Concept of Federalism

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Concept of Federalism

The term “federalism” is never found in the U.S. Constitution, but it has great meaning to our understanding of government. Explain the concept of federalism as it exists today. Political Scientists refer to this as “New Federalism.” Start your research at: This will just acquaint you with various aspects of Federalism

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Government Federalism

Federalism is a form of governance in which there is power sharing between the national and state government. Evidently, in the United States, President Donald Trump has been on the forefront on the deportation of undocumented immigrants. He has received support from the state governments. However, the sanctuary cities within the U.S are opposing the federal deportation. They believe massive deportation of immigrants may lead to severe economic loss, and distortion of community relations. As a result, Trump is aiming at cutting off federal funding to the sanctuary cities as a way of breaking their resistance. On the other hand, the courts have ruled the impossibility of cutting off the funds. Therefore, this fight between the federal governments and the court has resulted in the protection of the immigrants[1].

Federalism has a deep history dating back to 1770s. Its major function was to outline how the national government and the States worked accordingly together in a power-sharing mode to enable smooth service delivery to citizens. It is a form of an established bridge of relationship or the association between the US federal government and all the States within the country. It has evolved from the dual-federalism, in which the power was shared between the national and the State governments to State-centered in which the states had powers for example of its citizens’ free movement within the country. The term has evolved to modern-day new federalism which is another term representing devolution.

Although the complexity of the term a big challenge for political and governance researchers, it can be easily deduced that federalism comes with some invaluable benefits, especially to citizens. The vastness of the US as a country makes it necessary to have decentralized form of governance for easier service delivery to the nationals.

For instance, the U.S. President Donald Trump has shown signs of using federalism as a way of regulating environmental pollution. He plans on letting state governments compete against each other to find best solutions on pollution. As a result, this has shown some efforts from states such as California and New York. However, there have been opposing views on this effort. They believe giving too much power to the state governments may result in less effort to curb environmental pollution[2]. Therefore, it is important to strike a balance between the national and the state governments to curb the pollution.

Undeniably, for a long period, the Federal government has been involved in the education sector in the U.S (Hornbeck, 2017). The Elementary and Secondary Act has changed the role of federal government in K-12 education. Consequently, the federal government has doubled the amount of expenditure in K-12 education. The funding has impacted positive changes in the educational arena regarding equal treatment of students despite their backgrounds. Therefore, this has led to improvement in performance of children from poor families. Moreover, the funding from the federal government will help the children attend schools of their choice.

Overly, this system of governance is beneficial to the country in many ways. Nevertheless, there are some challenges that accompany it, which is natural enough. According to InfiniteKnowledge, (2016), easier governance, diversity, constitutionality, close attention to local matters and close relationship between the government and its citizens among others, are some of the advantages that would accompany devolution, which is enshrined in the federalism. Other proponents outline that, it promotes national loyalty, encourages pragmatism, enhances political stability and promotes democracy (Sparknotes, 2017). All these appeal to those who support the idea of the federalism. However, opposing views have been evident.

Many rebels of federalism have had a lot to cite from to validate their claims. The extent of their justification is debatable, however, in a free world; everyone is entitled to freedom of expression. For instance, Wiseman, (2018), outlined in his work that some arguments against this form of governance was based on the historical records. Federalism is on record for protecting slavery and racial segregation. However, this may be an outdated claim given the steps the US as a country has taken towards racial equality in the contemporary world.

Federalism has common advantages that most of its critics tend to agree with. For example, the diffusion of authority and economic and cultural diversity are a major bonus from the devolved system of governments (Walker, n.d.). According to Wiseman (2018), critics emphasized the inequalities and competition among the states.  On the contrary, such issues like inequality among the states are irrelevant, because, it would only arise when members of specific states are not working hard to promote their welfare (Wiseman, 2018). For that reason, there is always a way that can make federalism flourish.

Countries like the US and India have a well established federal governments dating back several years ago. It has come with numerous benefits, and that is clear with the position these countries hold in the global economy. A notable point is the size of these countries. It is important to have devolved units of governance for easier management of larger countries like India and the US.

All in all, there has been a recent trend in the migration to the federal governance across the world, with the countries like Ghana, Ivory Coast and Kenya representing Africa in devolution, which is a positive score for the federalism (Gerring, Thacker, & Moreno, 2007). In this complex world, with complicated leaders like President Trump, federalism is fundamental to curb some extreme powers of dictatorship that stifle the overall growth of a nation.


Gerring, J., Thacker, S., & Moreno, c. (2007). Are Federal Systems Better than Unitary Systems? Boston University, 1-33.

Hornbeck, D. (2017, April 27). Federal role in education has a long history. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from The Conversation:

InfiniteKnowledge. (2016, July 17). Federalism: Meaning, Advantages, and Disadvantages. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from Important India:

Livermore, M. A. (2017, August 3). Why shifting regulatory power to the states won’t improve the environment. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from The Conversation:

Somin, I. (216, November 26). Federalism, the Constitution, and sanctuary cities. Retrieved March 1, 1, from The Washington Post:

Sparknotes. (2017). Advantages and Disadvantages of Federalism. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from SparkNotes:

Walker, G. (n.d.). Ten Advantages of a Federal Constitution. 1-66. Available at:

Wiseman, R. (2018). Advantages & Disadvantages of Federalism. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from Bloomp:

[1] Somin, I. (216, November 26). Federalism, the Constitution, and sanctuary cities. Retrieved March 1, 1, from The Washington Post

[2] Livermore, M. A. (2017, August 3). Why shifting regulatory power to the states won’t improve the environment. Retrieved March 1, 2018, from The Conversation.