The American Tradition of Federalism and Multiculturalism

In the modern world, there are different approaches to governmental organization, each of which has advantages and drawbacks. The benefits often depend on the context (economic situation, the quality of social interactions, and similar factors), in which a certain form of organization is utilized. When it comes to federalism, the combination of a general and a few regional governments, this governmental mode is associated with several benefits that refer to representation and cohesion. The division of power enables multiculturalism and the recognition of various ethnic groups, leading to national unity.

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Speaking about the strong points of federalism, it can promote the peaceful co-existence of people with dissimilar beliefs and cultural values, thus increasing the levels of national cohesion. According to Volokh, the ability of federalism to promote multiculturalism is manifested in the relationships between the power structure and legal rules peculiar to certain cultures. For instance, when this type of governmental structure is implemented, all citizens are encouraged to recognize the presence of “substantial differences in culture” between various states (Volokh).

Taking into account that regional-level governments sometimes have the right to implement policies that are culture-based, it is possible to conclude that federalism supports cultural diversity and helps find satisfactory compromises between ethnic groups with conflicting values.

In terms of national cohesion, it needs to be noted that modern researchers have dissimilar opinions concerning the ability of federalism to promote it. Although the recognition of ethnic diversity leads to the existence of numerous identities, this organizational form can promote national unity by relying on the common denominator of different cultures. In particular, federalism aims at harmonizing the relationships of conflicting groups by accommodating certain “religious or cultural objections to generally applicable laws” (Volokh). Therefore, its role in enabling national cohesion can be described concerning efforts focused on the promotion of common social norms and a sense of right and wrong.

Both multiculturalism and federalism have their strong and weak points. As for the benefits of living in a multicultural society, they include limited opportunities for discrimination based on race, religious affiliation, or similar factors. Moreover, the cultural exchange can sometimes be positive for some groups’ development and economic opportunities (Volokh). Nevertheless, even if a society promotes multiculturalism, the extent to which different cultures contribute to the formation of the national identity varies, and the creation of complete equality does not seem possible. This fact gives rise to numerous disadvantages of multiculturalism that relate to the representation of ethnicities. For example, the least represented minority groups may need to work hard to carry their positions and prevent the erasure of their cultural identity.

Compared to unitary governments, living under the federal government is advantageous since it involves the division of power. With that in mind, it allows limiting opportunities for tyranny and the total centralization of authority (Volokh). Moreover, it can be beneficial to the accommodation of conflicts between different ethnic groups and promote religious tolerance, thus protecting the rights of minority groups and increasing citizens’ political participation (Volokh). Speaking about its disadvantages, federalism cannot resolve the problem of competition between different states and eliminate economic inequality dependent on ethnicity.

To sum it up, the ability of federalism to promote multiculturalism and contribute to national cohesion presents its strong points. Moreover, if compared to unitary governments, the mixed mode of political organization or federalism possesses numerous advantages related to the prevention of total power centralization. For instance, the willingness to unite the efforts and resources of different ethnicities can help improve the quality of life of minorities. Concerning its drawbacks, even though federalism promotes diversity, it is unable to eliminate inequality in financial opportunities.

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Work Cited

Volokh, Eugene. “The American Tradition of Multiculturalism.The Washington Post. 2015. Web.

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"The American Tradition of Federalism and Multiculturalism." StudyCorgi, 8 July 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "The American Tradition of Federalism and Multiculturalism." July 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "The American Tradition of Federalism and Multiculturalism." July 8, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'The American Tradition of Federalism and Multiculturalism'. 8 July.

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