Federalism and Ideology

What is federalism?  There are several definitions for it, but I like to think that federalism is the sharing and distribution of power and resources between the federal government and the states.  You can also add “…and the local governments” when you discuss the separation of powers between the levels of government.  For the purposes of this discussion, let’s examine two different views.  The first view, the decentralist view contends that the Constitution is a compact among the sovereign states which gave the central government a limited framework to work from.  Those who oppose such a framework would be centralists.  Centralists see the Constitution as the supreme law of the land and that the states are not the representative of the people.  Centralists claim that the representative of the people is the national government.

Where do you stand on the idea of federalism?  Today’s centralists are more of the socialist and liberal variety while the decentralists are more conservative or libertarian in their thinking.

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44 responses to “Federalism and Ideology

  1. I strongly stand with the Centralist due to the fact that the government in reality do not stand for the American people. In most cases, each political personnel will go by what is written in the Constitution and disregard individuals rights. I personally think our government is corrupted due to the fact that many political personnel’s have went to jail for wrong doing of their powers. In some cases, even our own president word is not strong enough to pass laws without first being heard by other Senators. I am not saying it is a bad idea to follow what is written in the Constitution, however, some of the stuff that is written to me does not sound right due to the fact that if someone would take such action, one would be in trouble. Take for example the First Amendment. We the people have the right to freedom of speech, however, when we feel like speaking out, our words are being carefully heard and if we say something a political personnel does not like, here comes the problems and criticism. This is why I strongly believe that our government does not truly defend us, but they go by what is written in the Constitution.

    • Joel I agree with you in certain areas. The Constitution has been in place for a lot of years. The people and government need to feed off of the Constitution. I still think it is very vague for the times now, but it is something for the American people to go off of. The one problem I see, especially with certain things in the Constitution like freedom of speech is people are so damn sue happy. These courts shouldn’t let people sue for every damn thing that people say. And looking at most governments, the President does have most power to make and take away laws. But our government really goes through Congress and the Senate and it would be nice if they could just work together on half of the things that are put in front of them.

    • I total agree with what you have to say. I think that the government is all about themselves and don’t care what we need or think.

  2. Though I feel in someways my views make me part decentralist, the majority of views make me lean towards centralist views. Having strong liberal views, I would say that the government does not truly stand for the American people. We are told we have freedom, compared to some other nations, yes we do have freedom. But in some instances not as much as we are promised or intended to have.

  3. I think that federalism should be incorporated in America because yes, there are actually liars in government. Not everyone is perfect, and that includes politicians. We are given various freedoms, but there are boundaries on some of them because individuals will cross them. Although I don’t agree with the government being involved in every state issue, there are some situations that they need to be only because it plays a huge part in America as a whole. The Constitution was written for various purposes, and although the government is trying to limit a few of them (which I don’t agree with all of that) in a lot of the situations it might actually help.

  4. I do think that there should be some form of Federalism in our Country, but to a certain extent. I think that every State should be able to fend for themselves as well as provide for the people in it. However, I do believe that if some States don’t have ability to gain the resources, then this is where the Federal Government should step in. Something that I do believe the Federal Government should do is get every state on the same page with their schooling. This would help the overall education of every student, and would also help the reputation of the U.S. and their schooling abilities.

  5. I see federalism as a decentralists, but to a point. Yes, I believe that government should control our problems, but not every problem. Also that the things that are taken care of by the government should be written with no abusive roles for the people or for the government as well as the things that the people dictate.

  6. Joanna Wolowiec

    I am leaning more towards the Centralist view because in my opinion the government does not stand for the American people. We are given freedom and the freedom of speech yet we cannot do or say certain things because of the government. I also think that the government is corrupt because many people who have been involved and were in power have gone to jail because they abused the system.

  7. I am a bit torn on which position to take. For purposes of this topic, I will say that federalism takes on a more decentralist view. I say this because the government has only so much room from which to work – the national government, that is. It seems the individual states have as much power as the national government, and the state governments speak for the people.

