American Federalism: the Articles of Confederation

Topics: Federalism, Federation, United States Constitution Pages: 2 (619 words) Published: December 11, 2005
American Federalism
American federalism was created as a response to the unsatisfying effects of the Articles of Confederation. Delegates were sent to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia, and decided at this union that in order to create a satisfactory establishment, they must protect the safety of the citizen's, keep civil disruption at a minimum, provide for every citizen's well-being as well as protect their rights and freedom. A federal system checks the growth of tyranny, allows unity without uniformity, encourages experimentation, and keeps government closer to the people. In this system, the people are one with the government so the people like the government and it prevents chaos. In the twenty-first century, nations are experimenting with forms of federalism because of the demand for greater autonomy by ethnic groups and others such as the countries of Western Europe have formed a European Union. The framers of the Constitution rejected both confederate and unitary models of government. Instead, they based the new American government on an entirely new theory: federalism. In a confederation, the member states make up the union. Sovereignty remains with the states and individuals are citizens of their respective states, not of the national government. In a unitary system, on the other hand, the national government is sovereign and the states, if they exist at all, are mere administrative arms of the central government. In the American federal system, the people retain their basic sovereignty and they delegate some powers to the national government and reserve other powers to the states. Individuals are citizens of both the general government and their respective states. Also, the framers expected that the states would be the principal policymakers in the federal system. The powers granted to the federal government are relatively few in number and deal mainly with foreign and military affairs and national economic issues, such as...
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