While reading a news article about the upcoming presidential election one day, I noticed a trend. The vast majority of political articles discuss what the federal government should do, but almost never cover what it could do. In elementary school, American children are taught that the Constitution, a 4,543-word document, is the place from which all federal power is derived; but the Constitution says nothing about the regulation of travel, narcotics, or the vast majority of other areas that affect the way we live our daily lives, so where does that power come from? After some preliminary research, I discovered that a great deal of it comes from how the Supreme Court has interpreted two Constitutional Clauses in particular (The Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause) and decided to dig deeper. This thesis is a product of that research. Through a historical overview of Supreme Court jurisprudence on these two clauses, this thesis will reveal that, one case at a time, federal power has gradually expanded through the centuries and shows no sign of slowing, the effect of which is the degradation and potential devolution of American federalism, the backbone upon which this country was founded.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Beckman, James


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Legal Studies

Degree Program

Legal Studies



Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date


Included in

Legal Studies Commons