There is a big debate on whether the Federal government under the Constitution is too weak or too strong. Taking a critical analysis of the origin of federalism and constitutionalism, there are several lessons which may make one to either support Federal government under the constitution as a weak or strong system of government. The inability of the federal government under the Articles of Confederation and the ineffectiveness of the government to handle Shays’s Rebellion persuaded many people to look into a stronger federal government. However, this thought also came with immense challenges on how to design a government strong enough to enforce law and order yet not strong enough to threaten liberty. Challenged with contrasting thoughts of aristocracy and democracy, the American Founders formed a republic. A republic is a government which applies representation system.
The mandate and powers given by the US constitution to the federal government, are few and are well defined. This makes the role and the powers of the federal government to be limited and specific. This makes the federal government weak as compared to the state government. The powers that remained to the State governments are many and indefinite. This is because the powers which are reserved to all States extend to all aspects of life which relates to liberties, and properties of every individual, and the internal order, and development of the State. The activities of the federal government are most elaborate and critical in times of war and danger. It is prudent to note that, the federal powers under the constitution are mostly focused to the national defense, and the less occasionally will such powerfully support the federal supremacy over the state governments. A critical analysis of Constitutional dispensation with accuracy and candor, it is found that federalism under the constitution has less power since all the powers given to it are regulated by other arms of the government. The federal powers concerning war and peace, army's operation and fleets, treaties and finance, are all vested in the existing Congress by the articles of Confederation. This makes the federal government to be weak in its operation since it has to convince both the congress and the senate to make crucial decisions.
Check and Balances
This system of checks and balances, is the main cornerstone federalism under the constitution. The development of checks and balances has mad the federalism under constitution a weak system of government. This is because check and balances represent remedies to the challenges of how to empower the central government, yet form a protection against vices such as corruption and despotism. The President is given the power to veto acts of Congress are seen to be unnecessary or unjust, and he is also responsible for the appointment of federal and Supreme Court judges. The Senate has to ratify treaties proposed by the President, and has to approve the President's cabinet appointments. This in itself makes the federal government under constitution weak. Similarly, congress has the power to impeach, and remove the President from office, as well as Supreme Court justices, if need be. The powers given to both the house representative and the senate are too power to make the executive run smoothly. In this regard, the executive must bend down all the time to make its proposals be ratified by the two legislative chambers. Therfeore, executive is forced to work under the check of the legislature.
The judicial arm whose head is the Supreme Court, has the mandate and power to interpret the laws passed by Congress. The US constitution has transformed the federalism system to be a system which is weak and cannot unanimously make decision without extensive lobbying and consultation with other branches of government. The state legislatures are mandated to elect Senators, and make a selection of delegates to the Electoral College, which in turn participate in selecting the President.
I have a pessimistic view of human character and therefore I support limited government. This is because egocentric behavior coupled with human lust for domination can mean that a too-powerful federal government can easily turn to be an engine of citizen exploitation. The separation of powers and federalism, one arm of the government cannot over step its mandateare ways in which there is protection of liberty. In a government system where political powers are divided among three separate branches of government. Federalism under constitution gives ensure that state and federal government check each other. It is prudent to note that principles of separation of powers under constitution mirrors the Founders’ disbelieve of the people to govern themselves. Separation of powers and the installation of proper checks and balances, guarantee that the national government controls itself and, if this check fails, federalism under constitution helps the states to protect the citizen from mistreatment by the central government.
The federal government under the constitution too weak to efficiently perform some of the duties which are geared for the betterment of the life of the people. This is because all the powers given by the constitution are gain check by other branches of the government. In addition, all the three branches of the government, that is the legislature, judiciary and executive must work together. All the major decisions made by the executive must be ratified by the house of representatives and the senate. Therefore, the system is too weak to make major decisions in the country.