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Strengthened local government and a weaker federal government

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/11/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 387 times Debate No: 96929
Debate Rounds (3)
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I'm doing this debate again since the last person forfeited. I'll just copy and paste what I said in the first round from the last one.

The primary reason I oppose a large federal government, is because it provides the least amount of satisfaction among the people. When local governments are empowered, and federal government is weak, there is more happiness among the people.

I'll demonstrate why through this example:

Suppose country A has 20% of the people who are extremely right-wing, then 15% of people who are moderately right-wing, 20% who are slightly right-wing, 10% who are moderate, 25% who are slightly left-wing, 5% who are moderately left-wing, and 5% who are extremely left-wing. For a republic, if the federal government is doing all of the important policies, you will have more or less a slightly right-wing government based on those percentages. In other words, only 20% of the people are satisfied with the government. However, since demographics are often different among each city, and it tends to be the case that cities tend to be much more conservative or liberal(and rarely have the same ideological make-up of the nation as a whole), they can implement the same policies, and with each city doing their own policies, more people will be satisfied. It's just natural for people to be more satisfied with local government.

A statistic that is also worth mentioning is that 72% of Americans trust their local(city) governments, while only 62% trust state government( ) and 19% trust the federal government ( ) I would argue the reason they trust their local governments more is because they are more likely to know the people in office. Therefore, since you're more likely to know the person in office, they are more likely to know each individuals' needs and desires and better fulfill them than someone in the federal government would.

I'll leave it at this for now.


Before we begin, I would like to clarify and understand your argument better. Since strong/weak, large/small are very relative terms, could you define what you mean by a "Strengthened local government and a weaker federal government." When referring to strengthened local government, do you mean that the local government has more control over the laws in that area than the federal government does? What exactly makes them stronger or weaker? In addition, to this where are the lines drawn to decide how much power the local and federal government should have?
Towards the end of a paragraph it says, "It's just natural for people to be more satisfied with local government." Could you define natural for me and point out how exactly it is natural? Are you saying that it is natural for ALL people to be satisfied with the local government?
Also, just to clarify, are you only referring to America for this argument?
I am very excited to debate this with you.
Debate Round No. 1


By a strengthened local government, I mean that the local government will have control over majority of laws. The federal government, in my opinion, has only a few places where it should have stronger control: the military, as the federal government is much better at maintaining a military than local governments would be. Then I would say the federal government would resolve disputes between the more local government, whether it be between provinces or states, depending on what system the nation uses. Then foreign policy is the only other area where I believe the federal government should be the final authority. Every thing else, I believe should be up to local governments. Does that clarify it enough for you?

And by natural, I mean it logically makes sense. Local governments, as I pointed out before, will be able to address problems the populace have. Every area is different in terms of problems they face, so for a federal government to use a blanket solution to a problem, it will not be effective for everyone since many nations are diverse. I admit, some nations are small a strong federal government is probably fine.

I'm not only referring to America for this argument, but I do refer to nations with populations that have varying opinions among the people and a diverse amount of problems among local populace. Some nations are so small, that a strong federal government probably is appropriate. I refer to larger countries such as America, China, India, Russia, Indonesia, etc. However, since I am American, I may be focusing a little more on America for this debate.


Thank you for clarification. However, when you say " the federal government would resolve disputes between the more local government", do you mean that the federal government has the final say? If so, then would this not give more strength to the federal government? When you say, " Every thing else, I believe should be up to local governments." What is everything else? Also if the federal government has control of the military and interacts with foreign affairs. Then what power does the local government have? The local government may be able to create laws that are different between provinces or states, but if the federal government has the final say then wouldn't that make the federal government stronger.
I will also focus a little more on America for this debate. Having a federal government that is weaker than the local government, can cause division and chaos among the states. If the local governments are stronger than the federal government then there is nothing to keep the local governments unified and could easily decide to branch off from the country itself. But with a stronger federal government then, as the Constitution of America says, "In all our deliberation on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union . . ."
Consolidation meaning the action or process of combining a number of things into a single more effective or coherent whole. A stronger federal government that has control over all the local governments is able to keep things as a whole. Whereas a weaker government would not be able to unify the local governments.
In America, the states do have the ability to create their own laws that may differ from other states, however, congress, "becomes "the supreme Law of the Land," regardless of opposition by the states." So in this example, the local governments do have some power, however, the federal government is stronger because it has the final say.
To add, I believe in having local governments that do have some power, however, I believe that the federal government should be stronger. I am not saying that there shouldn't be local governments at all, just much weaker local governments.
Debate Round No. 2


