Federalism
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Federalism


Federalism is a political concept in which
a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term “federalism” is also used to describe
a system of government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central
governing authority and constituent political units. Federalism is a system based upon democratic
rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state
governments, creating what is often called a federation. European vs. American Federalism In Europe, “Federalist” is sometimes used
to describe those who favor a common federal government, with distributed power at regional,
national and supranational levels. Most European federalists want this development
to continue within the European Union. European federalism originated in post-war
Europe; one of the more important initiatives was Winston Churchill’s speech in Zurich in
1946. In the United States, federalism originally
referred to belief in a stronger central government. When the U.S. Constitution was being drafted,
the Federalist Party supported a stronger central government, while “Anti-Federalists”
wanted a weaker central government. This is very different from the modern usage
of “federalism” in Europe and the United States. The distinction stems from the fact that “federalism”
is situated in the middle of the political spectrum between a confederacy and a unitary
state. The U.S. Constitution was written as a reaction
to the Articles of Confederation, under which the United States was a loose confederation
with a weak central government. Further, during the American Civil War, members
of the Confederate States of America, which seceded in favor of a weaker central government,
referred to pro-Union soldiers of the United States government as “Federals.” Thus in the United States “federalism” argued
for a stronger central government, relative to a confederacy. In contrast, Europe has a greater history
of unitary states than North America, thus European “federalism” argues for a weaker
central government, relative to a unitary state. The modern American usage of the word is much
closer to the European sense. As the power of the Federal government has
increased, some people have perceived a much more unitary state than they believe the Founding
Fathers intended. Most people politically advocating “federalism”
in the United States argue in favor of limiting the powers of the federal government, especially
the judiciary. In Canada, federalism typically implies opposition
to sovereigntist movements. The governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil,
India, and Mexico, among others, are also organized along federalist principles. Federalism may encompass as few as two or
three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium or Bosnia and Herzegovina. In general, two extremes of federalism can
be distinguished: at one extreme, the strong federal state is almost completely unitary,
with few powers reserved for local governments; while at the other extreme, the national government
may be a federal state in name only, being a confederation in actuality. In 1999, the Government of Canada established
the Forum of Federations as an international network for exchange of best practices among
federal and federalizing countries. Headquartered in Ottawa, the Forum of Federations
partner governments include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico,
Nigeria, and Switzerland. Some Christian denominations are organized
on federalist principles; in these churches this is known as ecclesiastic or theological
federalism. Examples of federalism
Australia On January 1, 1901 the Australian nation emerged
as a federation. The Australian continent was colonized by
the United Kingdom in 1788, which subsequently established six self-governing colonies there. In the 1890s the governments of these colonies
all held referendums on becoming a unified, independent nation. When all the colonies voted in favour of federation,
the Federation of Australia commenced, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of
Australia in 1901. Whilst the Federation of Australia emerged
in 1901, the States of Australia remained colonies of Britain until 1986 when the UK
and Australia passed the Australia Acts. The model of Australian federalism adheres
closely to the original model of the United States of America, though through a Westminster
system. Brazil In Brazil, the fall of the monarchy in 1889
by a military coup d’état led to the rise of the presidential system, headed by Deodoro
da Fonseca. Aided by well-known jurist Ruy Barbosa, Fonseca
established federalism in Brazil by decree, but this system of government would be confirmed
by every Brazilian constitution since 1891, although some of them would distort some of
the federalist principles. The 1937 Constitution, for example, granted
the federal government the authority to appoint State Governors at will, thus centralizing
power in the hands of President Getúlio Vargas. Brazil also uses the Fonseca system to regulate
interstate trade. The Brazilian Constitution of 1988 introduced
a new component to the ideas of federalism, including municipalities as federal entities. Brazilian municipalities are now invested
with some of the traditional powers usually granted to states in federalism, and although
they are not allowed to have a Constitution, they are structured by an organic law. Canada In Canada, the system of federalism is described
by the division of powers between the federal parliament and the country’s provincial governments. Under the Constitution Act of 1867, specific
