Discussion Board 7.1

  1. Describe the primary differences in the role of citizens in government, among the federal, confederation, and unitary systems.
  2. Briefly explain how you understand the system of division of power.
  3. How does the federal government shape the actions of state and local governments? Write your answer based on doing a bit of research on how the federal government has influenced the actions of NY state and local governments, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

D.B 7.1 – Justine Lazdina

  1. Describe the primary differences in the role of citizens in government, among the federal, confederation, and unitary systems.

-The role of citizens differs between different forms of government;

In a Federal Government the system divides power between state and central government. This allows the citizens to vote in representatives.

In a Confederation, since most of the power rests within the States and it’s local governments, the citizen has the most power within this system.

In a Unitary System the citizen has the least amount of say, since all of the power is given to the Central Government.

2. Briefly explain how you understand the system of division of power.

-The system of division of power refers to the divide of government powers, by the Constitution using federalism, between the Federal government and individual States. Essentially, whatever powers are not granted to the Federal Government are reserved for the State.

3. How does the federal government shape the actions of state and local governments? Write your answer based on doing a bit of research on how the federal government has influenced the actions of NY state and local governments, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

-The Federal government shapes the actions of the State and Local governments by providing them with grants and mandates.

-During the Covid 19 Pandemic, NYC was one of the first and worst hit places in the world. Since a pandemic of this level is a rare occurrence, there definitely was some confusion between the Federal and State governments in how to handle it. The CDC came out with contradicting information, like recommending against wearing masks to then requiring a mask mandate, and allowing States to decide which protection measures to implement. The Federal government did provide States, along with NY, grants and allowed them to decide on how to spend them. Also, it provided the people with stimulus checks to help ease the blow of this pandemic.


1.Unitary systems: There is only one central government agency, and local autonomous or administrative units are under the unified leadership of the central government.

Federal: The federal and member units have their own constitution and laws, and each has its own state organ system. The power division of the federal and member units is based on the constitution. The power of the Federation is granted by the member units in the Federation.

confederation: The Confederation is not a sovereign country. There is no unified constitution and a centralized and unified system of state organs. Each country has its own independent sovereignty, a central state organ system and a legal system. The decisions of the confederation must be approved by each country to be effective.

2.For the United States, the purpose of the establishment of the government is to protect property rights. Therefore, if the power of the new government is too small, it will not play a role in protecting property rights. If the power of the new government is too great, it will itself be a threat to property rights.Therefore, the representatives who make the constitution are basically inclined to establish a balanced government, which is based on at least three levels: the balance between the central authority, between the central power and the state power, and between the government power and the people’s power. Only in this way can we prevent top-down or bottom-up infringement of property rights.

3. In controlling the COVID-19, the federal government can only give advice to the state government. Therefore, the poor response to the epidemic in the United States is the result of the inaction of the federal government subjectively and the decentralized management of the federal system objectively. Whether the epidemic prevention belongs to federal management or state government management is a question.

Ignacio Salas on the Structure of the U.S. Government

1. The difference comes when the authority given to the government is derived by the people or not, in a Unitary System, the authority is concentrated in the National Government, where the States depend deeply on the first mentioned decisions, having too much power over its citizens, in a Confederation the National Government is very weak, in comparison to the authority that States have, not letting it act freely for international affairs, nevertheless the citizens are involved in a more local level, and last but not least, the federation is a system where there are two layers of government, Federal and States, they are themselves divided into 3 powers (Legislative, Executive and Judicial), nevertheless, sometimes when the powers overlap, the federal level is always the most important, all this authority is given by the citizen at the same amount.

2. The division of power is a way of not letting one branch of the government overcome the other ones, it means there should be always a balance in power, because each division should be independent itself, and have the same amount of authority, thus, helping to keep everything in control.

3. During the COVID-19 pandemic the Federal government acted very disorganized as the executive power was minimizing the effects of the virus and blaming other countries instead of focusing in the people, on the other hand the CDC pushed for a mandatory mask use, talking to the states that to prevent the increase of infections this was a way to attack the problem, in NYC as it is a very populated area, this mandate was applied immediately by local authorities, yet the State authorities to a little longer to act, both State and Local authorities of New York decided to implement a full lockdown, where only essential workers where allowed to work, leaving many others in the financial limbo, this is where by the last week of March 2020 the legislative power passed the CARES act, where unemployed people and closed businesses due to the pandemic could be helped financially, so they could cover their essential needs. Event though this actions where very disorganized, and some States didn’t really care about what the CDC mandates where putting their citizens at risk, without the financial plans that were given many States, New York included, would have been in a very bad situation, and who knows what would have happened to the citizens if this measures were not taken.

Role and Structure of Government

  1. Describe the primary differences in the role of citizens in government, among the federal, confederation, and unitary systems.

In the federal system, there are multiple levels of government (national, subnational), and citizens elect officials at each level. When districts are smaller, citizens in those districts have a greater say than citizens in larger districts. In confederations, citizens are involved at a local level, and the looser overarching level doesn’t have as much power and citizens don’t have as much direct involvement. In unitary systems, the central government is the strongest governing body, so citizens do not have much agency except if involved in central government.

