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Political science Essay

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Paper type: Essay

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Political federalism is a concept of political philosophy where by member groups are bound with a central governing head. Federalism is also often used in describing a government system that has its sovereignty being divided constitutionally between a central authority of government and political units such as states and provinces.

Federalism is the system that involves sharing of the power to govern between state and national governments, hence creating what is commonly known as Federation. The proponents of federalism are referred to as federalists.

Democracy is a form of government whereby the basic personal as well as political rights are guaranteed by the constitution. In democracy, the constitution must also guarantee fair and free elections as well as independent law courts.

Read more: How does federalism guard against tyranny essay

For full democracy to be experienced in any state some basic requirements such as guarantee of basic human rights, separation o powers, freedom of speech, opinion, pres and mass media religious liberty, and good governance must be fulfilled.

Federalism enhances democracy and this can well be explained by the public choice theory. It has been clearly argued that individuals are able to participate more and in direct way in the smaller political units as opposed to a unitary government (Elazar 89). In addition, individuals who may be dissatisfied with conditions of a certain smaller state as unit are free to move to another state. This has been believed to promote freedom of movement as well as freedom of expression among the citizens. Promotion and encouragement of such freedom results to enhancement of democracy in a federal system.

Moreover, federalism is believed to limit or rather prevent arbitrary action from the entire state, simply by applying the principle of due process. It limits the power that can be exercised by the government and enhance access to the rights by the citizens since it discourages any legislature that wishes to restrict liberties through in access to constitutional power (Elazar 112). Again, the legal process of decision making of federalism limits the speed with which action can be taken by the government.

Through federalism the US senators who initially use to be appointed by the legislators of the state are now voted in their seats by the popular vote of each single state. This has enhanced the democracy of the citizens whereby they can now participate in the free and fair elections of their senators. In the United States, federalism is the government system in which power is divided between the government of such state and a central government. The undermining of the federalism by the US constitutions is clearly expresses by the fact that the US constitution is clearly expressed by the fact that the US constitution does not define nor explain the concepts of federalism in any one of its sections (Elazar 54).

This was overlooked due to the fact that the states were known to be pre-existing entities. There is also very narrow interpretation of some parts of the constitution such as in the commerce clause, supremacy clause, and the necessary clause. Due to this narrow interpretation, federalism is entitled to jurisdiction only in the constitution grants it. The US constitution also has the power of not delegating to the federal government. The reserved powers are channeled to the people or rather the state.


Federalism is an important form of political philosophy that is exercised in several states in the world. It has promoted democracy to a great extend especially in the US where by the citizens have been able to participate in free and fair elections as well as enjoying the freedom of movement and speech within the single states. The US constitution should therefore be reviewed to ensure that it does not underpin federalism.


Elazar J. Exploring Federalism.University of Alabama Press

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