powers of legislation are allotted. Section 91 of the constitution gives rise
to federal authority for legislation, whereas section 92 gives rise to provincial powers. For matters not directly dealt with in the
constitution, the federal government retains residual powers; however, conflict between
the two levels of government, relating to which level has legislative jurisdiction over
various matters, has been a longstanding and evolving issue. Areas of contest include legislation with
respect to regulation of the economy, taxation, and natural resources. Colombia
In 1858 the unitary government of Colombia, then known as the Republic of New Granada,
was dissolved and replaced by the Granadine Confederation, a decentralized federal state. While the Colombian Civil War resulted in
the dismantling of the fledgling confederation, the United States of Colombia that replaced
it operated on similarly federal theories, though their actual policies generally differed. Today, however, the Republic of Colombia is
a unitary constitutional republic. India The Government of India was established by
the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of a federal union of 29 states
and 7 union territories. The government of India is based on a tiered
system, in which the Constitution of India delineates the subjects on which each tier
of government has executive powers. The Constitution originally provided for a
two-tier system of government, the Union Government, representing the Union of India, and the State
governments. Later, a third tier was added in the form
of Panchayats and Municipalities. In the current arrangement, The Seventh Schedule
of the Indian Constitution delimits the subjects of each level of governmental jurisdiction,
dividing them into three lists: Union List includes subjects of national importance
such as defence of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. The Union Government alone can make laws relating
to the subjects mentioned in the Union List. State List contains subjects of State and
local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture and irrigation. The State Governments alone can make laws
relating to the subjects mentioned in the State List. Concurrent List includes subjects of common
interest to both the Union Government as well as the State Governments, such as education,
forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption and succession. Both the Union as well as the State Governments
can make laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. If their laws conflict with each other, the
law made by the Union Government will prevail. Asymmetric federalism
A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that unlike many other forms of federalism,
it is asymmetric. Article 370 makes special provisions for the
state of Jammu and Kashmir as per its Instrument of Accession. Article 371 makes special provisions for the
states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and
Sikkim as per their accession or state-hood deals. Also one more aspect of Indian federalism
is system of President’s Rule in which the central government takes control of state’s
administration for certain months when no party can form a government in the state or
there is violent disturbance in the state. Coalition politics
Although the Constitution does not say so, India is now a multilingual federation. India has a multi-party system,with political
allegiances frequently based on linguistic, regional and caste identities, necessitating
coalition politics, especially at the Union level. South Africa
By the definition of most political scientists, South Africa counts as a federal state in
practice. Federalism in Europe
Several federal systems exist in Europe, such as in Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium,
Bosnia and Herzegovina and the European Union. Germany and the EU offer the only examples
in the world where members of the federal “upper houses” are neither elected nor appointed
but comprise delegates of the governments of their constituents. Modern Germany abandoned federalism only during
Nazism and in East Germany during from 1952 to 1990. Adolf Hitler viewed federalism as an obstacle
to his goals. As he wrote in Mein Kampf, “National Socialism
must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard
to what were hitherto the confines of federal states.” Accordingly, the idea of a strong, centralized
government has negative associations in German politics, although prior to 1919 or 1933,
many social democrats and liberals favored centralization in principle. In Britain, an Imperial Federation was once
seen as a method of solving the Home Rule problem in Ireland; federalism has long been
proposed as a solution to the “Irish Problem”, and more lately, to the “West Lothian question”. French Revolution
During the French Revolution, especially in 1793, “federalism” had an entirely different
meaning. It was a political movement to weaken the
central government in Paris by devolving power to the provinces. European Union
Following the end of World War II, several movements began advocating a European federation,
such as the Union of European Federalists or the European Movement, founded in 1948. Those organizations exercised influence in
the European unification process, but never in a decisive way. In 2011 also a European political party calling
for the creation of a federal Europe was established, the European Federalist Party. Although the drafts of both the Maastricht
treaty and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe mentioned federalism, the representatives
