Although it is said that the national government is supreme the state government also has the same sovereignty on certain issues. Federalism began when the Constitution of the United States began to develop. It was a compromise of powers between state and national governments. The main reason for federalism was to be sure that one government did not hold more power over the other. So by separating the powers of the government it avoided it, as well as preserved our personal liberty.
Rather than the national government getting its powers from the states, or the other way around where the state gets its power from the national government, they receive it from the people. As this is a system of government for the people, by the people. The advantages and disadvantages of federalism have always been up for debate by the people. Some argue that federalism’s advantages are that it promotes state loyalties by allowing Americans to feel connected or closeness with their state being that federalism with holds that connection because they have given power to its states.
Another advantage of federalism is that it uses common sense, in the running of a country with such a diverse population like the United States. Power is given to state and local officials to deal with certain problems, as it is easier being that they understand the problems in the area and would know the best policy to put in place to solve any issues. Lastly, federalism makes certain to prevent tyranny and the separation of powers by making sure that state governments function independently if all three branches of federal government are taken control of by a person and or group.
By doing this federalism implements our governmental structure of liberty. Some of Federalism’s disadvantages on the other hand are that federalism has been preventing the creation of a national policy. Rather than have a single policy on certain issues, instead the United States has multiple policies on issues which in the end causes a lot of confusion for the people. Secondly, federalism leads to the inability to appoint accountability.
This being because the boundaries of the national and state government overlap, it makes it a lot harder for anyone to point blame on one of the governments specifically when policies fail. Finally, federalism continues to allow state and local areas to discriminate against race as well as the most common issue recently of allowing the discrimination of a person’s sexual preference of being gay or lesbian. Since the ratification of the Constitution American federalism has changed in so many ways.
One of this ways being that before the ratification of the Constitution there was only federal and state governments, but now we have lots of governments within the federal and state. For example, we now have townships, municipals, city, and county governments. In my opinion it is great that this change has happened being that sometimes it is easier for these local governments to handle certain local issues as they know what exactly would work best for their local area to help resolve whatever problem is going on.
Another thing is that the ratification of the Constitution strengthened the National government. Prior to the ratification the Articles of Confederation gave a lot of power to the states to do as they pleased. Ratification specifically laid out what states did not have the power to do. A lot of what has happened to federalism since the Constitution was ratified has been specifically based off what is happening at that moment in time.
For me one major disadvantage of federalism that most relevant to me would be the discrimination against same gay marriages. This issue hits a specific nerve in me because of the close relation I have to the issue. As my mother is a lesbian, and has been with her partner for almost 15 years and though their relationship is like any other of a man and women they are not allowed to get married. I find it to be wrong that some states have legalized gay marriage whereas other such as Florida bans gay marriage and continues to discriminate against the issue.
As of right now this issue is in the Supreme Court awaiting ruling and all me and my family can do is hope for the best. The federal government has definitely increased in size over the years though legislation. Every time Congress or the President establishes a federal act such as the Disabilities Act or Fair Pay Act the federal government grows in size. The same goes for every time the Supreme Court rules on a case that mandates civil liberties to all states the government grows in size and power.
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