Political Trust & Distrust 17

Free course. One paragraph per day.

We tend to trust those who closest to us more than those who are distant. This is both literally and metaphorically true. Some of the framers were worried that a new national government would be too far away from the people to know their interests and represent them well. As the new states (former colonies) already had their own governments, it seemed natural to create a federal system in which state citizens would continue to elect their own legislators. Thus, the framers set up a federal system that required each state to have a republican form of government, per Article 4, Section 4.

  • This requirement ensures each state will have elected legislators who know their citizens’ interests better than those in Washington, D.C.
  • The framers gave the states substantial power through the 10th Amendment, which says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  
  • The states also hold substantial power through Article 1, Section 4, which gives them the right to determine who is eligible to vote, subject to Congressional regulation.
  • Congress regulates elections through laws such as the Voting Rights Act, and Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, which obligates them to send representatives to the Electoral College to choose the president.

Excepted from Political Trust & Distrust, Part 1 of 2.

Tomorrow we will consider how trust is affected by government responsiveness to our needs.

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