What Are the Main Arguments for and Against Federalism?
The main arguments for federalism is that it prevents tyranny, it encourages people to take part in politics and it promotes democracy. Arguments against federalism include citizens being too ignorant to make pragmatic decisions, a lack of accountability due to political mismanagement and withdrawing powers from the states.
When federalism was introduced, the United States aimed to create a political system that differed to the rule in Britain. One of the major advantages was that three different branches of government would prevent tyranny, as one person being in control would not prevent them from functioning independently. In addition, federalism makes the government larger at a local, national and state level, which makes it easier for citizens to become involved and interact with elected officials. By establishing state governments, federalism gives individual states the opportunity to try policies before they are implemented country-wide, which in turn promotes democracy.
In terms of arguments against federalism, one major concern early anti-federalists had was that it would make the government disorganized. This was due to America’s size. Additionally, the country’s size makes it difficult to establish a national policy, and separations between state policies sometimes make political accountability difficult. Another early concern was that making states accountable to a centralized government would lead to despotism. Finally, ignorance about local policies and political issues could impact voters’ abilities to make decisions at a regional level, and voter turnout is often low.