Federalism

Federalism

Overview

Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 in which sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 is constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

ally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system based on democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

.
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Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant (Latin: foedus, covenant) with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 in which sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 is constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

ally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system based on democratic rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation
Federation
A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

. Proponents are often called federalist
Federalist
The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. Also, it may refer to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation...

s.

In Europe, "federalist" is sometimes used to describe those who favor a common federal government, with distributed power at regional, national and supranational levels. Most European federalists want this development to continue within the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. European federalism originated in post-war Europe; one of the more important initiatives was Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

's speech in Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 in 1946.

In Canada, federalism typically implies opposition to sovereigntist
Sovereigntist
Sovereigntism may refer to:*Souverainism, a doctrine which supports acquiring or preserving political independence of a nation or a region*Quebec sovereignty movement...

 movements (most commonly Quebec separatism).

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, advocates of a very small federal government
Federal government
The federal government is the common government of a federation. The structure of federal governments varies from institution to institution. Based on a broad definition of a basic federal political system, there are two or more levels of government that exist within an established territory and...

 and stronger state governments are those that generally favor confederation
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

, often related to early "anti-federalist
Anti-Federalism
Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority...

s" and later the Confederacy in the United States
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

.

Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, Australia, Brazil, India and Malaysia among others, are also federal countries.

Federalism may encompass as few as two or three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium or Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

. In general, two extremes of federalism can be distinguished: at one extreme, the federal state being almost completely unitary, while at the other extreme, a federal state in name only, being a confederal union in actuality.

In 1999, the Government of Canada
Government of Canada
The Government of Canada, formally Her Majesty's Government, is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council...

 established the Forum of Federations
Forum of Federations
The Forum of Federations is an international organization based in Ottawa, Canada. The Forum and its partners form a global network on federalism. It brings together elected officials, civil servants and experts in federalism from about 20 countries to learn from each other...

 as an international network for exchange of best practices among federal and federalizing countries. Headquartered in Ottawa
Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, the second largest city in the Province of Ontario, and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario...

, the Forum of Federations partner governments include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, India, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

.

Ecclesiastic and theological federalism also exist within some Christian denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s.

Federalism in Europe


Several federal systems exist in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, such as in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Germany
Federalism in Germany
Federalism in Germany is made of the states of Germany and the federal government. Unlike in many other federations, in Germany the central government is very strong.- History :German federalism dates back to the founding of the German Empire in 1871...

, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. Germany and the EU are the only examples in the world where members of the federal upper houses, (the Bundesrat
Bundesrat of Germany
The German Bundesrat is a legislative body that represents the sixteen Länder of Germany at the federal level...

 and the Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

), are neither elected nor appointed but are composed of the governments of their constituents.

In Germany, federalism was abolished only during Nazism
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 (1933–1945) and in East Germany during most of its existence (1952–1990). Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 viewed federalism as an obstacle to his goals. As he wrote in Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

, "National Socialism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 must claim the right to impose its principles on the whole German nation, without regard to what were hitherto the confines of federal states." Therefore the idea of a strong, centralized government has negative associations in German politics, although prior to 1919
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

 or 1933, many social democrats and liberals favored centralization
Centralization
Centralisation, or centralization , is the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning and decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location and/or group....

 in principle.

In Britain, federalism has long been proposed as a solution to the "Irish Problem", and more lately, the "West Lothian question
West Lothian question
The West Lothian question refers to issues concerning the ability of Members of Parliament from constituencies in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to vote on matters that only affect people living in England...

".

European Union


Following the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, several movements began advocating a European federation, such as the Union of European Federalists or the European Movement
European Movement
The European Movement International is a lobbying association that coordinates the efforts of associations and national councils with the goal of promoting European integration, and disseminating information about it.-History:...

, founded in 1948. Those organizations were influential in the European unification process, but never in a decisive way.

Although federalism was mentioned both in the drafts of the Maastricht treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 and the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

, it was never accepted by the representatives of the member countries. The strongest advocates of European federalism have been Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 while those historically most strongly opposed have been the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

; while other countries that have never campaigned specifically for a particular means of governance in Europe are considered as federalists. Some would consider this to be the case with states such as Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, and Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

. It is also remarkable that in recent times the French government has become increasingly pro-European Union, while countries like the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 have taken on the roles of primary opponents to a stronger EU.

Australia




On January 1, 1901 the Australian nation
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 emerged as a federation. The Australian continent
Australia (continent)
Australia is the world's smallest continent, comprising the mainland of Australia and proximate islands including Tasmania, New Guinea, the Aru Islands and Raja Ampat Islands...

 was colonized by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 in 1788, who subsequently established six self-governing colonies there. In the 1890s the government's of these colonies all held referendums on becoming a unified, independent nation. When all the colonies voted in favour of federation, the Federation of Australia
Federation of Australia
The Federation of Australia was the process by which the six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia formed one nation...

 commenced, resulting in the establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. The model of Australian federalism adheres closely to the original model of the United States of America, though through a Westminster system
Westminster System
The Westminster system is a democratic parliamentary system of government modelled after the politics of the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of Westminster, the seat of the Parliament of the United Kingdom....

.