of the member countries never adopted it. The strongest advocates of European federalism
have been Germany, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg while those historically most strongly opposed
have been the United Kingdom and France; while other countries that have never campaigned
specifically for a particular means of governance in Europe are considered as federalists. Some would consider this the case with states
such as Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Hungary. In recent times the French government has
become increasingly pro-European Union, while countries like the Czech Republic have taken
on the roles of primary opponents to a stronger EU. Those uncomfortable using the “F” word
in the EU context should feel free to refer to it as a quasi-federal or federal-like system. Nevertheless, for the purposes of the analysis
here, the EU has the necessary attributes of a federal system. It is striking that while many scholars of
the EU continue to resist analyzing it as a federation, most contemporary students of
federalism view the EU as a federal system. Russian Federation The post-Imperial nature of Russian subdivision
of government changed towards a generally autonomous model which began with the establishment
of the USSR. It was liberalized in the aftermath of the
Soviet Union, with the reforms under Boris Yeltsin preserving much of the Soviet structure
while applying increasingly liberal reforms to the governance of the constituent republics
and subjects. Some of the reforms under Yeltsin were scaled
back by Vladimir Putin. All of Russia’s subdivisional entities are
known as subjects, with some smaller entities, such as the republics enjoying more autonomy
than other subjects on account of having an extant presence of a culturally non-Russian
ethnic minority or, in some cases, majority. United States Federalism in the United States is the evolving
relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States. American government has evolved from a system
of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In “Federalist No. 46,” James Madison asserted
that the states and national government “are in fact but different agents and trustees
of the people, constituted with different powers.” Alexander Hamilton, writing in “Federalist
No. 28,” suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens’
benefit: “If their [the peoples’] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the
other as the instrument of redress.” Because the states were preexisting political
entities, the U.S. Constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one
section but it often mentions the rights and responsibilities of state governments and
state officials in relation to the federal government. The federal government has certain express
powers which are powers spelled out in the Constitution, including the right to levy
taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause
gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law “necessary and proper” for
the execution of its express powers. Other powers—the reserved powers—are reserved
to the people or the states. The power delegated to the federal government
was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland, amendments
to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments—as well as
the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates
of the federal government. The Federalist party of the United States
were opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, including powerful figures such as Thomas
Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed
that: the Legislature had too much power and that they were unchecked; the Executive had
too much power, and that there was no check on the executive; a dictator would arise;
and that a bill of rights should be coupled with the constitution to prevent a dictator
from exploiting and/or tyrannizing citizens. The federalists, on the other hand, argued
that it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily
overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be
decided by the judicial system of courts. After the American Civil War, the federal
government increased greatly in influence on everyday life and in size relative to the
state governments. Reasons included the need to regulate businesses
and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision
of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial
new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. From 1938 until 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court
did not invalidate any federal statute as exceeding Congress’ power under the Commerce
Clause. Most actions by the federal government can
find some legal support among the express powers, such as the Commerce Clause, whose
applicability has been narrowed by the Supreme Court in recent years. In 1995 the Supreme Court rejected the Gun-Free
School Zones Act in the Lopez decision, and also rejected the civil remedy portion of
the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 in the United States v. Morrison decision. Recently, the Commerce Clause was interpreted
to include marijuana laws in the Gonzales v. Raich decision. Dual federalism holds that the federal government
and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. However, since the Civil War Era, the national
courts often interpret the federal government as the final judge of its own powers under
dual federalism. The establishment of Native American governments
exercising limited powers of sovereignty, has given rise to the concept of “bi-federalism.” Venezuela
