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  • Federalism as a political and legal concept arose as a result of American colonists’ experiences with Great Britain. The colonists, as Englishmen, were denied their “traditional” rights as outlined in the Magna Carta of 1215 and in other laws defining the relationship between crown and subject. Thus, the colonists sought and won their independence from Great Britain and founded a new nation, the United States. The economic and political concern engendered by this history compelled the founders of the new nation to draft a constitution limiting the authority of central government. The first governing document, the Articles of Confederation, made no provision for the creation and maintenance of a national government or the agencies necessary to govern a large nation: a central and powerful executive, ...

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