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From the dawn of the American Republic, federalism represented a unique compromise and solution to the problem of the decentralization of power. Federalism is the division of government into two separate entities. These two branches are the Federal Government, and various state governments. Federal Government and its holding of a large amount of power was an ideal sought after by founding father Alexander Hamilton, as well as many contemporary figures, including F.D.R. The opposing force vying for small government and state power was led by Thomas Jefferson. An incarnation of this ideal is reinforced by modern conservatives and Libertarians, such as Ron Paul. Local government refers to a legislative body inclusive under state government. Local Government has a number of different breakdowns, which consist of any legislative body smaller then a state government.
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One form of local government is that of a county government. States are divided into counties and each county has one or more ruling legislative bodies that are considered part of local government. Maryland, for instance has 23 counties. Maryland would be run firstly by the federal government, then through the state government as well as the numerous county governments. The next smaller division inside of these county governments are municipal governments. These are any small area of population that a small ruling legislative body is in charge of. The size of a municipality can vary from that of less then 100 people, to a large as 8 million, as seen in New York City. The key difference in power division on this scale is, although federalism defines a clear balance between federal and state, municipalities are only given the powers the state has granted them. Generally, cities, towns, villages, and more centralized populated areas are those who have municipal governments. These governments have a variety of services, which they must provide for their citizens. These range from Parks and Recreation all the way to both the Fire and Police departments. Despite which type you discuss, all of these lesser then state governments are still local governments.