Governmental Centralization occurs when the Federal government controls federal / nation-level matters and concerns, such as Foreign Policy, immigration, and National Defense. Conversely, with Administrative Centralization, the Federal government also controls local government matters across an entire country. This means the Federal Government controls even menial matters such as zoning and permitting, parks and road maintenance, or city planning. The American governing system is based on Governmental Centralization, leaving the management of local matters to state and local governments. Governmental Centralization is a practical, commonsense approach to governing because it limits the Federal government to primarily national-level concerns, these are situations/concerns that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to manage in a fully decentralized model.
For example, the cost and scope of the national defense require the Federal government to effectively fund, manage, and control it. Government Centralization leads to a more limited government because the list of Federal matters can be defined as a finite list of those things for which a federal government must be involved.
Therefore, the almost endless list of local concerns can be deferred to the small, more efficient decentralized local governments, enabling those small groups to self-govern. According to Tocqueville, Self-Government is the core of libertarian republican government. It is the true opposition to the large all-encompassing governments that tend to threaten the rights of the individual. (Tocqueville P.6). The American model of Self government allows for good government because those local people in government are inherently more aware and informed about the issues, desires, and needs of the local citizens.
This notion of self-government enables the people to truly govern themselves more efficiently. During Democratic times, individuals can become complacent It also enables what Tocqueville calls a healthy and mature Individualism within society. This individualism propels people to develop themselves and their circle of influence, independent of government and the masses. In its simplicity, self-government almost perfectly describes the ideals of Americanism and the American model of government. Administrative Centralization Certain interests are common to all parts of a nation, such as the enactment of its general laws and the maintenance of its foreign relations. Other interests are particular only to certain parts of the nation; such as the business concerns of various townships. Other examples include local government handling of roads, voting, control of education, and taxation. When a Federal government attempts to control all aspects of administration across a nation, they do so without possibly being able to understand the particular issues and the impact of their actions across the nation. Tocqueville thought that administrative centralization was bad because it tends to take power from the citizens, eventually causing them to become uninterested in local government or government at all. Political effects of Administrative Decentralization Administrative decentralization is when local Government controls local matters. Local government creates a sense of unity and promotes honor and pride for the community.
This results in the people of local communities working together to solve their own problems, ultimately pushing them to work hard for each other. Tocqueville in Democracy in America stated that no matter how brilliant and skilled a central government might be, it is virtually impossible for that government to properly and efficiently administer all of the complicated aspects required across all localities in a nation. To do so simply exceeds the ability of men. (Tocqueville P.108) Administrative Decentralization empowers the passion for individuality and encourages people to take pride in the ownership of their local concerns and issues. Individualism is when people withdraw into their inner circles and do not care about government at all. Administrative Decentralization encourages active participation by the people and helps reign in the tendency toward Individualism. At the same time, it tamps down the likelihood for governments to grow unbounded, eventually, crippling societies and economies due to the overhead and cost of invasive and often ineffective government. Conversely, these governments based on Administrative Centralization tend to result in people being overly dependent on government and services, dragging everyone down to the same level creating a large struggling class when under other circumstances, they could thrive. Tocqueville describes these extremes in terms of the nature of man, referring to them as the two passions (P.59). The two Passions of equality are pride and envy. Pride is when people want to be self-sufficient and pull themselves up by their own efforts. Envy is finding pleasure when others fail.
Bonus: Why did the anglos succeed in colonizing Texas where the Spanish failed? Consider the following. What effect did the comanches and Apaches have on this? Or What is the small republic argument, Why does the centinal object to a large republic uniting the country? Part of the reason the Spanish were not successful was because of the threat and suffering caused by the Comanches. The set up put in place with the Spanish were camps with churches both run by aristocrats, they would attempt to convert local Indians to Catholicism and then force them to farm the lands. These aristocrats had feudal aristocracy to go home to. The Anglos were more attached to their communities, they had nothing to return to. Whereas the Spanish had an inheritance to go back to, they were not determined to succeed settling in Texas. The Spanish feudal aristocracy caused them to have a lack of inner drive to succeed. For the Anglos, it was a succeed or die. The comanches were known for their skills on horseback (Which they stole from the Spanish). They raided the settlers both Spanish and Anglos, stealing supplies, killing men, and often taking woman and children. The Spanish were unable to match up to the Comanches or even the Apaches on horseback. They failed in trying to change the Comanches way of life, trying to make them adapt to either the European or Anglo way of life. Every 12 settlers would establish a school and a local self-government. The anglos brought over their way of life. They were very literate, almost every settler owned a King James Bible, which they used as textbooks to teach children how to read. Newspapers were very common among these settlers, over 70 were in circulation by 1860.