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Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
that combines a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system, dividing the powers between the two. It has its roots in ancient Europe. Federalism in the
modern era Human history, or world history, is the narrative of humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, ...
was first adopted in the unions of states during the
Old Swiss Confederacy The Old Swiss Confederacy or Swiss Confederacy (German language, Modern German: ; historically , after the Swiss Reformation, Reformation also , "Confederation of the Swiss (people), Swiss") was a loose confederation of independent small state ...
. Federalism differs from
confederalism A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from
devolution Devolution is the statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or p ...
within a
unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only ...
, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level. It represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state. Examples of a
federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...

federation
or federal province or state include
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered ...

Argentina
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...

Belgium
,
Bosnia & Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina,, abbreviated BiH or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, South and Southeast Europe, located within the Balkans. Sar ...

Bosnia & Herzegovina
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, Pacific and northward into the Arctic Oce ...

Canada
,
Germany Germany (german: Deutschland, ), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in . It is the in Europe after , and the most populous . Germany is situated between the and seas to the north, and the to the south; it covers an area of ...

Germany
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, seventh-largest country by area, the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populous ...

India
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
,
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a List of sovereign states, country in the southern portion of North America. It is borders of Mexico, bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to ...

Mexico
,
Nepal Nepal (; ne, नेपाल ), officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal ( ne, सङ्घीय लोकतान्त्रिक गणतन्त्र नेपाल ), is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is ma ...

Nepal
,
Nigeria Nigeria (), officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as we ...

Nigeria
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world's List of countries and dependencies by population, fifth-most populous country, with a popul ...

Pakistan
,
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
, and
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
. Some characterize the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states.


Overview


Etymology

The terms "federalism" and "confederalism" share a root in the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
word ''
foedus ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law ...
'', meaning "
treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relat ...

treaty
,
pact A pact, from Latin ''pactum'' ("something agreed upon"), is a formal agreement. In international relations International relations (IR), international affairs (IA) or international studies (IS) is the scientific study of interactions be ...
or
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
". Their common early meaning until the late eighteenth century was a simple league or inter-governmental relationship among
sovereign states A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relation ...

sovereign states
based on a treaty. They were therefore initially synonyms. It was in this sense that
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
in ''
Federalist The term ''federalist'' describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties, whose members or supporters called themselves ''Federalists''.http://m-w.com/dictionary/federalist. History Europe In E ...
39'' had referred to the new
US Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organ ...
as "neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both" (i.e. as constituting neither a single large unitary state nor a league/confederation among several small states, but a hybrid of the two). In the course of the nineteenth century United States, the meaning of federalism would come to shift, strengthening to refer uniquely to the novel compound political form established at the
Philadelphia Convention The Constitutional Convention took place in Philadelphia from May 25 to September 17, 1787. Although the convention was intended to revise the league of states and first system of government under the Articles of Confederation The Articles ...
, while the meaning of confederalism would remain at a league of states.


Origins

In the narrow sense, federalism refers to the mode in which the
body politic The body politic is a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people ...

body politic
of a state is organized internally, and this is the meaning most often used in modern times. Political scientists, however, use it in a much broader sense, referring instead to a "multi-layer or pluralistic concept of social and political life." The first forms of federalism took place in ancient times, in the form of alliances between states. Some examples from the seventh to second century B.C. were the Archaic League, the Aetolic League, the
Peloponnesian League The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus The Peloponnese (), Peloponnesia, or Peloponnesus (; el, Πελοπόννησος, Pelopónnēsos, ) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") ...
, and the
Delian League The Delian League, founded in 478 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, with the number of members numbering between 150 and 330 under the leadership of Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, ...
. An early progenitor of federalism was the
Achaean League The Achaean League (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
in
Hellenistic Greece Hellenistic Greece is the historical period of the country following Classical Greece, between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the annexation of the classical Greek Achaean League heartlands by the Roman Republic. This culminated at ...
. Unlike the
Greek city states This is an incomplete list of ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the peri ...
of
Classical Greece Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years (the 5th and 4th centuries BC) in Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dar ...
, each of which insisted on keeping its complete independence, changing conditions in the Hellenistic period drove many city states to band together even at the cost of losing part of their sovereignty. Subsequent unions of states included the first and second Swiss Confederations (1291-1798 and 1815-48), the
United Provinces of the Netherlands The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history ...
(1579-1795), the
German Bund
German Bund
(1815-66), the first American union known as the Confederation of the United States of America (1781-89), and second American union formed as the
United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
(1789-1865).


