What Are Exclusive Powers?

Exclusive powers are powers given to either the state or national government. Neither governmental group can impose on the powers of the other. Powers shared by the two are called shared powers.

Exclusive powers are an essential part of the United States government system that gives the states individual power to run as it sees fit. This also lessens the load on the two governments because they can trust one another to handle these exclusive powers. Powers exclusive to states include building highway infrastructure within the state, conducting local elections, ratifying amendments to the United States Constitution and issuing licenses.

Powers exclusive to the national government include constructing interstate highway infrastructure, printing money, declaring war and making treaties with foreign governments. The national government, overall, has more exclusive powers than state governments. Exclusive national government powers generally deal with interstate programs, such as the postal service and foreign diplomacy programs, such as national defense.

Shared powers include imposing taxes, building roads, setting up courts and making and enforcing laws. These powers are things that concern both the state and federal government, such as taxes to fund programs, and it is essential for both parts of government to have the power to do these things.