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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the resilience of the United States’ federal system. It begins with an overview of centralization and decentralization in the American federal system before turning to a discussion of the claim that the American federation is centralizing. It then reviews the evidence as well as institutional and cultural reasons that federalism may still be meaningful in the American context. It also considers the science of federal robustness, with emphasis on its adaptability provided by a set of judicial and extrajudicial safeguards that jointly protect the boundaries of federalism while allowing fluctuations to the distribution of authority without pinning responsibility for those changes on any single author. Finally, it proposes a paradigm for evaluating the robustness of the American federal system by focusing on the conditions that protect its robustness.

Keywords: resilience, federal system, centralization, decentralization, federation, federalism, federal robustness, safeguards, authority, United States

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