  1. Briefly explain how you understand the system of division of power.

The government is broken into two levels; national and subnational. In the US, this looks like federal, state, and smaller local governing bodies. This requires a clear definition of each level of government’s jurisdiction, as well as the cooperation between levels. This is accomplished with a strong national constitution which cannot be easily overturned. To further divide power, each level of government is divided into executive, judicial, and legislative branches. Although, the federal government’s legislative branch often has the final say. Lastly, subnational regions are represented at the federal level, so local interests do influence federal policy.

  1. How does the federal government shape the actions of state and local governments? Write your answer based on doing a bit of research on how the federal government has influenced the actions of NY state and local governments, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government can advise but not require specific action from state and local governments unless the specific issue falls under their jurisdiction. For example, the CDC is a federal agency. CDC mask mandates were advice for all states, but many states did not follow the CDC’s advice, and created different local rules because it was within their jurisdiction to do so. At the same time, New York has been hesitant to pull back its mask mandates, despite the fact that the CDC guidelines were loosened, which is within their jurisdiction as a state within a federal system.

U.S Government Structure

1.Describe the primary differences in the role of citizens in government, among the federal, confederation, and unitary systems.

On the one hand, a federal governmental system characterizes itself for having two relatively autonomous levels of government. Under this system both levels are elected by the people and each level has different functions assigned. In the U.S federal system, the federal government is led by the president and the congress. In fact, all of these representatives are elected by voters across the country. Conversely, the subnational part of the government falls under the discretion of all fifty states, which are led by a governor and the state legislature. Similarly, in a confederation the authority is decentralized and the authority is concentrated in states. However, in a unitary system subnational governments dependent on the national government, where the authority is concentrated in a central government.

2.Briefly explain how you understand the system of division of power.

In a governmental system with divisions of power the authority of the government is equally allocated in different institutions. For example, in a Federation like the United States the power or authority is equally distributed between the legislative, judicial and executive institutions. In addition, in a system with a division of power each level of government is somewhat independent from the others. Still, they are constantly interacting with each other. They rely on each other to succeed. In conclusion, the system with a division of power does not mean that it’s a broken or divided government. On the contrary, it’s breaking down in parts the same authority to strengthen each other and work together as a whole powerful system.

How does the federal government shape the actions of state and local governments?

According to Price and Myers, “Many local governments have created more specific guidance on COVID-19 responses and implemented restrictions when the state and federal governments have remained silent, or have explicitly left certain decisions up to local governments.” In other words, municipalities created their own specific guidelines when the federal and state governments did not create legislations to regulate the crisis that the Covid-19 pandemic caused. However, federal funding is essential for the States. Especially in a state like New York where the reduction of consumer spending caused an estimated loss of 22% of sales tax collections over the course of the year [2020] (Price and Myers, 3). Then a way in which the federal government has shaped the actions of NY state has been by the approval of “The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act ” which  allocated $150 billion in funding for state governments, and was then apportioned to municipalities. This funding allowed the State of New York to cover necessary expenses caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency as well as funding for Municipal Liquidity (Price and Myers, 4) This is an example of how the decisions of the federal government can strongly affect the action that a State takes towards the well-being of its citizens. Without the federal funding New York could have had a longer and more challenging recovery from the financial hardships that this pandemic has caused.

Source: https://www.loc.gov/law/help/covid-19-responses/local-government-response.pdf


Describe the primary differences in the role of citizens in government among the federal, confederation, and unitary systems.

A federal government is a system of dividing up power between a central national government and local state governments that are connected to one another by the national government. In the federal system, citizens vote. In the confederation system, an alliance or league is an association made up of several parties or groups. A unitary state, often known as a unitary government, is a form of government. A single central authority has complete control over all of the country’s political subdivisions, meaning the government is making the decisions.

Briefly explain how you understand the system of division of power.

The division of power system is divided into three branches: the executive power, the legislative power, and the judicial power. These three branches work together to run the country and set guidelines for us all to live by.

How does the federal government shape the actions of state and local governments? Write your answer based on doing a bit of research on how the federal government has influenced the actions of NY state and local governments, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government took minimal actions in New York City during the Covid-19, as they didn’t think this virus was harmful. I notice how the covid cases kept rising. However, the federal government provided the people with a few checks.

Discussion post- Jasmin Amigon

  1. In the federal system, citizens vote for representatives; each citizen of individual districts has a lot of power over that district. In a Confederation system, all political power rests with the individual states and very little with the central/national government. Furthermore, citizens will have more power because this system relies on its local governments. Finally, In a unitary government, political power rests with one central/national government. Which allows citizens’ democratic decisions to have a greater impact.
  1. In the United States, the federal system of government divides powers and responsibilities between the national and state governments. The political authority of the state is divided into legislative, executive, and judicial powers. These are branches that divide powers and each has independent powers and responsibilities which make it possible to avoid having conflicts between each branch. The 3 branches prevent concentration of power and are there to keep checks and balances so no one branch becomes too powerful.