Brazil



In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, the fall of the monarchy in 1889 by a military coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

led to the rise of the presidential system
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

, headed by Deodoro da Fonseca
Deodoro da Fonseca
Marshal Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca became the first president of the Republic of Brazil after heading a military coup that deposed Emperor Pedro II and proclaimed the Republic in 1889, disestablishing the Empire of Brazil.- Biography :...

. Aided by well-known jurist Ruy Barbosa
Ruy Barbosa
Ruy Barbosa de Oliveira was a Brazilian writer, jurist, and politician.Born in Salvador da Bahia, he was a federal representative, senator, Minister of Finance and diplomat. For his distinguished participation in the Hague Peace Conference of 1907, he earned the nickname "Eagle of the Hague"...

, Fonseca established federalism in Brazil by decree, but this system of government would be confirmed by every Brazilian constitution
Constitution of Brazil
During its independent political history, Brazil has had seven constitutions. The most recent was ratified on October 5, 1988.-Imperial Constitution :Background...

 since 1891, although some of them would distort some of the federalist principles. The 1937 Constitution, for example, granted the federal government the authority to appoint State Governors (called interventors
Federal intervention
Federal intervention is an attribution of the federal government of Argentina, by which it takes control of a province in certain extreme cases. Intervention is declared by the President with the assent of the National Congress...

) at will, thus centralizing power in the hands of President Getúlio Vargas
Getúlio Vargas
Getúlio Dornelles Vargas served as President of Brazil, first as dictator, from 1930 to 1945, and in a democratically elected term from 1951 until his suicide in 1954. Vargas led Brazil for 18 years, the most for any President, and second in Brazilian history to Emperor Pedro II...

. Brazil also uses the Fonseca system to regulate interstate trade.

The Brazilian Constitution of 1988
Constitution of Brazil
During its independent political history, Brazil has had seven constitutions. The most recent was ratified on October 5, 1988.-Imperial Constitution :Background...

 introduced a new component to the ideas of federalism, including municipalities as federal entities. Brazilian municipalities are now invested with some of the traditional powers usually granted to states in federalism, and although they are not allowed to have a Constitution, they are structured by an organic law
Organic law
An organic or fundamental law is a law or system of laws which forms the foundation of a government, corporation or other organization's body of rules. A constitution is a particular form of organic law for a sovereign state....

.

Canada




In Canada, the system of federalism is described by the division of powers between the federal parliament
Parliament of Canada
The Parliament of Canada is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian monarch—represented by her governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and...

 and the country's provincial
Provinces and territories of Canada
The provinces and territories of Canada combine to make up the world's second-largest country by area. There are ten provinces and three territories...

 governments. Under the Constitution Act
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 , is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system...

 (previously known as the British North America Act) of 1867, specific powers of legislation are allotted. Section 91 of the constitution gives rise to federal authority for legislation, whereas section 92 gives rise to provincial powers.

For matters not directly dealt with in the constitution, the federal government retains residual powers; however, conflict between the two levels of government, relating to which level has legislative jurisdiction over various matters, has been a longstanding and evolving issue. Areas of contest include legislation with respect to regulation of the economy, taxation, and natural resources.

Venezuela


The Federal War
Federal War
The Federal War - also known as the Great War or the Five Year War - was a civil war in Venezuela between the conservative party and the liberal party about the monopoly of the conservatives of the land and the government positions, and their reluctance to grant any reforms. This drove the...

 ended in 1863 with the signing of the Treaty of Coche by both the centralist government of the time and the Federal Forces. The United States of Venezuela were subsequently incorporated under a "Federation of Sovereign States" upon principles borrowed from the Articles of Confederation
Articles of Confederation
The Articles of Confederation, formally the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, was an agreement among the 13 founding states that legally established the United States of America as a confederation of sovereign states and served as its first constitution...

 of the United States of America. In this Federation, each State had a "President" of its own that controlled almost every issue, even the creation of "State Armies," while the Federal Army was required to obtain presidential permission to enter any given state.

However, more than 140 years later, the original system has gradually evolved into a quasi-centralist form of government. While the 1999 Constitution
Constitution of Venezuela
||The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela is the current and twenty-sixth constitution of Venezuela. It was drafted in mid-1999 by a constitutional assembly that had been created by popular referendum. Adopted in December 1999, it replaced the 1961 Constitution - the longest...

 still defines Venezuela as a Federal Republic, it abolished the Senate, transferred competences of the States to the Federal Government and granted the President of the Republic vast powers to intervene in the States and Municipalities.

India



The Government of India
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

 (referred to as the Union Government) was established by the Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

, and is the governing authority of a federal union of 28 states and 7 union territories
States and territories of India
India is a federal union of states comprising twenty-eight states and seven union territories. The states and territories are further subdivided into districts and so on.-List of states and territories:...

.

The governance of India is based on a tiered system, where in the Constitution of India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

 appropriates the subjects on which each tier of government has executive powers. The Constitution uses the Seventh Schedule to delimit the subjects under three categories, namely the Union list, the State list and the Concurrent list.

