• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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 main options facing the government on taxation and public spending?Should expenditure ...

    The Minister may take this opportunity to complete the much signalled simplification of the PRSI process by overhauling the system of employees' PRSI and levies. Any changes to the system are likely to be done in such a way as to result in a tax neutral position.

  2. Sovereignty and Democracy in the European Union.

    The decline of Parliamentary sovereignty Yet and this brings me to my second suggested source of public alienation - the advent of the EU has accelerated the decline of national Parliamentary sovereignty and prestige. In Britain, at least, this process was evident long before the European experiment.

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

    However, it does seem to have had less impact on the publics' attitudes and values. In 1987, six out of ten voters were opposed to the Conservatives. On important issues such as welfare, Labour were preferred. Gallup in 1987 and MORI in June 1988 showed that a significant amount of

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

    Gandhi prisoner of hope). Gandhi believed this to be true of the British and on the whole was successful with them, as they did not commit massacres. Having said that, the actions following the Rowlatt bills were marred by rioting in Amritsar and two local leaders were arrested.

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

    They believe that in fact slavery had little to do with the controversy and that it just proved to be an issue that could be exploited for political gain. The main proponent of this school of though is Randall whose ideas seem to be based on his own experiences when writing of the Second World War.

  2. European Union: Council of Ministers.

    direction of a more united Europe, it left many details to be filled in at a later date in order to make the Helsinki vision a reality. By working closely with Ankara, the EU can move from an exclusive organization to an inclusive one, dedicated to the spread of democracy and stability throughout the European continent.

  1. Immigration in the United States.

    I feel that immigration should be reduced in order to keep the United States environment and culture from diluting. Many Americans feel that the federal government should ease their immigration control. Several people believe that the government should open the borders and have open immigration.

  2. John Locke and Thomas Hobbes are two philosophers who thought extensively on the subject ...

    Both of these powers gained and maintained control according to Machiavelli?s principles. These selfish yet reasonable acts concerning global affairs are the only successful way to maintain control of ones? country and those around it during times of tension. Even Plato, in his republic, expressed the need for a dictator in times of war.

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