Social Evaluation of Federalism
The federal system of government chosen by the founders of America provides for a strong central government while maintaining states rights and providing limits to the power of the central government. The founders recognized that a strong central authority was needed, but, they also balanced that against the needs of the states to maintain their independence and the fear that people had of strong central government such as that the one that the Americans had recently rebelled against.
A strong central government was needed to create a national identity to unify the states. The central government would provide the means to regulate the affairs between the states, a power to mediate conflicts. The desire for a strong central government was also cultural, a result of the British ancestry, with its long history of strong central government, of most of the citizens of America.
Though the need for a strong central government was recognized, a fear of a strong central government also existed. This fear was magnified by the memories of the war that was fought for independence from the strong central government of Britain. Additionally, the states had all developed as independent states and were reluctant to give up their independence and autonomy.
The federal system of government solved many of the problems faced by the founders. It created a central government to provide a national identity and provide for the common needs of the combined states. It allowed sharing of power and functions between the states and the central government. It maintained the independence and autonomy of the states, while providing a way to regulate affairs between the states. The provisions limiting the power of the central government were a strong factor in the acceptance by the states. The balance achieved by the federal system of government is why it was chosen by our founders.
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