Federalism: Supreme Court of the United States and United States Essay

Submitted By harleyhill
Words: 857
Pages: 4

In the early days of the United States, it was obvious to many that a system combining both federalism and representative democracy was needed. The people were too widely dispersed, and the country’s transportation and communication systems too primitive to be governed solely from a central location. Although today both communication and transportation are highly advanced, America still maintains a federal system. The driving force behind that system is our increasingly expanding diversity. The United States ranks fourth in the world in size and third in population. There are 213 languages spoken in America and probably just as many religions practiced. Federalism is the method by which the diverse population is better represented in the democracy of the United States.

The national government makes many important decisions that impact our daily lives however, there are some issues on which the opinion of the American public very different. In our federal system, the states are usually responsible for making policies that involve social, family, moral and religious issues. This is one of the most important advantages of a federal system. The decentralization of the government allows the desires and needs of smaller groups of people to be acknowledged and fulfilled at the local level. Californians differ in many ways from residents of Arkansas who differ greatly from Alaskans. Variations in culture and lifestyle create needs for different political policies. A large, single, centralized government would be unable to make efficient social policies that were compatible with the convictions of a majority of America’s diverse groups. However, the national government still has enough power, through a system of checks and balances, to obliterate local policies that infringe upon the human rights of smaller factions.

Federalism definitely does have its disadvantages. To begin with, more levels of government equal a larger bureaucracy with many more people involved in the decision-making process. This provides more opportunities for corrupt government officials. Federalism also means that a complex tax system must exist so that each level of government receives funds from those in its jurisdiction in order to carry out laws and policies. Another major disadvantage of federalism is slow response to crises. Because so many people are involved in the decision-making process, it takes longer for the necessary authority to be alerted and for action to be taken.

Under the American system of federalism, a delicate balance of power has been established. Some believe that the states have too much power, and others believe that it is the national government that has too much control. One thing is for certain though and that is that a strong national government is necessary for the survival of the United States. The earliest American leaders understood this. Under the Articles of Confederation, the federal government was weak and unable to control small factions. It was obvious to all that the national government must have a certain level of authority or the new nation would not live long. The fact that our current government system has lasted now for over 200 years is proof that something is being done correctly.

Although in most cases the states or other local governments (county, city, school district) have policies involving moral and social issues, the federal government does indeed get involved. In the past, the Supreme Court has made decisions on