3.Federal governments play a big role in shaping the actions of state and local governments. Even though the states have a say in a large variety of laws and rules the federal government shapes how the nation is governed. The federal government can influence the states through the distribution of grants, incentives, and aid. The federal government has made legislation to stimulate the economy and further the progress of robust public health response. It has also put policies into effect through agency regulations and temporary rules to utilize the funding provided by Congress. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Local governments have also responded within the structure of power that is delegated to them by their state governments. The local governments focused their emergency powers on policies to protect their citizens and support their municipal economies.

DB 7.1/ Government Systems

  1. The primary differences in each of the three government systems are determined by sources of governmental power. Federal splits the political powers between either each particular state-based governments and the nation’s government (Albany in NY vs Washington, D.C. e.g.). In the federal government, powers on a national and international level, such as regulating commerce between states and wars. State governments can only regulate issues such as taxes, healthcare, and traffic laws etc. within their state only. Secondly, confederations means the power is distributed equally among different states or groups. These different groups/states are working together sharing a common purpose (ex. similar military or economical standards). Lastly, we have the unitary government. With a unitary system, all political authority lies in one central government, absent of state government or alliance groups (confederations). The states would only follow governmental law set by this central group. 
  2. I understand the division of power as being a way for governments to regulate themselves. Division of power, for example, would the three branches of government: legislative, executive, judiciary. Each branch of  government has power to regulate the other. This keeps each brand accountable by creating a sort of ‘checks and balance’ system between the three.
  3. Pertaining to Covid-19, the federal government shaped the actions of state and local governments by, I would say, setting public health safety standards (CDC). This means the mask mandate, requirement to monitor people’s body temperature to grant access to closed spaces. Also, protecting workers with paid sick time for having to quarantine for contracting the virus. If a person got sick from covid and needed to take time off work, they will get paid for the two weeks they are gone.  Lastly, providing stimulus checks for taxpayers nationwide. The federal government issued between 2020 and 2021, three stimulus checks to help assist the nation’s working taxpayers earning a certain amount of income with additional bills and personal needs.

Nikita Vasilyev – D.B. 7.1

  1. The primary difference between federal, unitary and confederation systems is that a federal system presupposes two layers of government (state and federal) with different functions. Both governments are elected by the people and derive their authority from the public, therefore, making citizens directly involved in politics and socio-economic issues. Whereas a unitary system relies on a strong national government and a confederate system provides for concentration of power in the states, a federation rests on the division of power between the states and the federal government, both elected by the people.
  2. The system of division of power is designed to check and balance three branches of the government: the legislative (the Congress, comprised of the Senate and the House), the executive (the President), and judicial (the courts). The three branches are interdependent and work in unison to provide for a smooth operation and to ensure that none of the branches get too powerful: the president could veto Congress’ decision, the Congress approves the Supreme Court judges, who, in turn, check the power of Congress to enact laws or balances the executive power. 
  3. Being a transport and cultural hub, New York City was one of the first cities in the U.S. to experience the disastrous effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. While federal government was minimizing the threat of the disease, provided no testing equipment and advised no enforcement of social distancing rules, people in New York City were getting sick and dying from the virus. The delayed response in containing and/or isolating the sick was largely due to CDC’s lack of interest in investigating the matter. The federal government did not see the threat but preferred to view it as a waste of resources – later, when it was obvious that the Covid-19 pandemic has a grip on New York City, the CDC was issuing memos that did nothing but confuse the people who believed that the virus could be spreading through surfaces. The state authorities, lacking proper resources and power, spend numerous days infighting or arguing with the federal government over the severity of the situation, delaying the response further and showing us how the actions of the federal authorities have a direct effect on the state.

Discussion Board 7.1 Hongtao Fu

1.Difference between federal, confederation and unitary systems lies in the hierarchy of power distribution. Federalism gives up a large number of powers of individual states to the federal government. It aims to create a strong union that takes on the responsibility of homeland security, unified currency, and the power to challenge states’ laws. States have independence but compare to the confederation system is limited. The Confederation system puts more power into the hand of each state. Powers that I listed before could end up fall into states. The unitary system takes an aggressive approach that aims to create a strong centralized government in return weaken the idea of two-level government.

2.By dividing power into different branches, each branches take some power but also restricted by other branches. It achieves a balance of power. The idea is to use this balance of power to eliminate the chance of having too strong of a government that end up dominating its citizens. In detail, Legislative branch represent citizens, it has the power to make laws and impeach a president. The Judicial branch is the court, it interpret laws and rules them. The head of Executive branch is the president. It is responsible to carry out the law, president is also the head of the military.

3.One outstanding interaction between the federal and state government is grants. According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury website, the federal government is giving out multiple funds to the local government to help relief COVID-19. CORONAVIRUS STATE AND LOCAL FISCAL RECOVERY FUNDS, Capital Projects Fund, Homeowner Assistance Fund, Emergency Rental Assistance Program etc. Adding up to over four hundreds of billions of dollars in assistance.