James Morone's By The People: Debating American Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 1 Subject: Government Type: Essay Paper: #96389255 Related Topics: Federalism, Federalist, Nationalism, People
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … James Morone's By the People: Debating American Government addresses the meaty topics of federalism and nationalism. These trends in American political discourse have shaped much of American history, and it is crucial to engage in intelligent debates on these topics. Morone does an excellent job of presenting all sides of the debate and allowing readers to make decisions accordingly.

First, Morone presents an overview and definitions of terms, starting with the question, why federalism? The author responds to the prevailing federalist and anti-federalist beliefs by showing why a strong federal government might have been appealing to early American statesmen. In particular, Morone notes that the fragmented colonial governments needed to reconcile their interests in national security and free trade. Federalism arose largely out of practical matters. Choosing federalism often involves making calculated compromises between local self-interests and the resources that can only be generated on a larger scale. However, Morone points out far more advantages to federalism than what might be obvious on the surface. The author discusses the ways federalism can help...


While there are obviously advantages to federalism, Morone also addresses the disadvantages such as competition between member states, problems related to consistency and coordination of services, and the problems with federal systems in diverse nations like the United States. This is why it can be difficult to compare the United States directly with more homogenous countries like Sweden or Denmark. Federalism is easier to execute in smaller, homogenous nations than in large, heterogeneous ones like the United States, which is why the debate over nationalism and federalism remains salient.

Morone's arguments are highly relevant. Battles over federalism today can be seen every day in the news, as states vie for the rights to either provide or restrict certain freedoms and liberties and struggle against federal governance. The abolition of slavery was in fact a federalist issue, with the slave-holding states advocating states' rights over the right of the federal government to legislate on the matter. Given the problems associated with states' rights to slavery and other injustices, it makes sense that federalism would provide a more sensible model for governance.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Morone, J. (2012). By the People. Oxford University Press.

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