Systems of Government

Systems of Government

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Systems of Government

In the United States, the two main levels of government are at the national and state levels. Power is divided between these two governments and therefore a system of shared control is used. Federalism is a system of rule whereby a written constitution gives guidelines on how power is divided between a central government, sub-divisional and regional governments. (Riker, 2017) The federalist system in the United States emerged due to the states evolving from different colonies. This paper will focus on the relationship between the state and the federal government in terms of how their structures and powers.

State governments just like the federal government have similar structures such as the three branches which include legislative, executive and judicial. (Riker, 2017) The constitution has made it possible for the balance of power to exit between the two systems. Powers shared by the two states is known as concurrent powers while exclusive powers refer to those reserved for each system of government. The state governments have authority over issues affecting their individual states, for example, issuing driver, marriage and hunting licenses, conducting elections, controlling state businesses. Moreover, they have powers to ensure public health and safety is adhered to, the establishment of local government and ensuring that the militia is maintained. On the other hand, the exclusive powers attached to the federal government are those of national concern. For example, controlling international trade, interstate trade, printing money, raising armies, declaring war, steering foreign matters, the establishment of inferior courts and rules of naturalization.

Concurrent powers that both systems of government share is; borrowing money, making laws and enforcing them, the establishment of courts, taxation and giving a charter to corporations and banks. Exclusive powers exercised by the federal government assists the nation to function efficiently and united. State governments recommend strategies on taxation, education, healthcare, and trade within their area of jurisdiction provided their regulations do not contradict with national regulations and laws. (Riker, 2017) The state government has greatly impacted the lives of its citizens by making sure that they live in a clean environment, use medications and food that have been tested as well as drinking purified water. It has also played an important role in monitoring the economy, businesses, and provision of public amenities such as schools, hospitals, and improved roods. This improves the lives of its citizens and gives assurance that the taxes they contribute are well utilized.


Riker, W. H. (2017). Federalism. A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy, 12(6), 612-620.