How strong should the national government be?    

A national government should be strong enough to coordinate effective and unified national responses to events while offering regional governments the autonomy and flexibility to nuance their own responses to meet local needs.

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In a US context, this is a perennial question and contest, with push and pull between states' rights and federalism.

If we pull the camera back, however, to a more generalized consideration of the issue, a strong national government is important to growing a powerful state, but taken to an extreme, can lead to revolution. An important example is France in the late seventeenth century up through 1789. Louis XIV so strengthened the national government and so weakened the system of local government that for more than a hundred years, he and and monarchial successors were able to rule without calling a parliament or getting any input from all put a small group of advisors.

When Louis XVI's debt situation finally got so bad in 1789 that he did convene an assembly, events went out of control: for far too long, the central power had been cut off from the needs of the people, both middle and lower class, and had bottlenecked change so completely that when the possibility came, it led not to...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on July 28, 2020