• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain the role and importance of Federalism in the Constitutional system of government.

Extracts from this document...


Robin Walden Politics in the USA Tutor: Donna Jackson Explain the role and importance of Federalism in the Constitutional system of government. When the founding fathers constructed the American constitution in 1787, Federalism was absolutely crucial to the basis of the revision of the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution itself was testament to the Founding Fathers' will to implement a central government, for the Articles of Confederation had proven ineffective in providing a unifying leadership. The system of Federalism addressed this problem whilst remaining wary of the possible abuse of this authority, represented through the political power distributed to the States. This preservation of democracy represents the Founding Fathers biggest concern and this legacy of freedom and liberty remains today as essential to the American character. Not only was it important to separate the powers to protect democracy, but cultural and political differences between the states demanded that local governments oversee local issues. The changing role and definition of Federalism from 1789 to present is also important to consider, with special consideration required in the transformation it has undertaken in the twentieth century. Federalism has always been at the cornerstone of democracy in the United States and this surely remains the case today, for the American people have always identified themselves as an American and as an American of a particular state. ...read more.


He is surely referring to the fact that there is no one overwhelming authority, instead there is a series of authorities between state and central government, discouraging and indeed making improbable, any abuse of power. Samuel H. Beer believes that not only does Federalism discourage tyranny but "the social plurism of the general government will counteract tendencies toward a factional abuse of power in the subordinate governments."13, thereby acting as a check on the system, reducing further the risk of abuse. The power distributed to the States ensure that power "cannot legitimately be centralized or concentrated without breaking the structure and spirit of the constitution"14, once more ensuring that no kind of autocracy could be implemented established within America. The powers of the States are substantial; with the most important role being the ratification of constitutional amendments. As long as the States remain a part of the Constitutional process, there is no possibility that their influence will disappear, or diminish significantly; their rights and responsibilities are constitutionally protected and for this reason the role of the States is of huge importance. This example conforms to and adheres to Tocqueville's views that the republic is well protected through Federalism, once more deflecting the possibility of tyranny. ...read more.


Therefore the role and importance of Federalism to the Constitutional form of government must not be understated. The significance of the separation of powers is based in the Founding Fathers fear of tyrannical, undemocratic government, and their will to stop any such government emerging in America. Also of motivation in the Constitution's construction was the will to preserve the individual states identity through their self-governance within this Federalist system; Federalism's capacity to allow both overall and individual government is essential to this. Despite the modern reduction in the influence of State government, the Constitution preserves the states' rights, ensuring their influence will remain and they will act as a check on the central government. Whether or not the Founding Fathers would concur with the current state of Federalism in America is debateable, yet the circumstances of the twentieth century undeniably demanded the increase in the role of Federalism. Current intergovernmental relations may revert to a more 'classical' form of federalism as and when circumstances allow, yet the fact that these debates remain underlines the continuing importance of Federalism. The separation of powers and consequent protection of democracy remains essential to the American political system, and the Founding Fathers legacy remains today in the form of Federal government. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree UK Government & Parliamentary Studies essays

  1. What are the differences between federalism and devolution?

    The practical differences of the systems also explain the constancy of the federal system compared to the tension within a devolved state between the centre and the periphery and the subsequent need for change. Burgess and Gagnon (1993: 6) argue that '...constitutional entrenchment is therefore the key to their political, economic and cultural self-preservation.'

  2. Examine the role of Gandhi in the development of Indian nationalism

    the Amritsar Massacre, but the Indian National Congress boycotted it and set up their own committee which included Gandhi. His non-violent non-co-operation pact had not gone to plan; he publicly condemned both the mob and the British officials for the incident.

  1. Compare coalition governments in Germany and Israel. What is the impact of the ...

    The president has a ceremonial role. The prime minister exercises executive power and in the past the president chose the prime minister who was most able to be the party leader. Between May 1996 and March 2001, however, the citizens voted for the prime minister directly, but the Knesset annulled this rule in March 2001.

  2. To what extent was slavery the cause of the American Civil War?

    divorce the agitators from the issues with the aim of showing that the issues had no importance32. Slavery was a real point of antagonism, and not manufactured by political agitators. It remains an important point in the cause of the Civil War.

  1. Sovereignty and Democracy in the European Union.

    Beyond that, it was mainly about money, and the commercial benefits expected to flow from Britain's membership. It is no coincidence that the enterprise was known in those days as the Common Market. In terms of material benefits, disillusionment soon set in.

  2. Lester B. Pearson's Influence on Our National Identity

    The preliminary report was released in 1965 and the final report was released as six books over the next five years. Parts of the commission were even broadcast on television and were used as a forum for Canadians to talk with one another and express their concerns about language and culture.

  1. Assess Mrs Thatcher's impact on British government and politics.

    sector as well as removing some of the reliance on the state. It confronted the idea that the state should provide for all 'from cradle to grave.' Mrs Thatcher will probably be most remembered for her privatisation policy. Broadly this took on three strands, the de-nationalisation of public companies, the

  2. How efficient was the Tsarist system of government?

    This does make an efficient government. Serious incidents, such as 'Bloody Sunday' on 9th January 1905, occurred because of negligence on part of the Tsar over the suffering of his people. The event had disastrous consequences and proved that efficiency could not be achieved through use of force.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work