Article

Federalism in the United States

Troy Smith

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0024
Federalism in the United States

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Federalism is one of America’s unique contributions to modern political systems. Generally, federalism refers to a political system that unites separate polities into an overarching political organization with protections to maintain the fundamental political integrity of each. This definition limits federalism to a specific governmental structure and emphasizes the state and sovereignty. Federalism is also understood as the institutionalization of relationships via a particular constitutional framework that facilitates autonomy, diversity, and equality among participants, in contrast to the subordinate relationships found in ordered, hierarchical, and centralized political structures and institutions. Federal structures commonly fragment authority and create overlapping jurisdictions to foster coordinative relationships. Federalism studies are interested in the causes and foundation of federal systems, what federal systems require to be self-reinforcing, how different units of government interact with each other and the public, and how federal institutions affect political outcomes, including fostering democratic values, diversity, and good policy.

Article.  14161 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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