POLS 2300 Lecture Notes - Counter-Revolutionary, Fiscal Gap, De Facto

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In a federal system of government the constitutional authority to make laws and to tax is divided between a national government and some number of regional governments. Neither the national government acting alone nor the regional governments acting together have the authority to alter the powers of the other level of government. Citizens in a federal state are members of two political communities, one national and the other coinciding with the boundaries of the province, the name given to the regional units of a federal state vary between countries. Federalism is a legal term, and its existence is based on constitution, federalism is chiefly a property of constitutions, not of societies. The sociological approach to federalism argues that the essence of federalism lies not in the constitutional or institutional structure but in the society itself and declares federalism is a function of societies.

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