Federalism comes through on virus response

I’m in the Wall Street Journal today with this paywalled piece on the triumph of federalism on pandemic response: would-be modernizers aren’t scoffing at state government any more, as governors lead the way.

The piece briefly mentions that after surviving yellow fever Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza underwent quarantine in the Schuyler Mansion on the order of Albany officials. That was a fun one to research. The essentials are found briefly stated in item number 10 of this list or in this longer narrative. Hamilton wrote a letter griping about the conditions of his confinement. And this article recounts how after the yellow fever outbreak of 1793, Congress expanded the federal government’s role in epidemic response, seen as a helper to the states.

More: responsive thoughts on federalism and the virus emergency from Ilya Somin.


  • Was it the “triumph of federalism”? Let’s face it, the FDA and CDC dropped the ball, then “Jim Marshall” style, picked it up and ran the wrong way.

    And, a lot of the shortcomings of state government have been masked by the federal behemoth. No one can say that New York was at all prepared. Yet, the government there escapes accountability.

  • […] from Free State Notes] Related: Nashville radio host Brian Wilson did an extended riff on my Wall Street Journal op-ed on federalism and the virus emergency; you can listen here. And I appeared on screen as a source […]