Concepts in Political Science

Federalism is a system of government where power is divided between various state governments and the federal government. In this way, the states can enact, execute, and interpret laws. US federal government can determine foreign policies, declare war, make treaties, and control international trade. They share responsibilities, including business regulation, taxation, and civil rights. Their significant causes of friction are ownership and territorial rights that favor states. For instance, the Submerged Lands Act grants the federal government superior rights over states to claim ownership of submerged lands three nautical miles away (NIH). Unitary states share power with a central government and consider its laws and policies supreme over those in their jurisdictions. Confederate states, in contrast, operate like international organizations or federal states depending on their relationship with the central government (LOC). They have different relationships with the federal government, which may result in friction due to varying agreements between confederate members.

Major benefits of citizen participation include improved social cohesion, governance, social services, and capacity building. In contrast, the costs include the risk of conflict and monetary and non-monetary costs. When a community is dissatisfied with the government’s actions, the administration can listen to people’s views, independent of demographic or contextual criteria. Thus, if individuals protest a certain decision, then despite their gender, age, place of residence, or ties between them, the government should explain or reevaluate its actions (LOC). At the same time, to successfully promote policies, the government must conduct social surveys among the population to introduce initiatives that have support.

People engage in the political process to get better services and good governance, using initiatives to promote legislation to better their lives. Initiatives significantly impact democracy because they can force the government to perform a specific measure if many people support them. The government can help increase community participation by enhancing civil education. Civil unrest and increasing political activity such as group formation result from dissatisfaction. Community participation also increases the level of democracy in a country (LOC). Lastly, the internet and e-commerce can link the public to the government by providing important social services.

The three major functions of the legislature include:

  • Making laws for the benefit of the country
  • Deliberating on important matters that are of interest to the country
  • Wield control over the excesses of the executive arm of government

The legislature controls the excesses of the executive arm. Without the legislature, a nation does not have a system of checks. Most legislative districts are drawn in individual states by passing laws. Legislative leadership comprises the speaker, presiding officers, and heads of legislature substructures like committee chairs. Senate committees are sub-organization of the senate with specific duties in a particular federal government area. They monitor current governmental operations and determine issues suitable for legislative review, evaluate information, and provide recommendations on the optimal course of action for the government (United States Senate). Legislatures typically use their fellow members’ decisions or enable them to decide using cue-taking and cue-giving, respectively. Legislative decision-making is discretional and intended to develop new laws, repeal them or modify previously adopted legislation. Apprenticeship, specialization, and reciprocity are some forms of legislative norms. Bills are difficult to pass at both state and local levels as they have to go through a lengthy process and may be vetoed by the president (NIH).

Works Cited

LOC. “Articles of Confederation: Primary Documents in American History: Introduction.” Research Guides, Library of Congress, 2019, Web.

NIH. “How a Bill Becomes a Law.”, 2020, Web.

United States Senate. “The Role of Committees in the Legislative Process.” U.S. Senate: The Role of Committees in the Legislative Process, 2020, Web.

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DemoEssays. "Concepts in Political Science." December 13, 2022.