The Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism

Federalism is a form of government that allows for more than one central entity to have power. What this means is that there is a federal government who is above all others, and smaller, more localized forms of governments that take control of local and regional issues. The idea behind this is to be able to better suit the needs of each area of the country, but some issues certainly arise. The over all idea of a federalist government is a great one, but let’s take a look at both sides of the issue.

The Advantages of Federalism

1. A Better Understanding
The central government has no true way to understand what issues and changes need to be made in every area of the country. This is why federalism is such a great advantage. The smaller branches of the local governments are right in the middle of the local society. They are better suited to deal with the true things that need to be changed.

2. Separation of Power
One huge characteristic of federalism is the checks and balances that are in play. By not allowing one body of government to hold all power over the country, you help to prevent any harmful and negative things from happening to some areas of the country. This is why having multiple sectors of the government is so important in federalism.

3. People Feel More Involved
In a democracy people have a large say in what happens within the government. Federalism creates smaller local governments, and allows people to feel even more involved in the decisions and every day workings of their government. This makes people much more proud and excited about their country.

The Disadvantages of Federalism

1. Conflict of Authority
The biggest problem that arises when you have two bodies in power is the power struggle. Each sector wants to assert their power over the other. This can cause things like strikes and make the government much less effective than it could normally be.

2. Regionalism Over Patriotism
The mark of a great country is just how patriotic and prideful the citizens are to be a part of it. Federalism, since it promotes smaller level of government, it also promotes smaller levels of pride. It can begin to pit one region against another and take away from the feeling of patriotism that should be present all over the entire country.

3. A Lack of Accountability
With the responsibility of the government being shared, it becomes very easy for one sector to release responsibility for the other, and vice versa. This can become a very large problem because if something goes wrong, both sides of the government can relinquish control for the responsibility.

4. Compromise Isn’t Good
With two bodies of power fighting against each other, many things result in a compromise on important issues. Compromise, while sometimes can be a good thing, when you are dealing with life changing and vital policies, compromises will just not cut it.

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Important Facts About Federalism

  • We are currently in the 7th stage of federalism. It is known as competitive federalism.
  • Alexander Hamilton was the person whose beliefs and ideas federalism was based off of.
  • The three powers that federalism is split into is national, state, an d concurrent.
  • States are considered their own government entirely.
  • However, state governments are no where near equal to a national government.
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