Hostname: page-component-7d8f8d645b-dvxft Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-05-29T12:50:51.424Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Federalism, Liberalism, and the Separation of Loyalties

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2007

McGill University


Federalism, when it has not been ignored altogether in normative political theory, has typically been analyzed in terms that fail to match the institution as it exists in the world. Federations are made up of provinces that are too few, too large, too rigid, too constitutionally entrenched, and too tied to ethnocultural identity to match theories based on competitive federalism, Tiebout sorting, democratic self-government, or subsidiarity. A relatively neglected tradition in liberal thought, based on a separation of loyalties and identifiable in Montesquieu, Publius, Constant, Tocqueville, and Acton, however, holds more promise. If the purpose of federalism is to compensate for worrisome tendencies toward centralization, then it is desirable that the provinces large enough to have political power be stable and entrenched and be able to engender loyalty from their citizens, such as the loyalty felt to ethnoculturally specific provinces. Separation of loyalty theories and the bulwark theories of which they are a subset match up with federalism as it exists in the world.

© 2007 by the American Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Acton, Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg. [1862] 1985. “Nationality.” In Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. I. ed. J. Rufus Fears. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 409–33.
Acton, Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg. [1866a] 1985. “The Civil War in America: Its Place in History.” In Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. I, ed. J. Rufus Fears. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 263–79.
Acton, Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg. [1866b] 1985. “Letter to Robert E. Lee, November 4, 1866.” In Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. I, ed. J. Rufus Fears. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 362–64.
Acton, Lord John Emerich Edward Dahlberg. [1910] 1985. “The Influence of America.” In Selected Writings of Lord Acton, Vol. I, ed. J. Rufus Fears. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 198212.
Bauböck Rainer. 2004. “Territorial or Cultural Autonomy for National Minorities?” In The Politics of Belonging, ed. Alain Dieckhoff. Lanham MD: Lexington Books, 22158.
Bauböck Rainer. 2005. “Political Autonomy or Cultural Minority Rights? A Conceptual Critique of Renner's Model.” In National Cultural Autonomy and its Contemporary Critics, ed. Ephraim Nimni. London: Routledge, 97111.
Bednar Jenna, William Eskridge, and John Ferejohn. 2001. “A Political Theory of Federalism,” In Constitutional Culture and Democratic Rule, ed. John Ferejohn, Jack N. Rakove, and Jonathan Riley. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Beer Samuel. 1993. To Make a Nation: The Rediscovery of American Federalism. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Brubaker Rogers. 1996. Nationalism Reframed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Buchanan James. 2001. Federalism, Liberty, and the Law: The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan vol. 18. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.
Calhoun John C. 1851 [1992]. A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States, in Ross M. Lence, ed., Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.
Canovan Margaret. 1997. Nationhood and Political Theory. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
Condorect, Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas de Caritat, Marquis de. [1811] 1969. “Observations on the Twenty-Ninth Book of the Spirit of the Law ,” appended to Destutt de Tracy, A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, Trans. Thomas Jefferson. New York: Burt Franklin.
Constant, Benjamin. [1814] 1989. In The Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation, ed. and trans. Biancamaria Fontana. Constant: Political Writings. In Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Dahl Robert A. 1997. Toward Democracy. Berkeley: Institute of Governmental Studies Press.
Dahl Robert A., and Edward R. Tufte. 1973. Size and Democracy. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Dahl Robert. 1990. Democracy and Its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.
Delors Jacques, et al. 1991. Subsidiarity: The Challenge of Change. Maastricht: European Institute of Public Administration.
Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Claude. [1811] 1969. A Commentary and Review of Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, trans. Thomas Jefferson. New York: Burt Franklin.
Diamond Martin. 1973. “The Ends of Federalism.” Publius 3 (Fall): 12952.Google Scholar
Diamond Martin. 1974. “The Ends of Federalism,” In The Federal Polity, ed. Daniel Elazar. New Brunswick: Transaction Books.
Elazar Daniel J. 1987. Exploring Federalism. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
Föllesdal Andreas. 1998. “Subsidiarity.” Journal of Political Philosophy 6 (June): 190218.Google Scholar
Filippov Mikhail, Peter Ordeshook, and Olga Shvestsova. 2004. Designing Federalism: A Theory of Self-Sustainable Federal Institutions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Galeotti Gianluigi, Pierre Salmon, and Ronald Wintrobe, eds. 2000. Competition and Structure: The Political Economy of Collective Decisions: Essays in Honor of Albert Breton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Galston William. 2004. The Practice of Liberal Pluralism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goodin Robert, ed. 1996. The Theory of Institutional Design. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hendrickson Kimberly A. 2002. “The Survival of Moral FederalismThe Public Interest 148 (Summer): 96111.Google Scholar
