Federalism, Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances.

Separation of powers and checks and balances, Federalism.
The greatest accomplishment of America since achieving its independence was the development of an efficient and functioning constitution that the bourgeoisie, who were continually resisted by the communists, accomplished after a great revolution. They were able to drive their proposals forward without a waning spirit to predict the establishment of a new constitution to have a sovereign republic that did not conform with British rule, their colonial rulers (Baggetta & Alexander 22). Federalism, division of powers, and checks and balances are among the major and critical elements of the United Nations constitution. These aspects were put into place to ensure that there was a limit on how each arm of the government exercised its powers. All the arms of the government were supposed to act independently but the constitution provided a threshold that could and should not be exceeded. Beyond that threshold, the culprits are in a position to face the law (Schwerdfeger 102). This paper delves on federalism, separation of powers and checks and balances. Showing how these aspects can either be of benefit or detrimental to the United States political system.


Federalism is a process by which in a government, powers are divide between a regional government and a central government. In the United States, the national and state government both hold recognizable authority and power. Federalism has evolved from the traditional form of federalism known as “dual federalism” to the current mode of federalism known as “new federalism”. Though the framers of the constitution had aimed at creating unison in governance, there exist some hitches between the two governments, but they all work towards a common goal. There are some benefits of federalism: one is fostering loyalty. Citizens have the feeling of being close to their government as the government is well represented at the local levels. The second is the creation of laboratories of democracy. Federalism has assisted the government in experimenting policies and other states get a chance to gauge the pros and cons of tested policies. Example is the state of California that has been on the forefront in advocating for environmental regulations. The measure they adopted were later adopted by other states after seeing positive results. In 1990’s, Wisconsin governor T. Thompson tested the welfare policy that was later incorporated by other states (Baggetta, Angela. 22). Other benefits include but not limited to: political stability by removing the national government from contentious areas, and pluralism. There exist some detrimental effects of federalism to the political system which include: hinders the creation of national policies and lack of accountability. Those two shortcomings make it hard for U.S to formulate single policies and it has to have fifty-one policies and in many cases they confuse each other.

Separation of powers

The separation of powers is an aspect of the constitution that ensures that powers are divided between the judiciary, the legislature (Congress) and executive. Each of these have been assigned distinctive responsibilities. The purpose of this aspect was to ensure that one foot of governance was well pressed on the brakes while the other one was on the accelerator. That could ensure that nothing could pass to becoming a law without a thorough national consensus. The major benefit of this segment of the constitution is that no arm of the government is in a position of misusing power as its powers are monitored by other arms and one is a subject of the other (Schwerdfeger 44). That comes at a cost. Separation of powers has affected the political system in that for any bill to become a law, it has to pass through so many stages and that consumes times especially during emergency issues like global warming regulations that seem to take a lengthy discussion before coming to a conclusion.

Checks and balances

Checks and balances are systems in the government that are made for the sole purpose of controlling the amount of power vested in each of the arms of the government. It is an important aspect of the constitution that hinders one branch of government from having more power than the other. In other words, the system prevents tyranny. Checks and balances are beneficial to the political system, especially on the citizens in that the national government will put their matters at hand else other arms will intervene (Lessambo, 20). This aspect ensures that promises given by politicians before being elected are fulfilled and if not, the persons responsible are held accountable. That keeps the judiciary, the executive and the congress at their toes to ensure that they deliver in accordance to the constitution, thus ensuring a smooth running of political affairs.


In conclusion, the framers of the constitution had purposed that all the three arms of the government should work in collaboration of the well-being of the citizens. With the separation of powers, the battle of superiority erupted among the three arms. With the aspect of checks and balances, a clear division and accountability developed where different entities concentrated on improving their branch and that has led to the appreciation of the constitution and good governance.


Baggetta, Peter, Partricia A. Alexander. Conceptualization and operationalization of Executive Function.”Mind, Brain, and Education. Print, 2016. 10-33.

Lessambo, Felix I. The International Corporate Governance System: Audit Roles amd Board Oversight. Print, 2013. 13-74.

Schwerdfeger, Angela. Implementation and the Separation of Powers. Participatory Rights in the Environmenstsl Decision-Making Process and the Implementation of the Aarhus Convention: a Comparative Perspective. Print, 2015. 173-188.

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