What is Federalism?

2 minute read

The word federalism derives from a Latin ‘foedus’ which means a treaty. Under the political system of federalism the power of governance is shared between a larger/general government having national responsibilities and a regional government with local responsibilities. This power division is clubbed with the authority to carry out the responsibilities bestowed upon them on behalf of the people of the federal body. Let us find out what is federalism?

How is a Federal Structure?

A system that works on federal values has at least two levels of government which is divided between the central level and territorial level e.g. states, regions, provinces. The Indian constitution also has many features of Federalism inbibed into it. It provides a way to various groups to share power based on common interests, yet exercise a level of autonomy vis-à-vis central state institutions

This basically means that federalism paves a path for groups of people that have certain things in common, as well as some important differences, to live together. This happens by sharing powers for things that they have in common, for eg international trade. At the same time they can maintain a certain level of self-rule over a few things that concerns their own interests. These interests can include education, healthcare and broadcasting 

Federalism in Different Countries

Due to a shared and cooperative federalism it has often been a choice for many countries like USA, India, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, as well as Nigeria. This political system is often adopted by those countries that have a very diverse population who wish to preserve their own identities. This diversity can span across religious, linguistic or ethnic. 

Federalism comes as a response to the challenges that come with size and diversity of a country. There can be countries having different issues and as the problems are different, no federal system in a particular country is exactly like the other. Every country has a system that works best for them.



#1. Which of these countries has a federal system?

#2. A federal system has atleast how many levels of working?

#3. What kind of powers are held by both the governments?


Hope you have gotten all relevant information about what is federalism! If you want to know more on topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

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