Political theory

Modern federalism is a political system based upon
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
rules and institutions in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments. The term ''
federalist The term ''federalist'' describes several political beliefs around the world. It may also refer to the concept of parties, whose members or supporters called themselves ''Federalists''.http://m-w.com/dictionary/federalist. History Europe In E ...

federalist
'' describes several political beliefs around the world depending on context. Since the term ''federalization'' also describes distinctive political processes, its use as well depends on the context. In political theory, two main types of federalization are recognized: * integrative, or aggregative federalization, designating various processes like: integration of non-federated political subjects by creating a new federation, accession of non-federated subjects into an existing federation, or transformation of a confederation into a federation * devolutive, or dis-aggregative federalization: transformation of a
unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only ...
into a federation Federalism is sometimes viewed in the context of international negotiation as "the best system for integrating diverse nations, ethnic groups, or combatant parties, all of whom may have cause to fear control by an overly powerful center."Michael Meyer-Resende
Why Talk of Federalism Won't Help Peace in Syria
''
Foreign Policy ''Foreign Policy'' is an American news publication, founded in 1970 and focused on global affairs, current events, and domestic and international policy. It produces content daily on its website, and in six print issues annually. ''Foreign Poli ...
'' (March 18, 2017).
However, those skeptical of federal prescriptions sometimes believe that increased
regional autonomyRegional autonomy is decentralization Decentralization or decentralisation is the process by which the activities of an organization, particularly those regarding planning and decision making, are distributed or delegated away from a central, aut ...
can lead to secession or dissolution of the nation. In
Syria Syria ( ar, سُورِيَا or ar, سُورِيَة, ''Sūriyā''), officially the Syrian Arab Republic ( ar, ٱلْجُمْهُورِيَّةُ ٱلْعَرَبِيَّةُ ٱلسُّورِيَّةُ, al-Jumhūrīyah al-ʻArabīyah as-S ...

Syria
, for example, federalization proposals have failed in part because "Syrians fear that these borders could turn out to be the same as the ones that the fighting parties have currently carved out." Federations such as
Yugoslavia Yugoslavia (; sh, Jugoslavija / ; sl, Jugoslavija ; mk, Југославија ;; rup, Iugoslavia; hu, Jugoszlávia; Pannonian Rusyn Image:Novi Sad mayor office.jpg, 250px, Mayor office written in four official languages used in the ...
or
Czechoslovakia , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , image_p1 = , s1 = Czech Re ...

Czechoslovakia
collapsed as soon as it was possible to put the model to the test.


Reasons for adoption

According to
Daniel Ziblatt Daniel Ziblatt (born 1972) is an American political scientist and a professor at Harvard University with a research focus on comparative politics, democracy and democratization as well as the politics and political history of Western Europe. Since ...
, there are four competing theoretical explanations in the academic literature for the adoption of federal systems: # Ideational theories, which hold that a greater ideological commitment to ideas in society makes federalism more likely to be adopted. # Cultural-historical theories, which hold that federal institutions are more likely to be adopted in societies with
culturally Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...

culturally
or ethnically fragmented populations. # "
Social contract In moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power ...
" theories, which hold that federalism emerges as a bargain between a center and a periphery where the center is not powerful enough to dominate the periphery and the periphery is not powerful enough to secede from the center. # "Infrastructural power" theories, which hold that federalism is likely to emerge when the subunits of a potential federation already have highly developed infrastructures (e.g. they are already constitutional, parliamentary, and administratively modernized states).
Immanuel Kant Immanuel Kant (, , ; 22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about r ...

Immanuel Kant
noted that "the problem of setting up a state can be solved even by a nation of devils" so long as they possess an appropriate constitution which pits opposing factions against each other with a system of
checks and balances Separation of powers refers to the division of a state (polity), state's government into branches, each with separate, independent power (social and political), powers and responsibilities, so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict ...
. In particular individual states required a federation as a safeguard against the possibility of war.