First, I would leave all law making to the local governments, so the federal government wouldn't have a final say in things. It would only be there in the event one state and another state get into a fight, in which case the federal government could resolve this. For example, each local government would get one representative, and each representative is in the federal government. These representatives then vote on how to settle the dispute between those two states. So the difference between this government I propose and say what the US has or what most governments have, is there would be no law-making done by the federal government. The federal government would only be there to work out a compromise of sorts between states that have conflicting laws, and if these states' laws were to come in to conflict. In most cases, the states laws wouldn't come into conflict with each other since they govern different areas. One example where this would happen is if two states agreed upon having an interstate road, but they can't agree on where it should go. Then that's something the federal government can step in and handle and come to a compromise. I'd probably make it a requirement that when the federal government makes a compromise, it truly has to be a compromise between the states. I would say the federal government can't take one side or the other and is there to determine a compromise.

In addition to this, I would also say that state and city governments should be able to enter into treaties with other cities and states/provinces from other countries, or to enter into a treaty with that country too. So that is another way in which more power would be given to the states. I'll explain later why this would be beneficial.

While I agree with my opponent that unification is important, I would argue that a federal government that makes laws is not necessary for that. All a federal government needs to maintain unity is a military. If a state or several states break away, then the military the federal government has can be used to enforce that they stay in, by war if necessary. I would argue that, if the states were left with more power than the federal government, they would have no reason to break away though. What was the reason the south left the union in 1861? Was it not primarily because they were afraid of a federal government which would take away states' rights? What reason would a state have to leave a country if the local government is the strongest form of government?

In addition, a problem that I see with federal government is that it causes gridlock and little gets done a lot of times. Partisanship is MUCH more potent at the federal level than it is at the state level. It's nearly non-existent at the city level. The advantage of giving more power to the cities and states, is that more will get done because partisanship is not an issue at the city level, and is not as bad at the state level. I recommend watching this TED talk which discusses this very thing:
Mayors all over the world, for example, are better at combating climate change, as discussed in the video, than the federal government who is so partisan that it even caused almost 2 government shut downs and one did in fact actually happen.

As I mentioned before, I believe it would be good for cities and states to be able to enter treaties with other cities and states of other nations. The reason why is because then things could get done for issues such as climate change, and there would be no federal government blocking this from happening like there is now. The federal government will often protect the fossil fuel industry, however, if it wasn't the federal government's job to do this, cities would be able to stand up to this industry, where as before there is no one who is able to because of the federal government protecting them. That's just one example, but that can happen for other topics as well I'm sure.

I'll end with summarizing everything I've said: More people will be happy under more powerful local governments, more things will get done because there is not as much gridlock and partisanship on the city level and state levels as there is in the federal government, and more issues that effect certain people at a local level will be able to be better addressed by someone who can understand the issue as they live in the same area unlike federal government officials.


You make some very good points, however, I would like to clarify my definition of strong and weak. Strong meaning powerful in influence, authority, resources, or means of prevailing or succeeding. Weak meaning not having much political strength, governing power, or authority.
So you say, " all law making to the local governments, so the federal government wouldn't have a final say in things" So does that leave the federal government essentially to be a peacekeeper?
Although the idea of compromising might sound promising, there are many situations and laws that could not be made into a compromise. For some laws, it is either legal or illegal.
You also say, "state and city governments should be able to enter into treaties with other cities and states/provinces from other countries, or to enter into a treaty with that country."
This is a link of all the different departments and sections of America's federal government.
There are far too many things for each and every state to have a department of each. In America there are 50 states, if each state can interact with foreign affairs then that would be 50 foreign affairs and hundreds of sub departments for just one country. With a stronger federal department, the country can have just one foreign affair department rather than hundreds.
Although having local governments allows for the adjustment of laws and specific needs to be met, the local government should be weaker than the federal government. The federal government is able to unify and handle departments that would be too much for each state/province to have.
Thank you for debating this with me.
Debate Round No. 3
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