  8. I personally haven’t really been a fan of government because of the fact that I feel as if they interfere with our lives in general, not to mention our private lives. I do believe that the government is more centralist because they like to take control of what we do. In a sense, the government tries to make us fear them, when if fact we shouldn’t. To quote V, from V for Vendetta, “People should not be afraid of their government. Government should be afraid of their people.” Which I think is entirely true, because without the people, government would have nothing, no purpose. So, in order for the government and the people to cohabitate and work well together, I think the government should become more decentralist.

  9. Casey Henneberry

    Personally, I would see myself leaning more toward the De-centralist point of view. I stand more firmly with libertarian point of views, mainly because this is one party that not only remains consistent in its own ideology, but adhering to my personally view on how government should be handled. I believe that we as people on this Earth should be allowed to enjoy our freedoms especially in the land of the free. The centralist point of view is in my opinion an idea that we can not think nor fend for ourselves, rather that this is not the land of the free,but the land of the privilege. We as people are born on this earth and should be able to enjoy our natural rights, along with the rights that were written in our nations Constitution. I truly believe that the hard earn money that I as a citizen of not only this country, but this world should be spent in a manner that is best for the people while still remaining fiscally conservative and socially liberal. If we as a nation allow for one form of government to make our decisions we are not in a democracy, but rather a republic and with the growing centralist point of view making us one step closer to an Oligarchy. I do not believe that this is what our founding fathers had in mind when succeeding from the control of an Oligarchical nation.

  10. My take on he idea of federalism is straight forward. To me, it is important for the government to have it as part of the United States democracy because one it has had so much history back to the start of the government, and two it allows others to have their own takes on governmental takes on new laws, treaties, war and other things of that nature. It would truly be interesting of to see a map of where the heaviest percentages of the four different ideologies lie, and where certain people believe these thoughts.

  11. Taylor Sonichsen

    In my opinion the Government will always have their say in what Americans can and can’t do. I have no problem with that because sometimes the Government has the right idea. With this being said I think I would have to be a moderate. I don’t lean to one side more than the other, because I believe the Government should have a say in things. I’d be a moderate because I feel like yes the government should be taking money from the people to help keep this country going, but I also think taxes should be reconsidered and thought about how much is being taken from some people.

  12. I would have to be a Moderate, obviously, alot of work needs to be done in our country and working together and making peace and getting the job done needs to come from everyone in the goverment. How about stop arguing, pointing fingers, and actually getting the job done.

  13. I am more of a decentralist in terms of limiting the governments power and reach over its citizens, but at the same time I do hold some centralist views in terms of social aspects such as freedom to choose your own actions. For example, when talking about abortions, I think that it is the mother’s right to make the decision of what she believes in. Also, when discussing gay marriage, I believe that every person deserves the right to marry who they love and the government should not have any say towards it. Some of the decentralist views I hold pertain to the second amendment. The amendment states the right to bear arms. I believe that citizens should have the right to own and carry guns in all 50 states.

  14. Tracy Gray-Caruthers

    I feel like it’s so difficult to choose a side, because each offers a little bit of what makes up the entirety of my thinking. I consider myself conservative on several issues, but at the same time, I also consider myself a liberal thinker. I really feel like government is too big and too far-reaching. I feel like the states should have more control, and they have more of a “vested” interest in what their residents think, feel, desire. Maybe, I do lean more towards decentralist views. Huhm. Interesting.

  15. I believe the federal government should be the central part of making all of the rules for the country. But that is just a measure for all of the states to go by. Not every state will have the same views or ideas and they should be able to be flexible in what they do to make things work in that state. Our forefathers made rules in the Constitution for all Americans to go by, but times are changing and Americans and the government need to be flexible for the times. So I would like to look at myself as a decentralist at heart but to be flexible in what the states do compared to the national government.

  16. Beth Triezenberg

    This is a tough one. I 100% believe in the Constitution of the United States as the law of the land and believe that the national government is representative of the people. Other countries look at our federal government and its policies as representative of the United States. They do not look at the individual states. They need to know the policies of the country not the individual states if they want to come here for a visit. With that being said I also believe that at the state and local levels there is way more corruption than at the federal level. (It doesn’t help that I am from Illinois with our wonderful corruption track record.) So this would make me a centralist but I do not believe in socialism and I am a liberal at heart believing in social and political change. Kind of confusing. Sharing and distribution of power and resources between the states and the federal government (federalism) makes things a lot easier locally. The needs of each state are different so they cannot all be treated the same.