Asymmetric federalism


A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that unlike many other forms of federalism, it is asymmetric. Article 370
Article 370
Article 370 of the Indian constitution grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.-Text of Article 370:In view of its importance the text of the article 370 is reproduced below:Article 370 of the Constitution of India...

 makes special provisions for the state of Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of India. It is situated mostly in the Himalayan mountains. Jammu and Kashmir shares a border with the states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south and internationally with the People's Republic of China to the north and east and the...

 as per its Instrument of Accession
Instrument of Accession (Jammu and Kashmir)
The Instrument of Accession is a legal document executed by Maharajah Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947...

. Article 371 makes special provisions for the states of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India, located in the far northeast. It borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Burma in the east, Bhutan in the west, and the People's Republic of China in the north. The majority of the territory is claimed by...

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, Mizoram
Mizoram
Mizoram is one of the Seven Sister States in North Eastern India, sharing borders with the states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur and with the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Burma. Mizoram became the 23rd state of India on 20 February 1987. Its capital is Aizawl. Mizoram is located in the...

, Manipur
Manipur
Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Burma to the east. It covers an area of...

, Nagaland
Nagaland
Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur...

 and Sikkim
Sikkim
Sikkim is a landlocked Indian state nestled in the Himalayan mountains...

 as per their accession or state-hood deals. Also one more aspect of Indian federalism is system of President's Rule
President's rule
President's rule is the term used in India when a state legislature is dissolved or suspended and the state is placed under direct federal rule...

 in which the central government (through its appointed Governor) takes control of state's administration for certain months when no party can form a government in the state or there is violent disturbance in the state.

Coalition politics


Although the Constitution does not say so, India is now a multilingual federation. India has a multi-party system, with political allegiances frequently based on linguistic, regional and caste identities, necessitating coalition politics, especially at the Union
Government of India
The Government of India, officially known as the Union Government, and also known as the Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of the union of 28 states and seven union territories, collectively called the Republic of India...

 level.Coalition politics have created a balance in the legislatures.

Russian Federation



The post-Imperial nature of Russian subdivision of government changed towards a generally autonomous model which began with the establishment of the USSR (of which Russia was governed as part). It was liberalized in the aftermath of the Soviet Union, with the reforms under Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin was the first President of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.Originally a supporter of Mikhail Gorbachev, Yeltsin emerged under the perestroika reforms as one of Gorbachev's most powerful political opponents. On 29 May 1990 he was elected the chairman of...

 preserving much of the Soviet structure while applying increasingly liberal reforms to the governance of the constituent republics and subjects (while also coming into conflict with Chechen secessionist rebels during the Chechen War
Chechen War
There have been two Chechen Wars:* 1940–1944 insurgency in Chechnya* First Chechen War, 1994–1996* Second Chechen War, 1999–2009...

). Some of the reforms under Yeltsin were scaled back by Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

.

All of Russia's subdivisional entities are known as subjects, with some smaller entities, such as the republics enjoying more autonomy than other subjects on account of having an extant presence of a culturally non-Russian ethnic minority.

United States


Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

. American government has evolved from a system of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. In "Federalist No. 46," James Madison asserted that the states and national government "are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers." Alexander Hamilton, writing in "Federalist No. 28," suggested that both levels of government would exercise authority to the citizens' benefit: "If their [the peoples'] rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress." (1)

Because the states were preexisting political entities, the U.S. Constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one section. However, it contains numerous mentions of the rights and responsibilities of state governments and state officials vis-à-vis the federal government. The federal government has certain express powers (also called enumerated powers
Enumerated powers
The enumerated powers are a list of items found in Article I, section 8 of the US Constitution that set forth the authoritative capacity of the United States Congress. In summary, Congress may exercise the powers that the Constitution grants it, subject to explicit restrictions in the Bill of...

) which are powers spelled out in the Constitution, including the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law "necessary and proper" for the execution of its express powers. Powers that the Constitution does not delegate to the federal government or forbid to the states—the reserved powers
Reserve power
In a parliamentary or semi-presidential system of government, a reserve power is a power that may be exercised by the head of state without the approval of another branch of the government. Unlike a presidential system of government, the head of state is generally constrained by the cabinet or the...

—are reserved to the people or the states. The power delegated to the federal government was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland
McCulloch v. Maryland, , was a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States. The state of Maryland had attempted to impede operation of a branch of the Second Bank of the United States by imposing a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland...

 (1819), amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, and by some later amendments—as well as the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates of the federal government.

The Federalist party of the United States was dissolved in 1824. They were heavily opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, which included powerful figures such as Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed that:

a) The Legislative had too much power (mainly because of the Necessary and Proper Clause) and that they were unchecked.

b) The Executive branch had too much power, and that there was no check on him. A dictator would arise.

c) A bill of rights should be coupled with the constitution to prevent a dictator (then believed to eventually be the president) from exploiting citizens. The federalists, on the other hand, argued that it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be decided by the judicial system of courts.

Decades after the Civil War, the federal government increased greatly in size and influence, in terms of its influence on everyday life and its size relative to the state governments. There are several reasons for this, including the need to regulate businesses and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in State of Minnesota v. Northern Securities Company.

