Federalism and Its Impact in the United States

The US government has been successful in its use of the federal government in public administration. The system enables devolution of resources to the people in an efficient manner. This paper evaluates the concept of federalism. It traces its origin and examines its utilitarian value to the people of the US. The US government should conduct additional research on ways of improving the aspect of federalism. This aspect would help in the realization of increased development in the US. The state should also review its national legislation in order to address emergent gaps in a dynamic US society.

Federalism refers to the relationship between the states and the central unit. The concept arose in the 1700s in the United States. The idea began as a political movement. The US Constitution did not previously accord adequate power to the federal system. In the 1700s, the Federal Association consisted of members of different governance units in the US. In 1787, representatives of the Federal Association met and initiated ideas that would lead to an inclusive legislature. James Madison, one of the delegates of the committee, proposed a stronger central government in the US. The convention almost led to the formulation of a new constitution in the United States.

The US recognizes the federal structure of leadership in contemporary times (Rangel, 2010). The government has increased federal powers and interdependencies among various departments of the state. Different dimensions of the US Constitution bring about changes in the interpretation of the law. The legislation has also undergone changes due to amendments. Legal alterations affect both the states and the federal directorate. The activities of the states’ administrations may affect the central council. For instance, the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906 became the responsibility of the federal government.

In the 18th Century, the US administration oversaw the emergence of dual federalism that reduced the powers of the government. Dual federalism ended during the reign of President Roosevelt. The Great Depression prompted the end of dual federalism. The period of economic retrogression in the US led to the control of major financial issues by the Supreme Court. Cooperative federalism emerged in the 1970s in the US. The idea linked states’ directorates to national regimes. The system addressed policy issues concerning the various systems of governance in the US. It also solved the citizens’ legal problems.

The US experienced a new type of federalism in the late 1980s and 1990s. President Reagan promoted the new form of federalism until the end of his presidential term in 1989. The new structure focused on the reinforcement of the powers of the states’ councils. Reagan’s presidency ensured that states’ departments used their funds on programs of their choices. The new federalism proposed greater contributions of states towards their development projects and the reduction of the powers of the central unit. The US Constitution allowed states to develop programs that fulfilled the needs of their citizens.

The states would exercise autonomy on their political and economic projects. The idea of an evolving federal government was brought about by the implementation of the constitution. However, this aspect did not abolish a central government. The current laws of the US accord significant powers to public administrative bodies. For instance, the national directorate holds the mandate of printing money and handling international affairs. The states’ administrations cannot handle matters beyond their jurisdictions like the control of monetary systems. However, the units use their own powers on the issuance of marriage and driving licenses. They also conduct their elections and establish local governments.

Various forms of public governance units in the US share particular assignments like the construction of roads and collection of revenue. States’ governments may at times create their own rules. Their statutes should not contravene the supreme regulations of the federal government.

The US Constitution plays an important role in determining the nature of politics. The document enables politicians to understand the importance of their rights and democracies. The concept of federalism has inculcated the value of democracy in the citizens of the US. American citizens enjoy the freedom of affiliation to political parties of their choices. American laws influence the political responsibilities of the administrators. Over the years, politicians have been engaging in the process of constitutional amendments. The statutory changes contribute to the advancement of the idea of federalism. Politicians tend to support constitutional amendments that favor them.

The advancement of federalism has enabled the resolution of political disagreements among leaders in the US due to shared political and economic responsibilities among states. Constitutionalism has reinforced the aspect of respect for the US Constitution irrespective of different political perspectives.

Federalism contributes to the empowerment of citizens’ rights and freedoms. The US Constitution secures the liberties of the citizens through various amendments. The concept of federalism broadens the political ideologies of political parties. The parties can express their opinions or support the views of other political systems. For example, the Republicans and Democrats represent the views of certain minority groups within the US. Federalism has also brought about changes in the governance in the US society. The public acquires knowledge on the kind of reforms that may improve its standards of living (Edwards, 2010). Federalism promotes the participation of the states and national governments in the development of the US through structured and collaborative projects. Federalism enhances the states’ conformity to the policies of the national government.

Many states in the US have in the past engaged in conflicts with the central government due to legal procedures. The US Constitution plays a crucial function in the guidance and definition of the relationships among various units of administration. Conflicts arise concerning power sharing among different states in the US. The supreme law of the US assigns particular powers to the federal unit and also delegates tasks to the states’ governments.

The independent nature of the national council and states’ administrations may at times cause duplication of roles and consequent supremacy crises among various forms of leadership. However, all governance units are responsible for the formulation of laws and policies in the US. For instance, both the central directorate and states’ councils formulate environmental laws like the Coastal Zone Management Act, Federal Insecticide Act, Fungicide Law and the Clean Air Act.

States’ administrations and the federal directorate collaborate in the formation of policies that affect them. The two systems of governance comply with the theories of federalism embedded in the US Constitution. The federal authority and states’ councils can only create laws that comply with the supreme law of the US. The central government of the US ensures the harmonization of laws between the state and federal councils (Art & Jervis, 2011).

The state enforces road safety laws in conformity to the Federal Highway Budget. The US Constitution recognizes the need for the creation of regulations that address the needs of various states. Every state in the US is entitled to the adoption of its own political and economic perspectives. Different levels of governments exercise various responsibilities in accordance to the US Constitution. The law ensures that all policies and regulations conform to the supreme statutes of the US. The government of the US should conduct comprehensive research on ways in which it can improve the idea of federalism. The concept should help in the improvement of economic and social lives of the citizens of the US.


Art, R., & Jervis, R. (2011). International Politics: Enduring concepts and contemporary issues tenth edition. Boston, MA: Longman. Web.

Edwards, S. (2010). Left Behind: Latin America and the False Promise of Populism. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. Web.

Rangel, C. (2010). The Latin Americans: Their Love-Hate Relationship with the United States. New York. NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Web.