Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



A basic American tradition is that problems which are national in scope (i.e., which "affect more states than one") shall be handled by the national government, while problems of merely state-wide concern are left for state government. Municipal home rule is the application of this basic principal in the relationship of the state to its towns and cities. To put the matter in the most simple and direct terms--nothing should be done at the national level that can be done efficiently by the states and nothing should be handled at the state level that can be dealt with effectively by the local community. It is by such subdivision of governmental power and responsibility that we in America have sought to solve "the inherent difficulty which [bigness] begets- whether in the government of industry, university or nation --namely, the task of getting things done, consistently with that large regard for individual variations which is the essence of democracy.'