The Three Types of Federalism

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Sovereignty is best defined in short form as ‘power.’ Former Leader of The Freedom Project, Steven Groves, describes sovereignty as “a simple idea: the United States is an independent nation governed by the American people that controls its own affairs”. Sovereign states and nations are ones that are responsible for their own laws. When the United States government was formed, having independence, or sovereignty over their own beings, was important to the founding fathers. Similarly, when Texas became an independent nation, Texas leaders sought a similar outcome.

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Failing to do so, they turned to the United States and decided that sacrificing some of their power over their land, or sovereignty, was necessary to become great. Even though the United States allows its states some sovereignty over its own territory, “…the Texas government is part of a hierarchy in which the United States government has supremacy over the Texas government” (Mitchell). The state and national governments work together to make laws and manage daily life for all Americans.

“Federalism is the collective term for all of these relationships among different governments, different parts or levels of the state, that claim a piece of the overall sovereignty” (Mitchell). Federalism helps ensure that no person or state feels left out of the decision making process. States are allowed to set regulations for schools and traffic, while the national government makes decisions about trade agreements and military. It may sound as if the people are left out of this completely, however voting helps ensure that federalism still allows for state and nation sovereignty. Groves adds, “The purpose of government is to secure the people’s rights”. Because of this purpose, governments that are sovereign gain power from the people and are sustained by the ‘right of self-government,’ (Groves).

Daniel Elazar offers three types of political culture: moralistic, traditional, and individualistic. Moralistic political culture argues that individuals should consider the ‘right’ thing to do and should understand there are other, ways of doing things (Texas). The Traditional approach to political cultures is to keep with old process because they work. “…[T]he overarching normative theme of Traditionalism is ‘“we should do things the way they’ve always been done” and that of Individualism is, “people should be free to do mostly whatever they want,”” (Texas). This explains the hands off approach. ‘Natural aristocracy’ is a type of representation is the attitude that men of higher education are best suited to run the people (Texas). While this may sound old fashioned, this is still prevalent when voters are swayed by the candidate with the most/best education. The opposite of ‘natural aristocracy’ would be seeking out candidates that are “ordinary, middle class people, whose own cares and problems were most similar to the average person in the district” (Texas).

This is the desire to vote for someone who comes from a similar situation as voter. Another type of representation, Party Voting “…reflects how most voters, candidates, and parties act…” (Texas). If a voter identifies with a certain political party, he or she would not need to watch the news each night for a month to learn the basic ideologies a candidate stands for. Instead they can just vote for the person representing the party they identify with. A region of the United States might identify strongly with one type of candidate, for example, Texans are traditionally conservative. If a non-conservative candidate is running, he may decide to run as a people’s man or use his higher education in order to get around the ‘party voting’ or ‘natural aristocracy’ stigmas.

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The Three Types Of Federalism. (2021, Aug 08). Retrieved from