  17. I would say my idea of federalism lines up with more of a decentralists view. I do not however feel that our government represents this idea, I wish it did. The initial intent of the constitution was to be a contract decided among the people and for the people. Of course people ultimately need government as a larger institution to make decisions and rule over some things, however it’s power should be limited. “We the people” should be able to vote and implement laws and institutions to better our country and do what is best for us as a country at large. I do not feel personally like I have much pull or control over what happens or affects major aspects of my life each day. I feel like this is probably true of a lot of Americans. It seems as if our country is ran mostly by the federal government and rich politicians that represents not the people but their small population and do what is best for them or what makes the most money.

  18. Stephanie Townsend

    I definitely think I more of a centralist. Maybe this is very “European” of me, but I think the federal government has a responsibility to take care of its people. There are too many states for them to take care of themselves and I don’t think that being a social state is a bad thing; it just means that people are taken care of and everyone is somewhat equal.

  19. I believe i am more of a decentralist because i believe that the government should rarely interfere with the states. The government should only be responsible for protecting its citizens and regulating our currency.The rest should be up to the states. Government spending needs to be cut in monumental portions. As a taxpayer, i am tired of paying such a large chunk of my paycheck to the government. I believe each citizen should have the opportunity to make a great living for himself. At the same time, i think every citizen should be responsible for himself and not rely on government money. I am all for giving some of my money and getting people back on their feet, but i will not let them stand on my shoulders.

  20. I would take a stand with being a moderate. I disagree with some of the things that centralist and decentralist take a stand for. I do not agree with centralist when they are strict with the constitution. I also do not agree with the decentralist with raising taxes or how they would cut the safety net.

    • After our discussion in class I have favored with the centralist. I believe people should have the right to do what they want to do. I don’t believe that the safety net should ever be cut or that taxes should go up.

  21. Federalism is every governmental act since FDR’s New Deal. For example Competitive Federalism is Federalism where the state battle among themselves for power. Or you have Creative Federalism witch lasted form the 1960’s to the 1970’s in this brand people tried to build upon FDR’s New deal.

  22. I agree with the definition of federalism that was provided. I think I would lean more towards centralists because I do believe the constitution is the main source of our rights. Even though sometimes I feel like we are limited with our rights these days. And sometimes I feel like the national government isn’t doing their best protecting our rights.

  23. I think federalism is a necessary part of government Because sometimes decisions should be left for state government to decide. While sometimes the federal government should be able to decide what’s best for the entire country. We can’t forget how much we benefit from the govt.

  24. Daniel Scofield

    I agree with the idea of federalism and i believe in both ideas. I think there has to be balance between liberal and conservative, while I think the Federal government should have specific powers like national economy, security, foreign affairs and transportation. Even though i think the states should have local powers and rights to manage certain things like education and local economy, while having the federal government regulate things. Also i believe the Senate and House needs to work better together with the President and state and local governments to pass laws. Tho i believe the law makers need to make laws and good decisions and impose to the political thing to just get votes.

  25. I am leaning more towards the centralist point of view because the government doesn’t stand for the American people. Yes we are given freedom of speech, but this is to an extent. In my opinion, I also think that our government is corrupt because they’re not doing their best when it comes to protecting our rights.

  26. I really don’t know where I stand regarding the questions. The way the government is made up I agree with both of them to a certain extent. We do need to follow the constitution like we have been doing, we should have federalism.

  27. Honestly, I don’t think about the government all that much so to give an opinion is going to be hard. I do think we need federalism because if the different governments didn’t share certain things we as people wouldn’t have consistency. I am leaning towards the centralist point of view because the constitution should be what we follow.

  28. In my opinion, I believe the federal government should be the major part of making all of decision for the country. The federal government has more responsibility to take care its people. But now, there are many states to protest against the rules, they choose to provide for oneself, they hope the states should have local power and right to manage their own situation. Based on this social state, we can obviously see that people needs to the social care, everyone or state is equal.

  29. In my opinion i think that the government should have a minimum say in state affairs. The law of the land should be the Constitution but the states can decide on making new laws and revisions. That being said I’m defiantly more of a Conservative then a Liberal even though i have the opposite view a Conservative would have.