The Federal War ended in 1863 with the signing of the Treaty of Coche by both the centralist
government of the time and the Federal Forces. The United States of Venezuela were subsequently
incorporated under a “Federation of Sovereign States” upon principles borrowed from the
Articles of Confederation of the United States of America. In this Federation, each State had a “President”
of its own that controlled almost every issue, even the creation of “State Armies,” while
the Federal Army was required to obtain presidential permission to enter any given state. However, more than 140 years later, the original
system has gradually evolved into a quasi-centralist form of government. While the 1999 Constitution still defines
Venezuela as a Federal Republic, it abolished the Senate, transferred competences of the
States to the Federal Government and granted the President of the Republic vast powers
to intervene in the States and Municipalities. Federalism with two components
Belgium Main articles: Belgian federal government,
Belgian federal parliament and Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium
Federalism in the Kingdom of Belgium is an evolving system. Belgian federalism reflects both the linguistic
communities and the economic regions. These correspond to the language areas in
Belgium. Although officially there are three language
areas, for all practical purposes only two languages are relevant on the federal level,
Dutch and French: Brussels is officially a bilingual area, but
it has a French-speaking majority. Flanders is the region associated with the
Belgium’s Dutch-speaking majority, i.e. the Flemish Community. Due to its relatively small size the German-speaking
Community of Belgium does not have much influence on national politics. Wallonia is a French-speaking area, except
for the East Cantons. French is the second most spoken first language
in Belgium, following Dutch. Within the French-speaking Community of Belgium,
there is a geographical and political distinction between Wallonia and Brussels for historical
and sociological reasons. On one hand, this means that the Belgian political
landscape, generally speaking, consists of only two components: the Dutch-speaking population
represented by Dutch-language political parties, and the majority populations of Wallonia and
Brussels, represented by their French-speaking parties. The Brussels region emerges as a third component. This specific dual form of federalism, with
the special position of Brussels, consequently has a number of political issues—even minor
ones—that are being fought out over the Dutch/French-language political division. With such issues, a final decision is possible
only in the form of a compromise. This tendency gives this dual federalism model
a number of traits that generally are ascribed to confederalism, and makes the future of
Belgian federalism contentious. On the other hand, Belgian federalism is federated
with three components. An affirmative resolution concerning Brussels’
place in the federal system passed in the parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels. These resolutions passed against the desires
of Dutch-speaking parties, who are generally in favour of a federal system with two components. However, the Flemish representatives in the
Parliament of the Brussels Capital-Region voted in favour of the Brussels resolution,
with the exception of one party. The chairman of the Walloon Parliament stated
on July 17, 2008 that, “Brussels would take an attitude”. Brussels’ parliament passed the resolution
on July 18, 2008: The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
approves with great majority a resolution claiming the presence of Brussels itself at
the negotiations of the reformation of the Belgian State. July 18, 2008
This aspect of Belgian federalism helps to explain the difficulties of partition; Brussels,
with its importance, is linked to both Wallonia and Flanders and vice-versa. This situation, however, does not erase the
traits of a confederation in the Belgian system. Other examples Current examples of two-sided federalism:
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a federation of two entities: Republika Srpska and Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Historical examples of two-sided federalism
include: Czechoslovakia, until the Czech Republic and
Slovakia separated in 1993. The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, from 1992
to 2003 when it became a confederation titled the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. This confederation expired 2006 as Montenegro
declared its independence. The 1960 Constitution of Cyprus was based
on the same ideas, but the union of Greeks and Turks failed. United Republic of Tanzania, which was the
union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Iraq adapted a federal system in 15 October
2005, and formally recognized the Kurdistan Region as the county’s first and currently
only federal region. See Constitution of Iraq for more information
regarding Iraq’s method of creating federal entities. The Federal Republic of Cameroun operated
between 1961 and 1972 Proposed federalism
It has been proposed in several unitary states to establish a federal system, for various
reasons. China China is the largest unitary state in the
world by both population and land area. Although China has had long periods of central
rule for centuries, it is often argued that the unitary structure of the Chinese government
is far too unwieldy to effectively and equitably manage the country’s affairs. On the other hand, Chinese nationalists are
suspicious of decentralization as a form of secessionism and a backdoor for national disunity;
