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  • Topic: Government, Federation, Federalism
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  • Published : May 10, 2008
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Federalism, the form of government in which authority is divided between the states and the federal government, is the primary form of government within the United States. Its origins, rooted in the Anti-Federalist opposition to a strong central government, geographical practicality and the existence of various political subcultures, are the primary factors as to why Federalism was established. Practices such as same-sex marriage rights, speeding laws, and taxation laws among various states are examples of Federalism at work in today’s society.

The fact that the Federalist Party was in favor of a strong central government eventually created a dichotomy between the Anti-Federalists, who were against a strong central government and argued that it would be hostile to civil liberties. Thus, the unitary system (a centralized governmental system) was severely out of the question. The confederal system was also not supported, for it gave no power over the states, and thus did not satisfy the Federalist Party.

Geographical practicality was another factor that gave rise to the development of federalism. Even if colonial leaders had agreed on a unitary system, size and regional isolation (of the states) would have made such a system difficult to operate (Schmidt et. Al. 2007, pg 48). If the central government controlled all of the states and made all laws, it would take several weeks for all of the colonies to be informed about those decisions. The large area of the United States makes it difficult to have one central government. Federalism brings the government closer to the people (Schmidt et. Al. 2007, pg 49), and allows direct access to government policies.

Also rooted in the origin of federalism was the existence of a variety of political subcultures within various states. Federalism allows different cultures of differing states to adapt and set their own laws based on the particular culture within that state (differing cultures such as ethnic origin,...
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