Examples

Many countries have implemented federal systems of government with varying degree of central and regional sovereignty. The federal government of these countries can be divided into minimalistic federations, consisting of only two sub-federal units or multi-regional, those that consist of three to dozens of regional governments. They can also be grouped based on their body polity type, such as emirate, provincial, republican or state federal systems. Another way to study federated countries is by categorizing them into those whose entire territory is federated as opposed to only part of its territory comprising the federal portion of the country. Some federal systems are national systems while others, like the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
are supra national. In general, two extremes of federalism can be distinguished: at one extreme, the strong federal state is almost completely unitary, with few powers reserved for local governments; while at the other extreme, the national government may be a federal state in name only, being a
confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
in actuality. Federalism may encompass as few as two or three internal divisions, as is the case in
Belgium Belgium ( nl, België ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien ), officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe. The region's countries and territories vary depending on cont ...
or Bosnia and Herzegovina. The governments of Argentina,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
,
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...
,
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...
, and
Mexico Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organi ...
, among others, are also organized along federalist principles. In
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...
, federalism typically implies opposition to sovereigntist movements (most commonly Quebec separatism). In 1999, the
Government of Canada The government of Canada (french: Gouvernement du Canada) is the body responsible for the federation, federal administration of Canada. A constitutional monarchy, the Crown is the Corporation sole#The Crown, corporation sole, assuming distinct r ...
established the
Forum of Federations The Forum of Federations is an international organization based in Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultu ...
as an international network for exchange of best practices among federal and federalizing countries. Headquartered in
Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are ...

Ottawa
, the Forum of Federations partner governments include Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan and Switzerland.


Europe vs. the United States

Sixty percent of the American continent is organized as federal states, while in Europe federations are the exception: Germany, Austria and Switzerland are the only federal states in Europe. In
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...
, "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 The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
. Although there are medieval and early modern examples of European states which used confederal and federal systems, contemporary
European federalism The federalisation of the European Union describes processes and proposals by which the European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located pr ...
originated in post-war Europe; one of the more important initiatives was
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The hea ...

Winston Churchill
's speech in
Zürich Zürich () is the in and the capital of the . It is located in north-central Switzerland, at the northwestern tip of . As of January 2020, the municipality has 434,335 inhabitants, the urban area (agglomeration) 1.315 million (2009), and the 1. ...

Zürich
in 1946. In the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, federalism originally referred to belief in a stronger central government. When the U.S. Constitution was being drafted, the
Federalist Party The Federalist Party was the first political party in the United States American electoral politics has been dominated by two major political parties since shortly after the founding of the republic. Since the 1850s, they have been the Histo ...
supported a stronger central government, while "
Anti-Federalists Anti-Federalism was a late-18th century movement that opposed the creation of a stronger U.S. federal government and which later opposed the ratification of the 1787 United States Constitution, Constitution. The previous constitution, called the A ...
" wanted a weaker central government. This is very different from the modern usage of "federalism" in Europe and the United States. The distinction stems from the fact that "federalism" is situated in the middle of the political spectrum between a
confederacy Confederacy may refer to: A confederation, an association of sovereign states or communities. Examples include: * Battle of the Trench, Confederate tribes * Confederate States of America, a confederation of secessionist American states that existed ...
and a
unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only ...
. The U.S. Constitution was written as a reaction to the
Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union was an agreement among the 13 original states of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America ...
, under which the United States was a loose confederation with a weak central government. In contrast, Europe has a greater history of unitary states than North America, thus European "federalism" argues for a weaker central government, relative to a unitary state. The modern American usage of the word is much closer to the European sense. As the power of the U.S. federal government has increased, some people have perceived a much more unitary state than they believe the
Founding Fathers The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited with establishing their nation. National founders are typically those who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, ...
intended. Most people politically advocating "federalism" in the United States argue in favor of limiting the powers of the federal government, especially the
judiciary The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government i ...
(see
Federalist Society The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called the Federalist Society, is an organization of conservatives and libertarians that advocates for a textualist and originalist interpretation of the United States ...
,
New Federalism New Federalism is a political philosophy of devolution Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralized gov ...
). The contemporary concept of federalism came about with the creation of an entirely new system of government that provided for democratic representation at two governing levels simultaneously, was implemented in the
US Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organ ...
. In the United States implementation of federalism, a bi-cameral general government, consisting of a chamber of popular representation proportional to population ( the House of Representatives), and a chamber of equal State-based representation consisting of two delegates per State ( the Senate), was overlaid upon the pre-existing regional governments of the thirteen independent States. With each level of government allocated a defined sphere of powers, under a written constitution and the rule of law (that is, subject to the independent third-party arbitration of a supreme court in competence disputes), the two levels were thus brought into a coordinate relationship for the first time. In 1946,
Kenneth Wheare Sir Kenneth Clinton Wheare, CMG (26 March 1907 – 7 September 1979) was an Australian academic, who spent most of his career at Oxford University Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its ...
observed that the two levels of government in the US were "co-equally supreme". In this, he echoed the perspective of American founding father James Madison who saw the several States as forming "distinct and independent portions of the supremacy" in relation to the general government.