still others argue that the degree of autonomy given to provincial-level officials in the
People’s Republic of China amounts to a de facto federalism. Libya
Shortly after the 2011 Libyan civil war, some in the eastern region of the country began
to call for the new regime to be federal, with the traditional three regions of Libya
being the constituent units. A group calling itself the Cyrenaican Transitional
Council issued a declaration of autonomy on 6 March 2012; this move was rejected by the
National Transitional Council in Tripoli. Philippines
The Philippines is a unitary state with some powers devolved to Local Government Units
under the terms of the Local Government Code. There is also one autonomous region, the Autonomous
Region of Muslim Mindanao. Over the years various modifications have
been proposed to the Constitution of the Philippines, including possible transition to a federal
system as part of a shift to a parliamentary system. In 2004, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo established the Consultative Commission which suggested such a Charter Change but
no action was taken by the Philippine Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution. Spain
Spain is a unitary state with a high level of decentralisation. Federalism is accepted by parties, such as
Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, Union, Progress and Democracy and United Left. The Spanish Socialist party has recently considered
the idea of building a Federal Spain, in part, due to the increase of the Spanish peripheral
nationalisms and the Catalan proposal of self-determination referenda for creating a Catalan State in
Catalonia, either independent or within Spain. United Kingdom
Since the 1997 referendums on devolution in Scotland and Wales, and after the Good Friday
Agreement in Northern Ireland, three of the four countries of the UK have some level of
autonomy outside of Westminster’s rule. To counter the increasing popularity of Scottish
nationalism and Welsh nationalism, both of which threaten the unity of the United Kingdom
there have been some calls for the UK to adopt a federal system, with each of the four home
nations having its own, equal devolved legislatures and law-making powers. This is supported by various Liberal Democrats
and the Green Party of England and Wales, and would provide a solution to the West Lothian
Question. Federalism as the anarchist and libertarian
socialist mode of political organization Anarchists are against the State but are not
against political organization or “governance”—so long as it is self-governance utilizing direct
democracy. The mode of political organization preferred
by anarchists, in general, is federalism or confederalism. However, the anarchist definition of federalism
tends to differ from the definition of federalism assumed by pro-state political scientists. The following is a brief description of federalism
from section I.5 of An Anarchist FAQ: “The social and political structure of anarchy
is similar to that of the economic structure, i.e., it is based on a voluntary federation
of decentralised, directly democratic policy-making bodies. These are the neighbourhood and community
assemblies and their confederations. In these grassroots political units, the concept
of “self-management” becomes that of “self-government”, a form of municipal organisation in which
people take back control of their living places from the bureaucratic state and the capitalist
class whose interests it serves. […]
The key to that change, from the anarchist standpoint, is the creation of a network of
participatory communities based on self-government through direct, face-to-face democracy in
grassroots neighbourhood and community assemblies [meetings for discussion, debate, and decision
making]. […]
Since not all issues are local, the neighbourhood and community assemblies will also elect mandated
and recallable delegates to the larger-scale units of self-government in order to address
issues affecting larger areas, such as urban districts, the city or town as a whole, the
county, the bio-region, and ultimately the entire planet. Thus the assemblies will confederate at several
levels in order to develop and co-ordinate common policies to deal with common problems. […]
This need for co-operation does not imply a centralised body. To exercise your autonomy by joining self-managing
organisations and, therefore, agreeing to abide by the decisions you help make is not
a denial of that autonomy. In a centralised system, we must stress, power
rests at the top and the role of those below is simply to obey. In a federal system, power is not delegated
into the hands of a few. Decisions in a federal system are made at
the base of the organisation and flow upwards so ensuring that power remains decentralised
in the hands of all. Working together to solve common problems
and organise common efforts to reach common goals is not centralisation and those who
confuse the two make a serious error — they fail to understand the different relations
of authority each generates and confuse obedience with co-operation.” Christian Church Federalism also finds expression in ecclesiology. For example, presbyterian church governance
resembles parliamentary republicanism to a large extent. In Presbyterian denominations, the local church
is ruled by elected elders, some of which are ministerial. Each church then sends representatives or
commissioners to presbyteries and further to a general assembly. Each greater level of assembly has ruling
authority over its constituent members. In this governmental structure, each component
