Federalism


Federalism is a mixed or compound mode of 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. Federalism in the modern era was first adopted in the unions of states during the Old Swiss Confederacy.[1]

Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level.[2] 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.[3][4]

Examples of a federation or federal province or state include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Iraq, Canada, Germany, UAE, Mexico, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, and United States. Some characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the "federal union of states".[5]

  1. ^ Forsyth 1981, p. 18.
  2. ^ Wheare 1946, pp. 31–22.
  3. ^ See diagram below.
  4. ^ Diamond, Martin (1961) "The Federalist's View of Federalism", in Benson, George (ed.) Essays in Federalism, Institute for Studies in Federalism, Claremont, p. 22. Downs, William (2011) "Comparative Federalism, Confederalism, Unitary Systems", in Ishiyama, John and Breuning, Marijke (eds) Twenty-first Century Political Science: A Reference Handbook, Sage, Los Angeles, Vol. I, pp. 168–169. Hueglin, Thomas and Fenna, Alan (2006) Comparative Federalism: A Systematic Inquiry, Broadview, Peterborough, p. 31.
  5. ^ See Law, John (2013), p. 104. http://www.on-federalism.eu/attachments/169_download.pdf
    This author identifies two distinct federal forms, where before only one was known, based upon whether sovereignty (conceived in its core meaning of ultimate authority) resides in the whole (in one people) or in the parts (in many peoples). This is determined by the absence or presence of a unilateral right of secession for the parts. The structures are termed, respectively, the federal state (or federation) and the federal union of states (or federal union).

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