Federalism can be defined as the process whereby two or more governments come together to share control or powers over a particular geographic area. In the United States, there are very many laws; from the local government, state government, and federal government, law govern every operation. Therefore, every person is governed under the laws of their city, county, state, and the federal government. (Longley, 2015) Federalism had started in a very long time, far back as the 18th century, where there was dual federalism, then in the 19th century; cooperative federalism, (Scott, 2012) but it had reached an advanced stage in this present world.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism
Advantages of Federalism
Federalism offers the following advantages:
- Federalism allows diversity. In cases such as where the local governments deal with the local problems directly, federalism comes to play. Additionally, the whole nation is not straight-jacketed with a particular or regular policy to which each state and community have to conform to. The state and local governments may be the best to deal with any specific state and local government issues.
- Federalism increases citizen participation. Federalism allows the sharing of power with the state governments, instead of handing the power into the hands of the national government. And since the common citizens are closer to the state government, they have the opportunity to participate in the power sharing. Additionally, federalism foster political participation. People can confidently hold or run for political positions or office.
- Federalism helps manage conflict issues. Since different states and communities are allowed to develop their own policies, people with strong disagreements or irreconcilable differences are allowed for, to live in different areas, and develop their own results, or policies, which could in one way or the other disagreeable to other people in other regions or states of the country.
Disadvantages of Federalism
The drawbacks of federalism include:
- Federalism gives the freedom for special interests to protect their privileges. Many segregationists have argued states’ rights for the avoidance of federal laws that was designed to guarantee equality among citizen and prevent discrimination. This states’ rights argument has indeed been usually used in defense of any racial discrimination that has now become a code word specifically for racism.
- Federalism permits local leaders to thwart national policy. This act can cause obstruction to not only civil right policies, but also policies in aspects as diverse as poverty, energy, and pollution.
- Federalism builds up disadvantages in poorer states and even communities, which mostly provide lower levels of health, education, and welfare services, such as environmental protection than richer states and communities under police protection.
The Changes in American Federalism
Since the ratification of the constitution, there have been changes to American federalism.
First, between the period of 1789 to 1901, there was the era of Dual Federalism. This was characterized as the period in which there was no much collaboration between the national and state governments.
Second, between the period of 1901 to 1960, Cooperative Federalism existed. This period was marked by an enormous cooperation and collaboration between the different levels of government. It was also during this era that there was an authorization of the national income tax and the grant-in-aid system reacted to social and economic problems facing the nation.
Third, between 1960 to 1968, this era was characterized as the Creative Federalism. A period in which President Lyndon Johnson was known for his Creative Federalism in his Great Society program, and based on many scholar’s assessments, it was a major going away from the past.
Advantage and Disadvantage of Federalism Relevant to Me
An advantage of federalism relevant to me is the loyalties fostered in the state. Many americans feel tied closely to their home state, since federalism helps maintain a connection with the power given to the states.
A disadvantage of federalism is the lack of accountability. Since there is an overlap of boundaries within the national and state governments, it had become tricky to assign blame for failed any failed policies.
Relationship between Contemporary Politics and Trends in Size and Power of the Federal Government
First, politics become really serious on the negative side because as the size and power of the federal government develop, the stakes increase the more. Also, the size of various financial institutions surpasses the government and thus, we get into a fascist corporate global recession almost permanently.
Also Stusy: Impact of Politics in the United States
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Federalism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from http://www.sparknotes.com/us-government-and-politics/american-government/federalism/section4.rhtml
Why Federalism. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from http://www.cengage.com/resource_uploads/downloads/0495913510_265742.pdf
Wiseman, R. (n.d.). BLOOMP. Retrieved June 20, 2016, from http://www.bloomp.net/articles/benefits_federalism.htm
Wood, D. P. (1999). International law and federalism: What is the reach of regulation? Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Retrieved June 20, 2016.