Anarchism

Anarchists Anarchism is a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of ...
are against the state, but they are not against political organization or "governance", so long as it is self-governance utilizing
direct democracy Direct democracy or pure democracy is a form of democracy in which the Election#Electorate, electorate decides on policy initiatives without legislator, legislative representatives as proxies. This differs from the majority of currently estab ...
. The mode of political organization preferred by anarchists, in general, is federalism or
confederalism A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty, confederations of states tend to be established for dealing with critical issu ...
. 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" is a FAQ written by an international work group of social anarchists connected through the internet. It documents anarchist theory and ideas and argues in favor of social anarchism. It also explores other debates internal to the ...
'': :"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 decentralized, directly democratic policy-making bodies. These are the neighborhood 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 neighborhood and community assemblies eetings for discussion, debate, and decision making : ..:Since not all issues are local, the neighborhood and community assemblies will also elect mandated and re-callable 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 centralized 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 centralized 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 centralized system). Decisions in a federal system are made at the base of the organisation and flow upwards so ensuring that power remains decentralized in the hands of all. Working together to solve common problems and organize common efforts to reach common goals is not centralization 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 In Christian theology, ecclesiology is the study of the Church (congregation), Church, the origins of Christianity, its relationship to Jesus, its role in salvation, its ecclesiastical polity, polity, its Church discipline, discipline, its escha ...
(the
doctrine Doctrine (from la, Wikt:doctrina, doctrina, meaning "teaching, instruction") is a codification (law), codification of beliefs or a body of teacher, teachings or instructions, taught Value (personal and cultural), principles or positions, as the e ...

doctrine
of the
church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is usually used to refer to the p ...

church
). For example,
presbyterian church governance Presbyterian (or presbyteral) polity is a method of ecclesiastical polity, church governance ("ecclesiastical polity") typified by the rule of assemblies of presbyters, or elders. Each local church is governed by a body of elected elders usually ca ...
resembles
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of ...

parliament
ary
republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
(a form of ''political federalism'') to a large extent. In
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
denominations, the local church is ruled by elected
elders An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
, some of which are
ministerial Minister may refer to: * Minister (Christianity), a Christian cleric * Minister (government), a member of government who heads a ministry (government department) ** Minister without portfolio, a member of government with the rank of a normal minist ...
. Each church then sends representatives or commissioners to presbyteries and further to a
general assembly A general assembly or general meeting is a meeting of all the members of an organization or shareholders of a company. Specific examples of general assembly include: Churches * General Assembly (presbyterian church), the highest court of presbyt ...
. 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 federalists components, including the more anarchic congregational ecclesiology, and even in more hierarchical Episcopalian church governance, episcopal ecclesiology. Some Christians argue that the earliest source of political realism (or federalism in human institutions; in contrast to Covenant Theology, theological federalism) is the anesthesiology, ecclesiastical federalism found in the Bible. They point to the structure of the early Christian Church as described (and prescribed, as believed by many) in the New Testament. In their arguments, this is particularly demonstrated in the Council of Jerusalem, described in Acts of the Apostles, Acts chapter 15, where the Twelve Apostles, Apostles and
elders An elder is someone with a degree of seniority or authority. Elder or elders may refer to: Positions Administrative * Elder (administrative title), a position of authority Cultural * American Indian elder, a person who has and transmits cul ...
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.


Constitutional structure


Division of powers

In a federation, the division of power between federal and regional governments is usually outlined in the constitution. Almost every country allows some degree of regional self-government, in federations the right to self-government of the component states is 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 as exclusive federal powers. Were this not the case a federation would not be a single sovereign state, per the UN definition. Notably, the states of Germany retain the right to act on their own behalf at an international level, a condition originally granted in exchange for the Kingdom of Bavaria's agreement to join the German Empire in 1871. Beyond this the precise division of power varies from one nation to another. The constitutions of Grundgesetz, Germany and the United States Constitution, United States provide that all powers not specifically granted to the federal government are retained by the states. The Constitution of some countries like Constitution of Canada, Canada and Constitution of India, India, 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 Treaty of Lisbon, Lisbon Treaty, powers which are not either exclusively of Template:European Union competences, Union competence or shared between the Union and the Member States as concurrent powers 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 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, the History of the Basque people#Late Modern history, Basques and Catalan people, Catalans, as well as the Galicians, spearheaded a historic movement to have their national specificity recognized, crystallizing in the "historical communities" such as Navarre, Galicia (Spain), Galicia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country. They have more powers than the later expanded arrangement for other Spanish regions, or Autonomous communities of Spain, the Spain of the autonomous communities (called also the "coffee for everyone" arrangement), partly to deal with their separate identity and to appease peripheral nationalist leanings, partly out of respect to Fuero#Basque and Pyrenean fueros, specific rights they had held earlier in history. However, strictly speaking Spain is not a federation, but a system of asymmetric devolved government within a unitary state. 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 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 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 political divisions of Mexico, constituent states. However, municipalities do not have an elected legislative assembly. Federations often employ the paradox of being a union of states, while still being states (or having aspects of Sovereign state, statehood) in themselves. For example, James Madison (author of the United States constitution, US Constitution) wrote in Federalist No. 39, Federalist Paper No. 39 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 the US maintain all sovereignty that they do not yield to the federation by their own consent. This was reaffirmed by the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reserves all powers and rights that are not delegated to the Federal Government as left to the States and to the people.