  30. I believe that the government is more centralist because the government controls everything individuals do, in both their private and public life. People think the government gives them freedom to make choices, but even in doing so the government puts limitations on the choices that people make with certain restrictions. I feel that in some ways the government is corrupt and although we have rights, the government tends to make guidelines or laws that benefit the system itself rather than the common person.

  31. Christian Perez

    As far as federalism goes, I would consider myself to be more of a centralist. Although giving the states more control over themselves seems like a good idea, our country just doesn’t have the money to be giving away to each state as each state sees fit. The voice of the people should still play a role in deciding who gets elected and voting should be made easier for everyone to participate in. I believe our government should budget each states’ funds based on population.

  32. Carlos Espinosa

    Where do I stand on federalism? Personally I see myself as a moderate. I understand the essential aspects of a central government and how the lack of regulation can lead to the abuse of power from larger organizations, companies, and institutions. A strong central power is necessary to set the rules and standards, along with the ability to enforce set standards and avoid violations to set standards. However, the government itself is a bureaucratic institution, and at the same time is run by men, who would seek to fulfill their own agendas. That means that the rights of the people, leaning towards decentralist views, must be clearly defined. The people need its government as much as the government needs the people, and the line, as hard as it is to draw, must not be crossed.

  33. samantha arnold

    I, like most believe that states should have a heavy say in how we as citizens of this country are governed. State government will theoretically have better insight into the needs of their electorate and thus have a better chance of meeting the state’s basic needs. However, this is a unified country and it a requires a unifying governing body. A governing body that ensures the basic principles of said unified country are met in each and every state. The only way this seems possible is if that governing body is strong, therefore at the end of the day I’d be closer to a centralist on the ideological spectrum.

  34. I think that the government is centralist because of the limits we are given in our lives. In our lives i believe that we should not be tied down to certain laws and rules. With that being said I feel as if the government has and will always keep certain laws due to the fact of the income the government gets, such as gun restrictions and laws

  35. I believe that I have a more decentralist point of view. I believe that the government should only interfeer with the states by reuglating our currency and making sure that the people in our country are safe. This is a country where the people want to enojoy their freedoms and were the people are tried of seeing a good portion of thier paychecks go to the government. However I do believe that if the American people are struggling that the government should help them out untill they can provide for themselves

  36. I feel as though i am a decentralist because federalism to me means team work and what is team work without the state being involved. It takes more than one person to make a decision or have some type of control over the states. Dont get me wrong yes i do think the government should have a little more power but to actually have total control I feel is unfair. The government doesn’t try to benifit the people in my opinion, they just look out for themselves and hope everyone else (the states) fall into place.

  37. After learning the different views of Federalism, I think I would lean more towards a decentralist view.Because of what I think i understood from class, that the decentralist have a steady set of beliefs and are clear about what their plans are. Also, I agree with Kamil Pustul, above me where the “Federal government should only interfere with the states to regulate currency and keep everyone here in America safe”. Also, many things from the constitution are being somewhat contradicted, the constitution says “We The People” and it’s supposed to give us Americans all these rights but then there are limitations, so we have freedom of speech, religion and pursuit of happiness.. But only to an extent..

  38. I definitely believe in the limitations, And I most certainly believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution which states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” We have to hold our elected member of Congress more accountable.

  39. I think that the government should be decentralist because it is for the people by the people. If the government controls it all then why do we need to vote or even try to change things. I think that we should work together and not be kept on the sidelines where the government tells use what we can and cant do and if we need to pay more taxes, but the don’t pay more taxes

  40. I am ambivalent about it. One the one hand if I were forced to choose I would say I am a centralist. But I also strongly support what Colorado and Washington are doing and I firmly believe the government should not interfere. But if history has taught us anything it’s that the rights of humans supersede the rights of states. To the decentralists out there do you believe states should have the rights to enforce slavery?

  41. I believe that the government should stay more from a decentralist point of view. I believe that liberatarians are more focused on economic and social stances more than any other political party. Libertarians see the financial benefit of legalizing marijuana, are for the decrease of military spending, agree that the right to own a fire arm should be by choice, and are for gay marriage and abortion. Ultimately, the liberatarian point of view is more beneficial for everyone.

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