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What are the advantages and disadvantages of federalism in the USA?

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Introduction

What are the advantages and disadvantages of federalism in the USA? In 1787, after long consideration, federalism was chosen as the most suitable and attractive political system for USA. It is possible, that the decision to select federalism as the only preference is simply, because of lack of possible alternatives. It can be argued that individuality of each state forming Articles of Confederation and its "widespread loyalty to state government"1 rejected the full adoption of unitary system. Federalism was a perfect option for the founders, who "desired national unity"2 and what is significant, "demanded local representation and authority as well."3 Over the years there has much debate as to whether federalism is the right political system in USA. Additional deliberation proved that federal system is far from being perfect. Although it has many significant advantages over the unitary state system it is important, nevertheless, to emphasise its disadvantages. One of the most important advantages of US federal system is its distribution of power amongst the states. It has its origin in the formation of Articles of Confederation and the concern of the Founders that unitary system with strong central government would be a threat to the freedom. USA was too big and too diverse in terms of culture and development to place such a power in a central government, which could simply sympathise some states and ignore interests of others. ...read more.

Middle

Each district within the state provides services for its citizens e.g. leisure places, water and waste management, or things like public safety and public place maintenance. These all things factors make the work of government much more efficient. Another important advantage of the federalism is that public can contribute to its state and local policy. With approximately one million elective offices nationwide people have "multiple points of access"9 to participate in the political changes. Citizens can take part in various volunteer commissions that report to elected lawmakers or join various groups which can address lawmakers at their meetings and therefore influence the decision within the government and city. Federalist government of USA is also known for its encouragement of innovation in terms of improvement of political system. "There are approximately 88,000 state and local governments in the USA"10 commonly known as "laboratories of democracy."11 The name emphasises their ability of quick problem solving, as well as developing new strategies and ideas in order to improve the political system, services and therefore quality of life. One of the most famous cases of that unconventional law enforcement is "Community Policing"12 which was introduced in New York in the 1980s. This scheme was designed to combine both civil and police forces in order to reduce crime rate within neighbourhoods and, what is important, improve the relationship between people and police. ...read more.

Conclusion

Laws in terms of capital murder,17 for example, are similar throughout the country; child support guidelines laws,18 on the other hand, differ with each state which might be discriminating to some of the citizens of USA. Finally, because of the equal distribution of power among the states there is much greater chance of a bureaucracy to accrue with many more people involved in the decision-making process. That might affect two major parts of government- decision making and problem solving. Because of such a number of governments within a single country, it is very difficult to improve government services and solve a given problem in an efficient and quick way. This can create problems when attempting to develop nationwide responses. The disaster of Hurricane Katrina can be a great example if discussing that issue. Because of the lack of cooperation and quick decision making of the federal government and authorities responsible for New Orleans district, many problems accrued which, unfortunately, cost many lifes of innocent citizens. Although the federal system has many disadvantages as well as advantages, it remains an ideal political system within USA. It is partly because of the diversity throughout the whole country and partly due to the great desire of freedom and independence which, one can argue, became an unarguable gospel of the whole nation. Although many Americans disagree on the distribution of the power amongst the local and national governments, federal system of USA remains as flexible as it was when adopted and described in 1787 by the Founding Fathers in an Articles of Confederation. ...read more.

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