Essay on Federalism Is The National Drinking Age Policy

Essay on Federalism Is The National Drinking Age Policy

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Federalism definitely improves our American Democracy. It allows Local and State governments to be more important for its citizens and be more responsive to them. Federalism, at least in the United States, is the concept of both national and state governments having shared powers and authority of over matters - such as policies - that the other may not have. The state government has some autonomy, or authority, to pass those policies without needing the national government and vice versa. One simple example on how Federalism works is the national drinking age policy. The national government wanted to establish a minimum age for one to buy or consume alcohol. Since Congress could not simply pass a law making it so, they withheld federal highway funds from states who would not implement the proper drinking age. Congress’ mindset was: if younger people are drinking, your highways aren’t safe, therefore we withhold the funds needed to maintain your roads and highways. There are many aspects to Federalism. There is Dual/Layer Cake Federalism, where levels of government (local, state, national) do not interfere with each other, just like the cake. There is Cooperative/Marble Cake Federalism where the levels do interact with each other. Picket Fence Federalism is where the horizontal boards of a picket fence portray the different governments, while the vertical boards represent policies in which all governments have a part in. Coercive Federalism is when the national government essentially coerces the other levels to do or follow something using incentives. All forms of Federalism except Layer Cake are present in our system of government today.

Having a strong role for states can be a double edge sword. One advantage of a strong state...


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...e their change through the different Branches. The political outcomes of the Civil Rights Movement were specially tailored to the minority group without taking the majority into account. Dozens of other policies could have passed that could have easily been outdated 10 or 20 years from now because of how easy it is to demand what a group wants.

All in all, Madisonian values are the way to go for American Democracy. Participatory, or Majoritarian Democracy, places too much of an emphasis on majority interests when sometimes the minority interests are what’s best for the country. It does take quite a while and a bit of effort to work the Madisonian system, but it should all be worth it in the end. The time taken to pass certain laws and policies reflects the cooperation of the branches and levels of government and the compromise needed to better the nation as a whole.

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