not directly suggest that states differ on this issue (although they clearly do) this suggests that the with party affiliations differ too. This serves as a useful example for the divisions within the US – divisions that stem from party affiliation, sex, state, region, class, education, and so on. This could come in useful for the Unit 3 topic on civil rights as well as for Unit 3 parties in a discussion over whether the USA has 2 parties or 100 (2 in each state).