Many people believe that the federal government has grown beyond the bounds permitted by the express powers. From 1938 until 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 did not invalidate any federal statute as exceeding Congress' power under the Commerce Clause for over fifty years until United States v. Lopez
United States v. Lopez
United States v. Alfonso Lopez, Jr., was the first United States Supreme Court case since the New Deal to set limits to Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.-Background:...

overturned the power of the Federal government under the Commerce Clause (see also, challenging the Gun-Free School Zones Act). However, most actions by the federal government can find some legal support among the express powers, such as the Commerce Clause
Commerce Clause
The Commerce Clause is an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution . The clause states that the United States Congress shall have power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes." Courts and commentators have tended to...

. The Commerce Clause is used by Congress to justify certain federal laws, but its applicability has been narrowed by the Supreme Court in recent years. For example, the Supreme Court rejected the Gun-Free School Zones Act in the aforementioned Lopez decision, and they also rejected the civil remedy portion of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 in the United States v. Morrison
United States v. Morrison
United States v. Morrison, is a United States Supreme Court decision which held that parts of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 were unconstitutional because they exceeded congressional power under the Commerce Clause and under section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.-...

decision. Recently, the Commerce Clause was interpreted to include marijuana laws in the Gonzales v. Raich
Gonzales v. Raich
Gonzales v. Raich , 545 U.S. 1 , was a decision by the United States Supreme Court ruling that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, the United States Congress may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal...

decision.

Dual federalism
Dual federalism
Dual federalism, a legal theory which has prevailed in the United States since 1787, is the belief that the United States consists of two separate and co-sovereign branches of government. This form of government works on the principle that the national and state governments are split into their own...

 holds that the federal government and the state governments are co-equals, each sovereign. In this theory, parts of the Constitution are interpreted narrowly, such as the Tenth Amendment
Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791...

, the Supremacy Clause, the Necessary and Proper Clause, and the Commerce Clause. Under this narrow interpretation, the federal government has jurisdiction only if the Constitution clearly grants such. In this case, there is a large group of powers belonging to the states or the people, and the federal government is limited to only those powers explicitly listed in the Constitution.

However, since the Civil War Era, the national courts often interpret the federal government as the final judge of its own powers under dual federalism. The establishment of Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 governments (which are separate and distinct
Indian Country
Indian country is a term used to describe the many self-governing Native American communities throughout the United States. This usage is reflected in many places, both legal and colloquial...

 from state and federal government) exercising limited powers of sovereignty
Tribal sovereignty
Tribal sovereignty in the United States refers to the inherent authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves within the borders of the United States of America. The federal government recognizes tribal nations as "domestic dependent nations" and has established a number of laws attempting to...

, has given rise to the concept of "bi-federalism."

Belgium


Main articles: Belgian federal government
Belgian federal government
The Cabinet of Belgium is the executive branch of the Belgian federal government, consisting of ministers and secretaries of state drawn from the political parties which form the governing coalition. Formally, the ministers are appointed by the King...

, Belgian federal parliament
Belgian Federal Parliament
The Belgian Federal Parliament is a bicameral parliament. It consists of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate . It sits in the Palace of the Nation .- Chamber of Representatives :...

 and Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium


Federalism in the Kingdom of Belgium is an evolving system. Belgian federalism reflects both the linguistic communities
Languages of Belgium
The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well.-Dutch:...

 (French
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 and Dutch
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

, and to a lesser extent German
German-speaking Community of Belgium
The German-speaking Community of Belgium is one of the three federal communities of Belgium. Covering an area of 854 km² within the province of Liège in Wallonia, it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of the so-called East Cantons...

) and the economic regions (Brussels, Flanders
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

 and Wallonia). These correspond to the language areas in Belgium. Although officially there are three language areas, for all practical purposes only two languages are relevant on the federal level, Dutch and French:
  • Brussels
    Brussels
    Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

     is officially a bilingual area, but it has a French-speaking majority
    Frenchification of Brussels
    The Frenchification of Brussels is the transformation of Brussels, Belgium, from a Dutch-speaking city to one that is bilingual or even multilingual, with French as both the majority language and lingua franca...

    .
  • Flanders
    Flanders
    Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

     is the region associated with the Belgium's Dutch
    Dutch language
    Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

    -speaking majority, i.e. the Flemish Community
    Flemish Community
    The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

    .
  • Due to its relatively small size (approximately one percent) the German-speaking Community of Belgium does not have much influence on national politics.
  • Wallonia is a French-speaking area, except for the East Cantons. French is the second most spoken first language in Belgium, following Dutch. Within the French-speaking Community of Belgium, there is a geographical and political distinction between Wallonia and Brussels for historical and sociological reasons.


On one hand, this means that the Belgian political landscape, generally speaking, consists of only two components: the Dutch-speaking population represented by Dutch-language political parties, and the majority populations of Wallonia and Brussels, represented by their French-speaking parties. The Brussels region emerges as a third component. This specific dual form of federalism, with the special position of Brussels, consequentially has a number of political issues—even minor ones—that are being fought out over the Dutch/French-language political division. With such issues, a final decision is possible only in the form of a compromise. This tendency gives this dual federalism model a number of traits that generally are ascribed to confederalism
Confederation
A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

, and makes the future of Belgian federalism contentious.

