Federalism is the theory or advocacy of federal principles fordividing powers between member units and common institutions. Unlikein a unitary state, sovereignty in federal political orders isnon-centralized, often constitutionally, between at least two levelsso that units at each level have final authority and can be selfgoverning in some issue area. Citizens thus have political obligationsto, or have their rights secured by, two authorities. The division ofpower between the member unit and center may vary, typically thecenter has powers regarding defense and foreign policy, but memberunits may also have international roles. The decision-making bodies ofmember units may also participate in central decision-makingbodies. Much recent philosophical attention is spurred by renewedpolitical interest in federalism, coupled with empirical findingsconcerning the requisite and legitimate basis for stability and trustamong citizens in federal political orders. Philosophicalcontributions have addressed the dilemmas and opportunities facingCanada, Australia, Europe, Russia, Iraq, Nepal and Nigeria, to mentionjust a few areas where federal arrangements are seen as interestingsolutions to accommodate differences among populations divided byethnic or cultural cleavages yet seeking a common, often democratic,political order.
The Articles of Confederation of 1781 among the 13 American statesfighting British rule had established a center too weak for lawenforcement, defense and for securing interstate commerce. What hasbecome known as the U.S. Constitutional Convention met May25–September 17, 1787. It was explicitly restricted to revise theArticles, but ended up recommending more fundamental changes. Theproposed constitution prompted widespread debate and argumentsaddressing the benefits and risks of federalism versus confederalarrangements, leading eventually to the Constitution that took effectin 1789.
What's the difference between Anti-Federalist and Federalist
In what has become known as The Federalist Papers, JamesMadison (1751–1836), Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804) and John Jay(1745–1829) argued vigorously for the suggested model of interlockingfederal arrangements (Federalist 10, 45, 51, 62). Madison and Hamiltonagreed with Hume that the risk of tyranny by passionate majorities wasreduced in larger republics where member units of shared interest couldand would check each other: “A rage for paper money, for an abolitionof debts, for an equal division of property, or for any improper orwicked project, will be less likely to pervade the whole body of theUnion than a particular member of it.” (Federalist 10). Splittingsovereignty between member unit and center would also protectindividuals’ rights against abuse by authorities at either level,or so believed Hamilton, quoting Montesquieu at length to this effect(Federalist 9).
Federalism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Ludolph Hugo (ca. 1630–1704) was the first to distinguishconfederations based on alliances, decentralized unitary states suchas the Roman Empire, and federations, characterized by ‘doublegovernments’ with territorial division of powers, in DeStatu Regionum Germanie (1661) (cf. Elazar 1998; Riley 1976).
of or relating to the Federalists or to the Federalist party
John Stuart Mill (1806–1873), in chapter 17 of Considerations onRepresentative Government (1861), recommended federations among“portions of mankind” not disposed to live under a common government,to prevent wars among themselves and protect against aggression. Hewould also allow the center sufficient powers so as to ensure allbenefits of union—including powers to prevent frontier dutiesto facilitate commerce. He listed three necessary conditions for afederation: sufficient mutual sympathy “of race, language, religion,and, above all, of political institutions, as conducing most to afeeling of identity of political interest”; no member unit so powerful asto not require union for defense nor tempt unduly to secession; andrough equality of strength among member units to prevent internaldomination by one or two. Mill also claimed among the benefits offederations that they reduce the number of weak states hence reducetemptation to aggression, ending wars and restrictions on commenceamong member units; and that federations are less aggressive, only usingtheir power defensively.
supporting the principles of the Federalist party
Several of the early contributors to federalist thought explored therationale and weaknesses of centralised states as they emerged anddeveloped in the 17th and 18th century. Johannes Althusius(1557–1630) is often regarded as the father of modern federalistthought. He argued in Politica Methodice Digesta (Althusius1603) for autonomy of his city Emden, both against its Lutheranprovincial Lord and against the Catholic Emperor. Althusius wasstrongly influenced by French Huguenots and Calvinism. As a permanentminority in several states, Calvinists developed a doctrine ofresistance as the right and duty of “natural leaders” toresist tyranny. Orthodox Calvinists insisted on sovereignty in thesocial circles subordinate only to God's laws. The French ProtestantHuguenots developed a theory of legitimacy further, presented 1579 byan author with the telling pseudonym “Junius Brutus”in Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos. The people, regarded as acorporate body in territorial hierarchical communities, has aGod-granted right to resist rulers without rightful claim. Rejectingtheocracy, Althusius developed a non-sectarian, non-religiouscontractualist political theory of federations that prohibited stateintervention even for purposes of promoting the rightfaith. Accommodation of dissent and diversity prevailed over anyinterest in subordinating political powers to religion or viceversa.