Getting Confused by Nicknames, Old and New

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by Derek Sheriff

Cross Posted from Tenth Amendment Center

After reading and listening to numerous questions and comments about federalism from people on the Internet and on various talk radio shows, I’ve concluded that there is still a great deal of confusion about what exactly federalism is and what it is not.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines federalism as: “..the distribution of power in an organization (as a government) between a central authority and the constituent units — compare centralism.”

The same dictionary defines centralism as: “..the concentration of power and control in the central authority of an organization (as a political or educational system).”

 These are not perfect definitions for the purposes of this essay, but you’ll notice one thing. Neither definitions mention the 18th century American political factions that came to be commonly known as the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Rather, the definitions reflect a more worldwide understanding of the concept of true federalism, which favors the decentralization, rather than the consolidation of political power.

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 Derek Sheriff [send him email] is a research analyst for the Tenth Amendment Center. His articles have appeared in various publications, and he writes regularly for the Center on issues related to state sovereignty and nullification. His blog and podcast “Principles of ‘98″ can be found at www.PrinciplesOfNinetyEight.Com.

View his Tenth Amendment Center blog archives here,

and his article archives here

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