What is meant by a federal system of government?


Quick Answer

A federal system of government is one in which a nation is ruled by a central government under which there are smaller subdivisions of government. It is a two-tiered system of government.

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Full Answer

In the United States, the federal government is divided into three branches: the Judicial, Executive and Congress. Congress is further divided into two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The three branches are meant to provide a built-in checks and balances system that ensures that no single branch asserts too much power. The powers dictated to both the federal government and the states are defined by the United States Constitution.

According to the Constitution, those powers not granted to the Federal Government are reserved for the states. Since the Constitution is subject to interpretation, the extent of the influence which the federal government should be permitted over the individuals states is a common topic of political debate. A lot of this is based on a particular clause about having the right to do what is "necessary and proper." Federal systems of government work well for larger countries that need a central government to help maintain peace, while local governments can attend to those issues that are more of individual importance.

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