Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Michael B. Stein
Federalism is often referred to in current writings on politics as an old political idea whose time has finally come in the 21st century. In this respect, a distinguished scholar of this subject, Ronald L. Watts (2008), has noted “there are at present some 25 countries encompassing over 40% of the world's population, and each exhibiting the fundamental characteristics of a functioning federation” (p. 1). And he points out that “a distinctive feature about this current popularity of federalism in the world is that the application of the federal idea has taken a great variety of forms” (p. 7). The initial framing of “federalism” in its modern manifestation, both as an idea and as an institutional form, is generally attributed to two prominent American Constitutional Fathers, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, the principal authors of The Federalist , in October 1787. In promoting this concept, they sought to defend a ...