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Federalism and Separation of Powers

I recently discovered that there seems to be a confusion between what federalism is and what the separation of powers is. The distinction is simple, but very important to understand.

Federalism is the division of powers between the federal government and the state governments. Federalism (as the founders understood it) means that the federal government retains certain powers (specifically those articulated in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution) while the state retains others. For instance, the Federal government has the right to coin money and provide for national defense. The states are forbidden from doing this. On the other hand, Separation of powers is the system of checks and balances put in place within the federal government. Primarily, these checks and balances were put in place to prevent the federal government from overreaching and to make it function smoothly.

Our system puts limitations of these checks and balances (Presidential veto, for instance) but these limitations are in place to service separation of powers, not to override it.