Bicameralism

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 is often used to represent the component states while the lower house represents the people of the nation as a whole. A federal upper house may be based on a special scheme of apportionment (politics), apportionment, as is the case in the senates 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 Bundesrat (Germany), German Bundesrat and in the Council of the European Union. 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.


Intergovernmental relations

In Canada, the provincial governments represent regional interests and negotiate directly with the central government. A First Ministers conference of the prime minister and the provincial premiers is the ''de facto'' highest political forum in the land, although it is not mentioned in the constitution.


Constitutional change

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 in Canada, monarchy would require unanimous consent of the provinces. The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Basic Law provides that no amendment is admissible at all that would abolish the federal system.


Other technical terms

* Fiscal federalism – the relative financial positions and the financial relations between the levels of government in a federal system. * Formal federalism (or 'constitutional federalism') – the delineation of powers is specified in a written constitution, which may or may not correspond to the actual operation of the system in practice. * Executive federalism refers in the English-speaking tradition to the intergovernmental relationships between the executive branches of the levels of government in a federal system and in the continental European tradition to the way constituent units 'execute' or administer laws made centrally. * Gleichschaltung – the conversion from a federal governance to either a completely unitary or more unitary one, the term was borrowed from the German for conversion from Alternating current, alternating to direct current. During the Nazi era the States of the Weimar Republic, traditional German states were mostly left intact in the formal sense, but their constitutional rights and sovereignty were eroded and ultimately ended and replaced with the Gau (territory)#Nazi period, Gau system. ''Gleichschaltung'' also has a broader sense referring to political consolidation in general. * defederalize – to remove from federal government, such as taking a responsibility from a national level government and giving it to states or provinces


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 exhibit either centralising or decentralising trends. For example, at the time those nations were being established, factions known as "federalists" in the United States and Australia advocated the formation of strong central government. Similarly, in European Union politics, federalists mostly seek greater EU integration. In contrast, in Spain and in 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" impulse aims to keep Quebec inside Canada.


Conflict reducing device

Federalism, and other forms of territorial autonomy, is generally seen as a useful way to structure political systems in order to prevent violence among different groups within countries because it allows certain groups to legislate at the subnational level. Some scholars have suggested, however, that federalism can divide countries and result in state collapse because it creates proto-states. Still others have shown that federalism is only divisive when it lacks mechanisms that encourage political parties to compete across regional boundaries.Dawn Brancati. 2009. Peace by Design: Managing Intrastate Conflict through Decentralization. Oxford: Oxford UP.


See also

* Consociationalism * Cooperative federalism * Democratic World Federalists * Federal republicanism * Federal Union *
Forum of Federations The Forum of Federations is an international organization based in Ottawa Ottawa (, ; Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultu ...
* Layer cake federalism * Pillarisation * States' rights * Union of Utrecht * World Federalist Movement * Feudalism * Neo-feudalism


Notes and references


Sources

* * *


External links

* P.-J. Proudhon
The Principle of Federation
1863.
A Comparative Bibliography: Regulatory Competition on Corporate Law

A Rhetoric for Ratification: The Argument of the Federalist and its Impact on Constitutional Interpretation

Brainstorming National
!-- This is a governmental-type forum, not an "internet discussion forum" -->

– From the Education Resources Information Center Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education Bloomington, Indiana.
An Ottawa, Ontario, Canada-based international organization for federal countries that share best practices among countries with that system of government

Tenth Amendment Center
Federalism and States Rights in the U.S.
BackStory Radio episode on the origins and current status of Federalism

Constitutional law scholar Hester Lessard discusses Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and jurisdictional justice
McGill University, 2011
General Federalism
{{authority control Federalism, Political systems Political theories ca:Federació