On the other hand, Belgian federalism is federated with three components. An affirmative resolution concerning Brussels' place in the federal system passed in the parliaments of Wallonia and Brussels. These resolutions passed against the desires of Dutch-speaking parties, who are generally in favour of a federal system with two components (i.e. the Dutch and French Communities of Belgium). However, the Flemish representatives in the Parliament of the Brussels Capital-Region voted in favour of the Brussels resolution, with the exception of one party
Vlaams Belang
Vlaams Belang is a Belgian far-right political party in the Flemish Region and Brussels that advocates the independence of Flanders and strict limits on immigration, whereby immigrants would be obliged to adopt Flemish culture and language...

. The chairman of the Walloon Parliament
Walloon Parliament
The Walloon Parliament , formerly the Walloon Regional Council , is the Parliament of the Walloon Region, commonly called Wallonia, one of the self-governing Regions of Belgium with Flanders and the Brussels-Capital Region...

 stated on July 17, 2008 that, "Brussels would take an attitude". Brussels' parliament passed the resolution on July 18, 2008:
The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region  approves with great majority a resolution claiming the presence of Brussels itself at the negotiations of the reformation of the Belgian State. July 18, 2008


This aspect of Belgian federalism helps to explain the difficulties of partition
Partition of Belgium
The partition of Belgium, or the dissolution of the Belgian state through the separation of the Dutch-speaking people of the Flanders region and Brussels from the French-speaking people of the Walloon region and Brussels, granting them either independence or respective accession to the Netherlands...

; Brussels, with its importance, is linked to both Wallonia and Flanders and vice-versa. This situation, however, does not erase the traits of a confederation in the Belgian system.

Other examples



Current examples of two-sided federalism:
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

     is a federation of two entities: Republika Srpska
    Republika Srpska
    Republika Srpska is one of two main political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the other being the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina...

     and Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the two political entities that compose the sovereign country of Bosnia and Herzegovina . The two entities are delineated by the Inter-Entity Boundary Line...

    .

Historical examples of two-sided federalism include:
  • Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    , until the Czech Republic
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

     and Slovakia
    Slovakia
    The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

     separated in 1993.
  • The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, from 1992 to 2003 when it became a confederation titled the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro
    Serbia and Montenegro
    Serbia and Montenegro was a country in southeastern Europe, formed from two former republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia : Serbia and Montenegro. Following the breakup of Yugoslavia, it was established in 1992 as a federation called the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia...

    . This confederation expired 2006 as Montenegro
    Montenegro
    Montenegro Montenegrin: Crna Gora Црна Гора , meaning "Black Mountain") is a country located in Southeastern Europe. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea to the south-west and is bordered by Croatia to the west, Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest, Serbia to the northeast and Albania to the...

     declared its independence.
  • The 1960 Constitution of Cyprus
    Constitution of Cyprus
    The Constitution of Cyprus is a document, ratified on August 16, 1960, that serves as the framework for the Cypriot government. It was drafted after the country won its independence in 1959....

     was based on the same ideas, but the union of Greeks
    Greek Cypriots
    Greek Cypriots are the ethnic Greek population of Cyprus, forming the island's largest ethnolinguistic community at 77% of the population. Greek Cypriots are mostly members of the Church of Cyprus, an autocephalous Greek Orthodox Church within the wider communion of Orthodox Christianity...

     and Turks failed.
  • United Republic of Tanzania (formerly United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar), which was the union of Tanganika and Zanzibar
    Zanzibar
    Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

    .
  • Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

     adapted a federal system in 15 October 2005, and formally recognized the Kurdistan Region as the county's first and currently only federal region. See Constitution of Iraq
    Constitution of Iraq
    The Constitution of Iraq is Iraq's fundamental law.-History:Iraq's first constitution, which established a constitutional monarchy, entered into force under the auspices of a British military occupation in 1925 and remained in effect until the 1958 revolution established a republic...

     for more information regarding Iraq's method of creating federal entities.

Federalism as the Anarchist Mode of Political Organization


Anarchists are against the State but are not against political organization or "governance" -- so long as it is self-governance utilizing direct democracy. The mode of political organization preferred by anarchists, in general, is federalism. However, the anarchist definition of federalism tends to differ from the definition of federalism assumed by pro-state political scientists. The following is a brief description of federalism from section I.5 of An Anarchist FAQ
An Anarchist FAQ
"An Anarchist FAQ" is an FAQ written by an international work group of social anarchists connected through the internet. It documents anarchist theory and ideas while arguing that social anarchism is a better form of anarchism than individualist anarchism, which it critiques. It also explores other...

:

The social and political structure of anarchy is similar to that of the economic structure, i.e., it is based on a voluntary federation of decentralised, directly democratic policy-making bodies. These are the neighbourhood and community assemblies and their confederations. In these grassroots political units, the concept of "self-management" becomes that of "self-government", a form of municipal organisation in which people take back control of their living places from the bureaucratic state and the capitalist class whose interests it serves.


[...]


The key to that change, from the anarchist standpoint, is the creation of a network of participatory communities based on self-government through direct, face-to-face democracy in grassroots neighbourhood and community assemblies [meetings for discussion, debate, and decision making].


[...]


