Federalism, Individual Liberty, and State


This conference discussed the strong theoretical and historical case that federalism can protect individual freedom by providing additional checks and balances on government power, increasing accountability, and allowing for government diversity and experimentation. However, is federalism, which was largely an eighteenth-century intellectual development, still useful in the twenty-first century when it comes to protecting liberty, particularly in the developing world? The discussion was held in Spanish.


Conference Readings

Poirier, Johanne, Cheryl Saunders, and John Kincaid, eds. Intergovernmental Relations in Federal Systems: Comparative Structures and Dynamics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Althusius, Johannes. Politica. Translated by Frederick S. Carney. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995.

Buchanan, James M. The Collected Works of James M. Buchanan, Volume 18: Federalism, Liberty, and the Law. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2001.

Carmagnani, Marcello. Federalismos latinoamericanos: México, Brasil, Argentina. Mexico City: El Colegio de México/Fideicomiso Historia de las Américas/Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1993.

Hamilton, Alexander, James Madison, and John Jay. The Federalist: The Gideon Edition. Edited by George W. Carey and James McClellan. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2001.

Hume, David. The Best of the OLL No. 70: David Hume, “Idea of a Perfect Commonwealth” (1777). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 2016.

Laski, Harold. “The Obsolescence of Federalism.” The New Republic (May 1939): 367-369.

Mecham, J. Lloyd. “The Origins of Federalism in Mexico.” The Hispanic American Historical Review 18, no. 2 (May 1938): 164-182.

Treisman, Daniel. The Architecture of Government: Rethinking Political Decentralization. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Weingast, Barry R. “The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development.” Journal of Law, Economics & Organization 11, no. 1 (April 1995): 1-31.