has some level of sovereignty over itself. As in political federalism, in presbyterian
ecclesiology there is shared sovereignty. Other ecclesiologies also have significant
representational and federalistic components, including the more anarchic congregational
ecclesiology, and even in more hierarchical episcopal ecclesiology. Some Christians argue that the earliest source
of political federalism is the ecclesiastical federalism found in the Bible. They point to the structure of the early Christian
Church as described in the New Testament. This is particularly demonstrated in the Council
of Jerusalem, described in Acts chapter 15, where the Apostles and elders gathered together
to govern the Church; the Apostles being representatives of the universal Church, and elders being
such for the local church. To this day, elements of federalism can be
found in almost every Christian denomination, some more than others. Constitutional structure
Division of powers In a federation, the division of power between
federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution. It is in this way that the right to self-government
of the component states is usually constitutionally entrenched. Component states often also possess their
own constitutions which they may amend as they see fit, although in the event of conflict
the federal constitution usually takes precedence. In almost all federations the central government
enjoys the powers of foreign policy and national defense. Were this not the case a federation would
not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany retain the
right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange
for the Kingdom of Bavaria’s agreement to join the German Empire in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power
varies from one nation to another. The constitutions of Germany and the United
States provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained
by the states. The Constitution of some countries like Canada
and India, on the other hand, state that powers not explicitly granted to the provincial governments
are retained by the federal government. Much like the US system, the Australian Constitution
allocates to the Federal government the power to make laws about certain specified matters
which were considered too difficult for the States to manage, so that the States retain
all other areas of responsibility. Under the division of powers of the European
Union in the Lisbon Treaty, powers which are not either exclusively of European competence
or shared between EU and state are retained by the constituent states. Where every component state of a federation
possesses the same powers, we are said to find ‘symmetric federalism’. Asymmetric federalism exists where states
are granted different powers, or some possess greater autonomy than others do. This is often done in recognition of the existence
of a distinct culture in a particular region or regions. In Spain, “historical communities” such as
Navarre, Galicia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country have more powers than other autonomous
communities, partly to deal with their distinctness and to appease nationalist leanings, partly
out of respect of privileges granted earlier in history. It is common that during the historical evolution
of a federation there is a gradual movement of power from the component states to the
centre, as the federal government acquires additional powers, sometimes to deal with
unforeseen circumstances. The acquisition of new powers by a federal
government may occur through formal constitutional amendment or simply through a broadening of
the interpretation of a government’s existing constitutional powers given by the courts. Usually, a federation is formed at two levels:
the central government and the regions, and little to nothing is said about second or
third level administrative political entities. Brazil is an exception, because the 1988 Constitution
included the municipalities as autonomous political entities making the federation tripartite,
encompassing the Union, the States, and the municipalities. Each state is divided into municipalities
with their own legislative council and a mayor, which are partly autonomous from both Federal
and State Government. Each municipality has a “little constitution”,
called “organic law”. Mexico is an intermediate case, in that municipalities
are granted full-autonomy by the federal constitution and their existence as autonomous entities
is established by the federal government and cannot be revoked by the states’ constitutions. Moreover, the federal constitution determines
which powers and competencies belong exclusively to the municipalities and not to the constituent
states. However, municipalities do not have an elected
legislative assembly. Federations often employ the paradox of being
a union of states, while still being states in themselves. For example, James Madison wrote in Federalist
Paper No. 39 that the US Constitution “is in strictness neither a national nor a federal
constitution; but a composition of both. In its foundation, it is federal, not national;
in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the Government are drawn, it is partly
federal, and partly national…” This stems from the fact that states in the
US maintain all sovereignty that they do not yield to the federation by their own consent. This was reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment
to the United States Constitution, which reserves all powers and rights that are not delegated
to the Federal Government as left to the States and to the people. Organs of government