Since not all issues are local, the neighbourhood and community assemblies will also elect mandated and recallable delegates to the larger-scale units of self-government in order to address issues affecting larger areas, such as urban districts, the city or town as a whole, the county, the bio-region, and ultimately the entire planet. Thus the assemblies will confederate at several levels in order to develop and co-ordinate common policies to deal with common problems.


[...]


This need for co-operation does not imply a centralised body. To exercise your autonomy by joining self-managing organisations and, therefore, agreeing to abide by the decisions you help make is not a denial of that autonomy (unlike joining a hierarchical structure, where you forsake autonomy within the organisation). In a centralised system, we must stress, power rests at the top and the role of those below is simply to obey (it matters not if those with the power are elected or not, the principle is the same). In a federal system, power is not delegated into the hands of a few (obviously a "federal" government or state is a centralised system). Decisions in a federal system are made at the base of the organisation and flow upwards so ensuring that power remains decentralised in the hands of all. Working together to solve common problems and organise common efforts to reach common goals is not centralisation and those who confuse the two make a serious error -- they fail to understand the different relations of authority each generates and confuse obedience with co-operation.

Christian Church


Federalism also finds expression in ecclesiology
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

 (the doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

 of the church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

). For example, presbyterian church governance resembles parliament
Parliament
A parliament is a legislature, especially in those countries whose system of government is based on the Westminster system modeled after that of the United Kingdom. The name is derived from the French , the action of parler : a parlement is a discussion. The term came to mean a meeting at which...

ary republicanism
Republicanism
Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections. The exact meaning of republicanism varies depending on the cultural and historical context...

 (a form of political federalism) to a large extent. In Presbyterian
Presbyterianism
Presbyterianism refers to a number of Christian churches adhering to the Calvinist theological tradition within Protestantism, which are organized according to a characteristic Presbyterian polity. Presbyterian theology typically emphasizes the sovereignty of God, the authority of the Scriptures,...

 denominations, the local church is ruled by elected elders, some of which are minister
Minister of religion
In Christian churches, a minister is someone who is authorized by a church or religious organization to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs; leading services such as weddings, baptisms or funerals; or otherwise providing spiritual guidance to the community...

ial. Each church then sends representatives or commissioners to presbyteries and further to a general assembly. Each greater level of assembly has ruling authority over its constituent members. In this governmental structure, each component has some level of sovereignty over itself. As in political federalism, in presbyterian ecclesiology there is shared sovereignty.

Other ecclesiologies also have significant representational and federalistic components, including the more anarchic congregational ecclesiology, and even in more hierarchical episcopal ecclesiology.

Some Christians argue that the earliest source of political federalism (or federalism in human institutions; in contrast to theological federalism
Covenant Theology
Covenant theology is a conceptual overview and interpretive framework for understanding the overall flow of the Bible...

) is the ecclesiastical
Ecclesiology
Today, ecclesiology usually refers to the theological study of the Christian church. However when the word was coined in the late 1830s, it was defined as the science of the building and decoration of churches and it is still, though rarely, used in this sense.In its theological sense, ecclesiology...

 federalism found in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. They point to the structure of the early Christian Church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

 as described (and to many, prescribed) in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. This is particularly demonstrated in the Council of Jerusalem
Council of Jerusalem
The Council of Jerusalem is a name applied by historians and theologians to an Early Christian council that was held in Jerusalem and dated to around the year 50. It is considered by Catholics and Orthodox to be a prototype and forerunner of the later Ecumenical Councils...

, described in Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Acts of the Apostles , usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age...

 chapter 15, where the Apostles and elders gathered together to govern the Church; the Apostles being representatives of the universal Church, and elders being such for the local church. To this day, elements of federalism can be found in almost every Christian denomination, some more than others.

Division of powers


In a federation, the division of power between federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

. It is in this way that the right to self-government of the component states is usually constitutionally entrenched. Component states often also possess their own constitutions which they may amend as they see fit, although in the event of conflict the federal constitution usually takes precedence.

In almost all federations the central government enjoys the powers of foreign policy and national defense. Were this not the case a federation would not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany
States of Germany
Germany is made up of sixteen which are partly sovereign constituent states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Land literally translates as "country", and constitutionally speaking, they are constituent countries...

 retain the right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange for the Kingdom of Bavaria
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that existed from 1806 to 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1806 as Maximilian I Joseph. The monarchy would remain held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom's dissolution in 1918...

's agreement to join the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power varies from one nation to another.
The constitutions of Germany and the United States
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states. The Constitution of some countries like Canada
Constitution of Canada
The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. It outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada...

 and India
Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens...

, on the other hand, state that powers not explicitly granted to the provincial governments are retained by the federal government. Much like the US system, the Australian Constitution allocates to the Federal government (the Commonwealth of Australia) the power to make laws about certain specified matters which were considered too difficult for the States to manage, so that the States retain all other areas of responsibility. Under the division of powers of the European Union in the Lisbon Treaty, powers which are not either exclusively of European competence or shared between EU and state are retained by the constituent states.

