Federal vs National
Most democracies in the world have governments at both the central level as well as state level. This is ostensibly done to streamline administration and divide powers between the central and state governments. There are either states or provinces in most countries, and the central government is either called national government or a federal government. Though most of the functions of federal governments are similar to those of national governments, some subtle differences mostly stem from the relations and power sharing between the government at the centre and the states. These differences will be highlighted in this article.
The constitution makers of US envisioned a federation of states and a federal government to safeguard the freedoms and interests of the states. This system of governance is different from the system of national or central government that usurps some of the powers and freedoms of state governments. In a federation, the federal government is required to look after only the issues pertaining to interstate or multi state, and not necessarily poke into the affairs of a particular state. Federal government is to conduct relations with other nations of the world and follow international treaties while maintaining the currency and a standing army to save the interests of the nation. It also has a department of Homeland Security to provide protection to all states. In most other aspects, states are free to act on their own will with a duly elected government at the state level.
Tenth amendment to the constitution has made things very clear in respect to conditions, where the constitution does not allow the federal government takes any step and at the same time prohibits the state government doing anything. In such a situation, the state government reserves the right to act.
National system of governance is adopted in many countries where though there is power sharing with clear cut demarcation of powers in subjects in the central list, subjects in state list, and subjects in the concurrent list where both national, as well as, state governments can pass laws. However, whenever there is any confusion, the central law prevails over the state law. In countries with a national government, the parliament makes laws that are applicable to whole of the country, and thereby apply to all people living in individual states.
What is the difference between Federal and National?
• National government is the highest level of governance with the government at the central level having direct control over the freedom of the people living in the states; though, all this is in good faith of both parties.
• Federal government gives far more autonomy to states that make up the federation than a union with a national government with states.
• In a federation, the federal government passes acts that operate states and not the people living in them.
• The national government is the government of the whole nation while a federal government is a government of the states that are independent and sovereign.