Federalism Project

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Federalism is an important part of how the US, among other nations function today. Federalism has allowed for freedom and growth by giving people the right to choose how small governments function under a larger central government. Federalism has changed how governments run in many nations for the better by empowering citizens and allowing for a more fair way for people to live. The many benefits of Federalism include but are not limited to: mobility, choice, economic privacy, and allows for a less dictatorial government system by stepping away from the ideals of centralization or a centralized government.

In the 1700’s most unions had unitary governments, governments in which one central government controlled all political authority. Federalism was brought about during this time to try and separate and step away from that widely accepted idea and the idea of centralism to have a more divided and fair government that met the needs of larger amount of people (Kersh and Monroe 83). The principal of federalism is dividing the constitutional provisions and powers giving power to all different kinds of governments divided across the country. Federalism simplified is one central government with multiple smaller governments and units like the states (Kersh and Monroe 84).

Competitive federalism is when governments compete with each other. This can include local, state and other regional governments. I believe that competitive federalism is a good thing for people because it gives people the freedom to choose how they want to live and what kind of governing they live under. Competitive federalism allows for many different types of governing and is beneficial to individuals because they have the option to leave a localized government if not fulfilled by the results of it. Government compete for individuals by doing what they think people are happier with. An example of competitive federalism is shown in the article when citizens of New York were unhappy with the amount of taxes they had to pay in the state, so citizens reacted by going to New Jersey and spending their money their because the taxes were lower. In turn, New York opted for no tax days in order to appease their citizens (Greve). This is a great example of how because of the competition between two small governments, the laws were adjusted to meet the needs and wants of the people.

Federalism empowers citizens by allowing the citizens choices to affect the way governments are run. Voting is an important part of federalism and voting in small governments allows for more diversity and more options for people to choose. Citizens are empowered when they are given a choice of how they want to live and what kinds of rules and constructs to live under. Empowerment comes from the ability to choose for yourself if one is happy under the government they live in and if not, have the option to exit and go somewhere where the individuals needs are met. When citizens have the power to act a certain way and influence their government because of it, it gives a sense of empowerment. This can only really be done when small divided governments are utilized.

Federalism replicates private economic principals in various ways. Federalism replicated the idea of property rights by allowing citizens to own private property. Federalism replicates free mobility by allowing competition between companies and firms on a large scale This benefits citizens because it helps with keeping prices for consumers fair. Federalism also supports the allocations of public spending because it is up to state governments instead of one large centralized government deciding how money should be spent throughout an entire union. Giving this power to smaller governments allows for public spending to be allocated to more specific needs of an area.

Mobility and choice are fundamentals of federalism allowing for the citizen to have the choice of how they live and allows for “exit” from unfavorable governments and situations. Mobility allows citizen the option to leave an area of government if they’re unsatisfied with it. The example about New York and New Jersey that is provided in the article can also be applied to the concept of mobility and choice because the people in New York were able to mobilize travel to New Jersey, a different state government with lower taxes, to do their shopping because the taxes in New York were too high. The taxes were lower in New Jersey due to it having a separate state government from New York (Greve). Mobility gives individuals the freedom to move around if need be. Choice is petty self explanatory. Citizens living among a federalism style government are giving a choice to choose where they want to be based on which government and laws they want to live under. This is because federalism allows for many small governments to exist among each other but work separately.

Centralization is defined as the control of activity or group of people under a single authority. Great Britain lives under a centralized government and the US has tried to sway as far away from this style of government as possible in hopes to give individuals more freedom to choose how they may be governed (Greve). Centralization has little room for addressing the needs of all individuals because there are many different groups of individuals who exist in different areas and require different needs. There is no way to please everyone or even the majority under a centralized form of government. To do so there must be many different governments controlling smaller groups of people whose needs relate to each other. This is done by allowing many small governments to co-exist with each other. Federalism is the idea that supports this type of government. Federalism is quite opposite of centralization or a total centralized government. Federalism addresses that centralization is not in favor of the citizens because it does not allow the individual to choose between what laws they’re living under. Federalism came about to give freedom to choose to the individual. State governments allow for better ability to suit localized conditions.

There are many benefits of Federalism. Federalism it is a form of government that allows the individual to have more control over their lives rather than being dictated by one centralized government, a person has the ability to choose from multiple governments being held together by one strong centralized government. Citizens are able to participate more in factors and decisions that will affect individual lives whereas centralization cannot include a variety of citizens’ opinions or outlooks. Having localized governments increases citizen participation and allows for more individualized needs to be met. With the implementation of federalism, specific needs of a smaller more localized group of individuals are able to be taken into consideration when making important government decisions. Opposite of this, a centralized government cannot account for more individualized needs. The major disadvantage that can come from federalism is the ability for states to have major inequalities and for there to be too much competition. Too much competition can lead to less attention to the needs of the lower class and result in the needs of a large majority not being met (Kersh and Monroe 87).

I believe that the real meaning of Federalism and how it is supposed to work has sort of been lost today. This makes people turn against the idea of federalism because it is not being used to the best of its ability. Federalism will probably make a resurgence because of the way competitive federalism benefits the individual needs of citizens. Competitive federalism allows for more economic freedom which should be in favor of American citizens. Citizens also play a larger role in control of their governments when federalism is enacted and I believe that is another reason it may have its revival. There is no form of government that fits every single person’s specific needs but the goal of federalism and how the government works under it, is the form of government that fits the most amount of people’s needs and therefore one of the best ways a government should be run.

is one of, if not the best way to run a union. The reasons for this are its benefits from competitive governments and that having multiple localized governments is the best system in order to individualize and meet the needs of the largest number of people. Federalism broke away from the largely accepted “centralized government” to provide a system that allows citizens to have more freedom play a greater role in the government decisions that affect their daily lives.

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Federalism Project. (2019, Feb 15). Retrieved June 18, 2024 , from

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