What Obligations Do the States Have to Citizens?

According to the United States Constitution, state governments are responsible for all leadership not allocated to the federal government. The Constitution also requires states to maintain a republican form of government.

Each state individually decides what services and agencies to offer its citizens, with the exception of those services that the federal government charges the states with administering. All states have a system for administering and upholding laws. Each state also has a legislative branch that determines laws specific to that state. The states have the liberty to decide how many people comprise that legislative branch. People within each state district elect the officials.

Each state is led by a governor who acts much in the same capacity as the president but on a smaller scale. Unlike the electoral college used for presidential elections, however, a candidate wins the governorship by popular vote. States also are under the obligation to determine the structure and amount of power maintained by local governments. Local governments are responsible for administering public services guaranteed to citizens by the state, including park services, emergency services, public housing programs, public works and public transportation. The founding fathers devised the federal and state system to prevent the United States from becoming like the powerful monarchies of Europe.