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American federalism was built into the American constitution so that both centralizing and decentralizing principles would be present. We would have a strong national government, represented by the President and the Supreme Court, but we would also have a strong decentralized political system represented by the senate, the electoral college, and the state governments. James Madison, who was the recognized interpreter of what the constitutional convention in Philadelphia was trying to achieve was clear about this mixture of national elements with state elements. He said in Federalist Paper #51 that citizen liberty was protected by two levels of government, as well as by three branches of governments. It is the choice to two levels of government that is so unique to American politics; it what gives Americans a choice in how they want different programs to be run. Do they want federal educational programs or state? Do they want federal rules governing abortion, or state ones? We take these choices for granted, because we argue our choices constantly. Becoming more conscious of the choice process can make us more aware of what else we might do as citizens to decentralize government, away from Washington. This is not just a partisan bias, it can be the basis for getting more out of government while spending less. Maybe some programs ought to be sent to Washington and make them centralized? And once we know we can make officials give us better choices, the more democracy and better democracy we can have. It is in their profound respect for democracy's choices, that allowed our Founders to defend the Constitution's having two two levels of government and three branches of government. Just like at the supermarket, having real choices make for better decisions.

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Q: What are the main differences between the centralists and decentralists Regarding federalism and the Constitution?
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