Founding Fathers
Politics and Government
Articles of Confederation

Why did the Founding Fathers chose federalism instead of either a confederation or a unitary system in 1787?


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Federalism is known as State's Rights. It embodies the concept put in the Constitution by the founding fathers that each state was to be a strong and definite political body in and of itself. The states were to retain most authority to govern their own affairs without interference from the federal government. While we think of our modern America as a democracy, that was not the original intent of the founders. Their concept was for the states to be a group united together under the idea of a free republic. After the Constitutional Convention, when Benjamin Franklin was asked by a citizen what they had been given, he replied, "A republic, if you can keep it". A republic would have less of a central government with more power residing in the individual states.