Where every component state of a federation possesses the same powers, we are said to find 'symmetric federalism'. Asymmetric federalism
Asymmetric federalism
Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation or confederation in which different constituent states possess different powers: one or more of the states has considerably more autonomy than the other substates, although they have the same constitutional status. The...

 exists where states are granted different powers, or some possess greater autonomy than others do. This is often done in recognition of the existence of a distinct culture in a particular region or regions. In Spain, "historical communities" such as Navarre
Navarre
Navarre , officially the Chartered Community of Navarre is an autonomous community in northern Spain, bordering the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Aragon in Spain and Aquitaine in France...

, Galicia, Catalonia
Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

, and the Basque Country
Basque Country (autonomous community)
The Basque Country is an autonomous community of northern Spain. It includes the Basque provinces of Álava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa, also called Historical Territories....

 have more powers than other autonomous communities, partly to deal with their distinctness and to appease nationalist leanings, partly out of respect of privileges granted earlier in history.

It is common that during the historical evolution of a federation there is a gradual movement of power from the component states to the centre, as the federal government acquires additional powers, sometimes to deal with unforeseen circumstances. The acquisition of new powers by a federal government may occur through formal constitutional amendment or simply through a broadening of the interpretation of a government's existing constitutional powers given by the courts.

Usually, a federation is formed at two levels: the central government and the regions (states, provinces, territories), and little to nothing is said about second or third level administrative political entities. Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 is an exception, because the 1988 Constitution included the municipalities as autonomous political entities making the federation tripartite, encompassing the Union, the States, and the municipalities. Each state is divided into municipalities (municípios) with their own legislative council (câmara de vereadores) and a mayor (prefeito), which are partly autonomous from both Federal and State Government. Each municipality has a "little constitution", called "organic law" (lei orgânica). Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 is an intermediate case, in that municipalities are granted full-autonomy by the federal constitution and their existence as autonomous entities (municipio libre, "free municipality") is established by the federal government and cannot be revoked by the states' constitutions. Moreover, the federal constitution determines which powers and competencies belong exclusively to the municipalities and not to the constituent states. However, municipalities do not have an elected legislative assembly.

Federations often employ the paradox
Paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

 of being a union of states, while still being states (or having aspects of statehood
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

) in themselves. For example, James Madison (author of the US Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

) wrote in Federalist Paper No. 39
Federalist No. 39
Federalist No. 39 is an essay by James Madison. It is the thirty-ninth of the Federalist Papers, entitled "The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles." Like all the Federalist Papers, it was published under the pseudonym Publius. It was published on January 18, 1788.In No...

 that the US Constitution "is in strictness neither a national nor a federal constitution; but a composition of both. In its foundation, it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the Government are drawn, it is partly federal, and partly national..." This stems from the fact that states in a federation maintain all sovereignty
Sovereignty
Sovereignty is the quality of having supreme, independent authority over a geographic area, such as a territory. It can be found in a power to rule and make law that rests on a political fact for which no purely legal explanation can be provided...

 that they do not yield to the federation by their own consent. This was reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, was ratified on December 15, 1791...

, which reserves all powers and rights that are not delegated to the Federal Government as left to the States and to the people.

Organs of government


The structures of most federal governments incorporate mechanisms to protect the rights of component states. One method, known as 'intrastate federalism', is to directly represent the governments of component states in federal political institutions. Where a federation has a bicameral legislature the upper house
Upper house
An upper house, often called a senate, is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house; a legislature composed of only one house is described as unicameral.- Possible specific characteristics :...

 is often used to represent the component states while the lower house
Lower house
A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide the lower house has come to wield more power...

 represents the people of the nation as a whole. A federal upper house may be based on a special scheme of apportionment
Apportionment (politics)
Apportionment is the process of allocating political power among a set of principles . In most representative governments, political power has most recently been apportioned among constituencies based on population, but there is a long history of different approaches.The United States Constitution,...

, as is the case in the senate
Senate
A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or chamber of a legislature or parliament. There have been many such bodies in history, since senate means the assembly of the eldest and wiser members of the society and ruling class...

s of the United States and Australia, where each state is represented by an equal number of senators irrespective of the size of its population.

Alternatively, or in addition to this practice, the members of an upper house may be indirectly elected by the government or legislature of the component states, as occurred in the United States prior to 1913, or be actual members or delegates of the state governments, as, for example, is the case in the German Bundesrat and in the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

. The lower house of a federal legislature is usually directly elected, with apportionment in proportion to population, although states may sometimes still be guaranteed a certain minimum number of seats.

In Canada, the provincial governments represent regional interests and negotiate directly with the central government. A First Ministers conference
First Ministers conference
In Canada, a First Ministers' conference is a meeting of the provincial and territorial premiers and the Prime Minister. These events are held at the call of the prime minister and, since 1950, have typically been held annually...

 of the prime minister and the provincial premiers is the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 highest political forum in the land, although it is not mentioned in the constitution.

Federations often have special procedures for amendment of the federal constitution. As well as reflecting the federal structure of the state this may guarantee that the self-governing status of the component states cannot be abolished without their consent. An amendment to the constitution of the United States must be ratified by three-quarters of either the state legislatures, or of constitutional conventions specially elected in each of the states, before it can come into effect. In referendums to amend the constitutions of Australia and Switzerland it is required that a proposal be endorsed not just by an overall majority of the electorate in the nation as a whole, but also by separate majorities in each of a majority of the states or cantons. In Australia, this latter requirement is known as a double majority.

