Federalism defines a system of government in which sovereignty is divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units. In the United States, power is divided between the federal government and the individual states.
One of only 3 clauses of Magna Carta still in law, this clause protects London's ability to do such things as elect its own mayor, as well as appoint other officials. This ability to operate on a local level may be an early inspiration for the sort of federalism outlined in the federal Constitution. While the Constitution presupposes the existence of states as political bodies, and it goes a long way toward defining what the relationship between the state and federal governments will be (it names some areas where the federal government is supreme over the states; it names some areas where the states have limited or no jurisdiction; and it specifies some actions or conditions that are forbidden to them and some that are required of them), the Constitution, for the most part, does not dictate to the states how they must conduct their internal affairs. The sort of sovereignty enjoyed by the states nods to the sovereignty expressed to London to "enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs."Further, granting these liberties and free customs to "all other cities, boroughs, towns, and ports" may be a precursor to Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which outlines that "Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State..." in addition to Article IV, Section 2's provision that "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States."
Annotated by jhowell on October 23, 2014