The structures of most federal governments incorporate mechanisms to protect the rights
of component states. One method, known as ‘intrastate federalism’,
is to directly represent the governments of component states in federal political institutions. Where a federation has a bicameral legislature
the upper house is often used to represent the component states while the lower house
represents the people of the nation as a whole. A federal upper house may be based on a special
scheme of apportionment, as is the case in the senates of the United States and Australia,
where each state is represented by an equal number of senators irrespective of the size
of its population. Alternatively, or in addition to this practice,
the members of an upper house may be indirectly elected by the government or legislature of
the component states, as occurred in the United States prior to 1913, or be actual members
or delegates of the state governments, as, for example, is the case in the German Bundesrat
and in the Council of the European Union. The lower house of a federal legislature is
usually directly elected, with apportionment in proportion to population, although states
may sometimes still be guaranteed a certain minimum number of seats. In Canada, the provincial governments represent
regional interests and negotiate directly with the central government. A First Ministers conference of the prime
minister and the provincial premiers is the de facto highest political forum in the land,
although it is not mentioned in the constitution. Federations often have special procedures
for amendment of the federal constitution. As well as reflecting the federal structure
of the state this may guarantee that the self-governing status of the component states cannot be abolished
without their consent. An amendment to the constitution of the United
States must be ratified by three-quarters of either the state legislatures, or of constitutional
conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect. In referendums to amend the constitutions
of Australia and Switzerland it is required that a proposal be endorsed not just by an
overall majority of the electorate in the nation as a whole, but also by separate majorities
in each of a majority of the states or cantons. In Australia, this latter requirement is known
as a double majority. Some federal constitutions also provide that
certain constitutional amendments cannot occur without the unanimous consent of all states
or of a particular state. The US constitution provides that no state
may be deprived of equal representation in the senate without its consent. In Australia, if a proposed amendment will
specifically impact one or more states, then it must be endorsed in the referendum held
in each of those states. Any amendment to the Canadian constitution
that would modify the role of the monarchy would require unanimous consent of the provinces. The German Basic Law provides that no amendment
is admissible at all that would abolish the federal system. Other technical terms
Fiscal federalism – federalism involving the transfer of funds between different levels
of government. Formal federalism – the delineation of powers
is specified in a written constitution. Executive federalism. Federalism as a political philosophy The meaning of federalism, as a political
movement, and of what constitutes a ‘federalist’, varies with country and historical context. Movements associated with the establishment
or development of federations can exhibit either centralising or decentralising trends. For example, at the time those nations were
being established, factions known as “federalists” in the United States and Australia advocated
the formation of strong central government. Similarly, in European Union politics, federalists
mostly seek greater EU integration. In contrast, in Spain and in post-war Germany,
federal movements have sought decentralisation: the transfer of power from central authorities
to local units. In Canada, where Quebec separatism has been
a political force for several decades, the “federalist” impulse aims to keep Quebec inside
Canada. Federalism as a concept: history
The Oxford English Dictionary first records the English word federalism as occurring in
print in 1793 with reference to French politics, though anti-federalism appears as early as
1788. See also Notes and references In Literature
In the futurist story On Deception Watch: A World Federation Novel by David H. Spielberg,
a plausible high-tech path is created to an economic-based new paradigm for the legitimacy
of governance. Leveraged off the successful development of
laser fusion energy, the United States and The People’s Republic of China join forces
to change the world. External links
P.-J. Proudhon, The Principle of Federation, 1863. A Comparative Bibliography: Regulatory Competition
on Corporate Law A Rhetoric for Ratification: The Argument
of the Federalist and its Impact on Constitutional Interpretation
National Teaching about Federalism in the United States
– From the Education Resources Information Center Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social
Science Education Bloomington, Indiana. An Ottawa, Canada-based international organization
for federal countries that share best practices among countries with that system of government
Tenth Amendment Center Federalism and States Rights in the U.S.
BackStory Radio episode on the origins and current status of Federalism
Constitutional law scholar Hester Lessard discusses Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and
jurisdictional justice McGill University, 2011
General Federalism

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