Greve Michael. 1999. Real Federalism: Why It Matters, How It Can Happen. Washington: American Enterprise Institute.
Hale Henry E. 2004. “Divided We Stand: Institutional Sources of Ethnofederal State Survival and Collapse.” World Politics 56 (January): 16593.Google Scholar
Hirschman Albert. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Janeba Eckhard. 2004. “Moral Federalism.” CESifo Working Paper Series No. 1239.
King Loren A. 2005. “The Federal Structure of a Republic of Reasons.” Political Theory 33 (October): 62953.Google Scholar
Kymlicka Will. 1995. Multicultural Citizenship. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kukathas Chandran. 2003. The Liberal Archipelago. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Levy Jacob T. 2000. The Multiculturalism of Fear. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Levy Jacob T. 2003a. “Liberalism's Divide After Socialism—And Before.” 20 (1): Social Philosophy and Policy 278–97.Google Scholar
Levy Jacob T. 2003b. “Literacy, Language Rights, and the Modern State.” In Language Rights and Political Theory, ed. Will Kymlicka and Alan Patten. Oxford University Press.
Levy Jacob T. 2003c. “Indigenous Self-government.” In Nomos XLV: Secession and Self-Determination, ed. Stephen Macedo and Allen Buchanan. New York: New York University Press.
Levy Jacob T. 2004. “National Minorities Without Nationalism.” In The Politics of Belonging: Nationalism, Liberalism, and Pluralism, ed. Alain Dieckhoff. Rowman & Littlefield. Lanham, MD.
Lipset Seymour Martin. 1960. Political Man. The Social Bases of Politics. New York: Doubleday Press.
Madison James, and Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. [1788] 2003. The Federalist, with the Letters of Brutus, ed. Terence Ball. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
March James, and Johan Olsen. 1989. Rediscovering Institutions: The Organizational Basis of Politics. New York: The Free Press.
McClay Wilfred M. 1996. “The Soul of Man Under Federalism.” First Things 64 (June/July): 2126.Google Scholar
Mill John Stuart. 1862. Considerations on Representative Government. New York: Harper & Brothers.
Miller David. 1995. On Nationality. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Montesquieu Charles-Louis de Secondat Baron de. [1748] 1989. The Spirit of the Laws, et al. ed. and trans. Anne M. Cohler. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Morgan Glyn. 2004. “Hayek, Habermas, and European Integration.” Critical Review 15 (Winter/Spring): 128.Google Scholar
Mueller Dennis C. 1996. Constitutional Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. New State Ice Co. v Liebmann. 1932. 285 U.S. 26.
Norman Wayne. 1994. “Towards a Philosophy of Federalism.” In Group Rights, ed. J. Baker. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Norman Wayne. 2006. Negotiating Nationalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nozick Robert. 1974. Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books.
Ostrom Vincent. 1987. The Political Theory of the Compound Republic, 2nd ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Ostrom Vincent. 1991. The Meaning of American Federalism. San Francisco: Institute for Contemporary Studies.
Pettys Todd E. 2003. “Competing for the People's Affection: Federalism's Forgotten Marketplace.” Vanderbilt Law Review 56 (March): 329391.Google Scholar
Qian Yingyi, and Barry Weingast. 1997. “Federalism as a Commitment to Preserve Market Incentives.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 11 (Fall): 8392.Google Scholar
Riker William H. 1964. Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance, New York: Little Brown & Co.
Riker William H. 1987. The Development of American Federalism. Boston: Kluwer.
Rosenblum Nancy. 1998. Membership & Morals: The Personal Uses of Pluralism in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press. South Dakota v Dole. 1987. 483 U.S. 203.
Stepan Alfred. 1999. “Federalism and Democracy: Beyond the U.S. Model.” Journal of Democracy 10 (October): 1934.Google Scholar
Tiebout Charles M. 1956. “A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures.” Journal of Political Economy, 64 (October): 416–24.Google Scholar
Tocqueville Alexis de. [1833] 1969. Democracy in America, trans. George Lawrence, ed. J. P. Mayer. New York: Harper & Row.
Tocqueville Alexis de. [1851] 1998. The Old Regime and the Revolution. trans. Alan Kahan, ed. Francois Furet and Francoise Melonio. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Van Kersbergen Kees, and Bertjan Verbeek. 1994. “The Politics of Subsidiarity in the European Union.” Journal of Common Market Studies 32 (June): 21536.Google Scholar
Van Kersbergen Kees, and Bertjan Verbeek. 2004. “Subsidiarity as a Principle of Governance in the European Union.” Comparative European Politics 2 (August): 14262.Google Scholar
Walzer Michael. 1984. “Liberalism and the Art of Separation.” Political Theory 12 (August): 31530.Google Scholar
Watts Ronald. 1998. “Federalism, Federal Political Systems, and Federations.” Annual Review of Political Science 1 (June): 11737.Google Scholar
Weingast Barry. 1995. “The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 11 (April): 131.Google Scholar
Weinstock Daniel. 1999. “Building Trust in Divided Societies.” Journal of Political Philosophy 7 (September): 287307.Google Scholar
Weinstock Daniel. 2001. “Towards a Normative Theory of Federalism.” International Social Science Journal 53 (March): 758.Google Scholar
Wibbels Erik. 2005. Federalism and the Market: Intergovernmental Conflict in the Developing World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolin Sheldon. 1964. “Foreword.” In William H. Riker, ed., Federalism: Origin, Operation, Significance. New York: Little Brown & Co.
Young Iris Marion. 2005. “Self-determination as Non-domination: Ideals Applied to Palestine Israel.” Ethnicities 5 (June): 13959.Google Scholar