Test Your Knowledge of Federalism



9 Questions

What is federalism?

What is the difference between federalism and confederalism?

Which of the following countries is an example of a federation or federal province or state?

What is the origin of the term 'federalism'?

What are the two main types of federalization recognized in political theory?

What are the four competing theoretical explanations for the adoption of federal systems?

What is the contemporary concept of federalism based upon?

What is usually outlined in the constitution in a federation?

What is the purpose of special procedures for amending the federal constitution in federations?


Overview of Federalism

  • Federalism is a mode of government that combines a central or federal government with regional governments in a single political system.

  • It differs from confederalism, where the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, where the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level.

  • Examples of a federation or federal province or state include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Iraq, Malaysia, Mexico, Micronesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, the UAE, and the US.

  • The term "federalism" and "confederalism" share a root in the Latin word foedus, meaning "treaty, pact or covenant".

  • Early forms of federalism took place in ancient times, in the form of alliances between states.

  • Modern federalism is a political system based upon democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments.

  • Two main types of federalization are recognized in political theory: fiscal federalism and political federalism.

  • There are four competing theoretical explanations in the academic literature for the adoption of federal systems: to safeguard against the possibility of war, to reduce both domestic security threats and foreign threats, to allow states to be large and diverse, and to mitigate the risk of a tyrannical government through centralization of powers.

  • The contemporary concept of federalism came about with the creation of an entirely new system of government that provided for democratic representation at two governing levels simultaneously, which was implemented in the US Constitution.

  • In a federation, the division of power between federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution.

  • Usually, a federation is formed at two levels: the central government and the regions (states, provinces, territories), and little to nothing is said about second or third level administrative political entities.

  • The structures of most federal governments incorporate mechanisms to protect the rights of component states.Overview of Federalism

  • Federalism is a political system in which power is shared between a central government and its constituent parts, usually states or provinces.

  • The United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Switzerland are examples of federal systems.

  • In a federal system, each level of government has its own powers and responsibilities, and there is usually a system of checks and balances to prevent any one level from becoming too powerful.

  • The central government in a federal system is usually responsible for matters that affect the whole country, such as defense, foreign policy, and the economy.

  • The constituent parts of a federal system, such as the states or provinces, are responsible for matters that affect their own citizens, such as education, health care, and law enforcement.

  • In some federal systems, such as the United States and Australia, each state is represented by an equal number of senators in the upper house of the legislature, regardless of the size of its population.

  • In other federal systems, such as Germany and the European Union, the members of the upper house are actual members or delegates of the state governments.

  • The lower house of a federal legislature is usually directly elected, with apportionment in proportion to population.

  • In Canada, the provincial governments negotiate directly with the central government, and a First Ministers conference of the prime minister and the provincial premiers is the de facto highest political forum in the land.

  • Federations often have special procedures for amending the federal constitution, which may guarantee that the self-governing status of the component states cannot be abolished without their consent.

  • Some federal constitutions also provide that certain constitutional amendments cannot occur without the unanimous consent of all states or of a particular state.

  • Federalism and other forms of territorial autonomy may be a useful way to prevent violence among different groups within countries, but can also divide countries and result in state collapse because it creates proto-states.


Test your knowledge on the political system of federalism with our quiz! From the definition of federalism to its history and different types, this quiz will challenge your understanding of this unique mode of government. Discover the countries that have a federal system, the powers and responsibilities of each level of government, and the benefits and drawbacks of federalism. Whether you're a student of political science or just interested in learning more about government systems, this quiz is for you. So, take the quiz now and see

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