- 1. a union of states under a central government distinct from that of the separate states, who retain certain individual powers under the central government. 2. (cap.)the principles of the American Federalist party, especially its emphasis during the early years of the U.S. on a strong central government.
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fed·er·al·ism. (fĕd′ər-ə-lĭz′əm, fĕd′rə-) n. 1. a. A system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units. b. Advocacy of such a system of government. 2.
Mar 25, 2020 · A federal system of government is characterized by the constitutionally-mandated division of political authority between the national government and sub-national territories, such as states or provinces. While being under one central government, each sub-unit maintains a certain level of political autonomy to better serve its population.
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Encyclopedia. Related to Federal system: Federal Reserve System, Unitary System. Federalism. A principle of government that defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at the regional, state, or local levels.
- United States
- Concurrent Powers
- Further Reading
Federalism is a system of government in which the same territory is controlled by two levels of government. Generally, an overarching national government is responsible for broader governance of larger territorial areas, while the smaller subdivisions, states, and cities govern the issues of local concern. Both the national government and the smaller political subdivisions have the power to make laws and both have a certain level of autonomy from each other.
In the United States, the Constitution has established a system of “dual sovereignty,” under which the States have surrendered many of their powers to the Federal Government, but also retained some sovereignty. Examples of this dual sovereignty are described in the U.S. Constitution.
Concurrent powers refers to powers which are shared by both the federal government and state governments. This includes the power to tax, build roads, and create lower courts.
For more on federalism, see this Florida State University Law Review article, this Vanderbilt Law Review article, and this Stanford Law Review article.
Federalism is a system in which the power to govern is shared between national, state, and local governments.