Theories of federalism are explored in detail, with particular attention to the work of Dahl, Lijphart, Riker, and Wheare. Issues addressed include anti‐majoritarianism, asymmetry, centralization, the role of the judiciary and the rule of law, nullification, over‐representation, secessionism, self‐determination, sovereignty, and subsidiarity. A wide variety of federal systems are possible under the rubric of federalism (including confederation, federacy, etc.) and these are explored. Different constitutional and institutional choices have different effects (and paradoxes) for democracy, law, and sovereignty in federal states. The role of ethnic, linguistic, religious, and other social cleavages on the development and stability of federal systems is addressed. Empirical analysis of federalism in Brazil, Spain, Yugoslavia, the United States, and other state systems is provided. The theory of ‘non‐democratic federalism’ is disputed.
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