Powers of the Government

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Here is a breakdown of national and state government powers.

Source: The U.S. Government Printing Office
National GovernmentState Government

* Print money
* Regulate interstate (between states) and international trade
* Make treaties and conduct foreign policy
* Declare war
* Provide an army and navy
* Establish post offices
* Make laws necessary and proper to carry out the these powers

* Issue licenses
* Regulate intrastate (within the state) businesses
* Conduct elections
* Establish local governments
* Ratify amendments to the Constitution
* Take measures for public health and safety
* May exert powers the Constitution does not delegate to the national government or prohibit the states from using

In addition to their exclusive powers, both the national government and state governments share the power of being able to:

  • Collect taxes
  • Build roads
  • Borrow money
  • Establish courts
  • Make and enforce laws
  • Charter banks and corporations
  • Spend money for the general welfare
  • Take private property for public purposes, with just compensation

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