Some federal constitutions also provide that certain constitutional amendments cannot occur without the unanimous consent of all states or of a particular state. The US constitution provides that no state may be deprived of equal representation in the senate without its consent. In Australia, if a proposed amendment will specifically impact one or more states, then it must be endorsed in the referendum held in each of those states. Any amendment to the Canadian constitution that would modify the role of the monarchy
Monarchy in Canada
The monarchy of Canada is the core of both Canada's federalism and its Westminster-style parliamentary democracy, being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Canadian government and each provincial government...

 would require unanimous consent of the provinces. The German Basic Law provides that no amendment is admissible at all that would abolish the federal system.

Other technical terms

  • Fiscal federalism
    Fiscal federalism
    As a subfield of public economics, fiscal federalism is concerned with "understanding which functions and instruments are best centralized and which are best placed in the sphere of decentralized levels of government"...

     – federalism involving the transfer of funds between different levels of government.
  • Formal federalism (or 'constitutional federalism') – the delineation of powers is specified in a written constitution.
  • Executive federalism
    Executive federalism
    Executive federalism is "the processes of intergovernmental negotiation that are dominated by the executives of the different governments within the federal system."...

     (also known as 'administrative federalism').

Federalism as a political philosophy


The meaning of federalism, as a political movement, and of what constitutes a 'federalist', varies with country and historical context. Movements associated with the establishment or development of federations can be either centralising or decentralising. For example, at the time those nations were being established, factions known as 'federalists' in the United States and Australia were those who advocated the creation of strong central government. Similarly, in European Union politics, federalists are mostly those who seek greater EU integration. In contrast, in Spain and post-war Germany, federal movements have sought decentralisation: the transfer of power from central authorities to local units. In Canada, where Quebec separatism has been a political force for several decades, the 'federalist' force is dedicated to keeping Quebec inside Canada.

See also


  • Federal republic
    Federal republic
    A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

  • Asymmetric federalism
    Asymmetric federalism
    Asymmetric federalism or asymmetrical federalism is found in a federation or confederation in which different constituent states possess different powers: one or more of the states has considerably more autonomy than the other substates, although they have the same constitutional status. The...

  • Federacy
    Federacy
    A federacy is a form of government where one or several substate units enjoy considerably more independence than the majority of the substate units. To some extent, such an arrangement can be considered as similar to asymmetric federalism.-Description:...

  • Anti-Federalism
    Anti-Federalism
    Anti-Federalism refers to a movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the Constitution of 1787. The previous constitution, called the Articles of Confederation, gave state governments more authority...

  • Federal Union
    Federal Union
    Federal Union is a Pro-European British group launched in November 1938, to advocate a Federal Union of Europe as a post-war aim. It continues to exist today, arguing for federalism for the whole of Europe and the world....

  • Confederation
    Confederation
    A confederation in modern political terms is a permanent union of political units for common action in relation to other units. Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign...

  • Consociationalism
    Consociationalism
    Consociationalism is a form of government involving guaranteed group representation, and is often suggested for managing conflict in deeply divided societies...

  • Federalist
    Federalist
    The term federalist describes several political beliefs around the world. Also, it may refer to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation...

  • Federalist Society
    Federalist Society
    The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called simply the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives seeking reform of the current American legal system in accordance with a textualist and/or originalist interpretation of the U.S. Constitution...

  • Federation
    Federation
    A federation , also known as a federal state, is a type of sovereign state characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central government...

  • Pillarisation
    Pillarisation
    Pillarisation is a term used to describe the politico-denominational segregation of Dutch and Belgian society. These societies were "vertically" divided into several segments or "pillars" according to different religions or ideologies.These pillars all had their own social institutions: their own...

  • Subsidiarity
    Subsidiarity
    Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which...

     principle
  • Layer cake federalism
    Layer cake federalism
    Layer cake federalism is the relationship between the central government of a nation and that of its states, where the powers and policy assignments of the government hierarchy are clearly spelled out and distinct from one another...

  • States' rights
    States' rights
    States' rights in U.S. politics refers to political powers reserved for the U.S. state governments rather than the federal government. It is often considered a loaded term because of its use in opposition to federally mandated racial desegregation...

  • Cooperative Federalism
    Cooperative Federalism
    Cooperative federalism is a concept of federalism in which national, state, and local governments interact cooperatively and collectively to solve common problems, rather than making policies separately but more or less equally or clashing over a policy in a system dominated by the national...

  • Democratic World Federalists
    Democratic World Federalists
    Democratic World Federalists, a civil society organization based in San Francisco with supporters worldwide, advocates a democratic federal system of world government in order to end war and crimes against humanity and to promote “a just world community and the preservation of a livable and...

     is a civil society organization advocating for a democratic federal world government.


In Literature

  • In the futurist story On Deception Watch: A World Federation Novel by David H. Spielberg, a plausible high-tech path is created to an economic-based new paradigm for the legitimacy of governance. Leveraged off the successful development of laser fusion energy, the United States and The People's Republic of China join forces to change the world.

External links