The Pros and Cons of a Federal System of Government Author’s Details: Institutional Affiliation: The Pros and Cons of a Federal System of Government To begin with, a federation, often known as a federal state refers to a sovereign state characterized by a union of self governing regions or states unified by a central or federal government…
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Given the basic definition, a federal system of government consist of two or more levels of governments existing within an established territory governing through common structures/institutions with shared or overlapping powers prescribed by a supreme constitution (Shafritz, Edwin and Christopher, 2010). The central government is at the level of the sovereign state tasked with responsibilities of maintaining national security and conducting international diplomatic relations, covering the right of signing binding treaties. The central government is basically mandated to make binding laws for the whole federation; the power that local governments do not posses. Within its structure, the central government functions with ministries, departments alongside agencies in administering the federation. Federalism is thus a political as well as a philosophical concept that outlines how political power is divided or rather distributed to different levels of governments. The extent of division of power between the levels of governance in a democratic nation may vary. However, the most vital powers relating to security and the stability of the entire union are granted to the center, with regional governments sharing subsidiary responsibility. ...
In particular, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and Brazil are all examples of federal governments. With regard to the United States, federalism has been an ever evolving relationship between state governments and the federal government. From a system of dual federal system, the American governance structures have evolved to that of associative federalism. In the "Federalist No. 46," James Madison asserts that both levels of governments "are distinct agents and trustees of the citizenry, constituted with distinct powers." According to Alexander Hamilton, ("Federalist No. 28), both levels of government were constituted to exercise authority to the benefit of the citizens. That is to say, if in case the peoples' rights were trampled upon by either of the two, they could make use of the other level of government as the instrument of redress (Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, 1961). As with every system of governance, federalism as a model of governance characterized by sharing of power is not perfect, neither is it any close to achieving perfect harmonious relations among its components. As a system corrected through the ages to achieve its current status in the United States, it is an obvious fact that federalism has its merits and the disadvantages. One of the prime benefits of a federal system is the degree of autonomy granted to regional governments in deciding their local laws, in spite of being a part of a whole. In the US, every state has the authority to modify local laws to fit the local demands. The system is also advantageous with respect to degree with which governance is simplified to achieve the distribution of power. In effect, local problems are dealt with at the local level without letting them gravitate to the national level
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