Federalism & Trust

This week, we resume Part 4 of 4: the pros and cons of federalism in relation to other ways of arranging governments. If you want to go back to read the earlier material, or get everything in one gulp, you can click here.

Dual federalism provides a way for diverse people to be governed by leaders they can trust.  Trust is more likely because, under federalism, local leaders know local needs better than someone in a distant national capital. Importantly, local leaders face the same problems their voters face, so they have more incentive to solve those problems. 

“It is a known fact in human nature, that its affections are commonly weak in proportion to the distance or diffusiveness of the object. Upon the same principle that a man is more attached to his family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood than to the community at large, the people of each State would be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local governments than towards the government of the Union; unless the force of that principle should be destroyed by a much better administration of the latter.”
— Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 17

In the U.S., since at least 1997, citizens have placed more trust in their local government followed by their state government. They express the least trust in the federal government.

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