How does a confederation and federation differ?

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Also, please give examples of both + how does a confederation government structure work?

Like let’s say some federal country turned into a confederation, how would the government work?

Who is in charge of what? Which authority?

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6 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

In a federation/federal state there is a central government that supercedes the different states composing it, eg: the United States or Germany.

In a confederation the different states composing it retain sovereignty, the central power is weaker, eg: European Union.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Federation has a strong central power.
Confederation has stronger individual states, with weaker central power structure. By definition,

Federation would be like the modern US government(the US started out as a confederation of the 13 colonies, but after a bunch of issues turned into a Federation). There is a very clear and well established Federal government with central authority to do many things. Like California cannot sign a treaty with Japan, only an arm of the Federal Government can. It is literally written into the Constitution that Federal Laws supersede State law in the US.

A modern confederacy people would be familiar with would be like the EU. It’s not a perfect example since it has some federal aspects with it, but it is a collection of states that all have autonomous power. Member states can make its own laws and diplomacy. Benelux(Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) are another example. They are 3 independent and sovereign states, but work together on common goals and often as a cohesive unit, but there is not one centralized command government.

If you’re down with Prequel Star Wars, The CIS(*Confederacy* of Independent States) that was made up of well… independent states, working together against the Republic. The different clans all had different purposes and their own governments, laws, and diplomacy.
While the Republic had a strong centralized power with the Senate and Emperor.

>Like let’s say some federal country turned into a confederation, how would the government work?

Hypothetical question with no real way to answer because this sub after objective explanations, and a government can be setup pretty much however the people running it want. Federations and Confederations can have so many variations and power dynamics that it is nearly impossible to make answer every aspect.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In a confederation, the parts that make it up are still independent nations. An example of a confederation is the EU. It has a government, and that government can do stuff, but every nation in the EU is still independent, and may choose to leave if they want to (eg Great Britain).
A federation is similar: it has parts that are governed by a local government, and the whole is governed by a central government. But these smaller parts aren’t independent. The best example of a federation is the USA. Every state has some leeway, and is able to do some stuff, but they aren’t independent nations. Arkansas, for example, can’t just decide to leave the US, and it’s an entire process to do so.
A final option is a unitary state. In this, there is a central government, and it allows smaller parts to exist. But these smaller parts can only do what the central government allows them to do. An example here is France (or really most of the world). It’s split into various regions (and collectivities and autonomous territories, but let’s not look into those for this). these regions have certain obligations and liberties, but they cannot create their own laws. Contrast this to the previous two: a US state can create its own laws, and a EU member state can as well.

Anonymous 0 Comments

There is no clear cut between them.

In both, there are members (states, organizations) that can, to some degree, self-govern. And there are central government, that decides matters of overall importance. However, there is no universal standard on what’s overall important and what’s only locally important. Each (con)federation gives different powers to the central government. You’ll have to read their law, charter or treaty to know what they are. Just knowing names is not enough.

In general, people say confederations have less central powers than federations, however this is not without exceptions, and is subjective anyway.

Anonymous 0 Comments

In both federations and confederacies, you have a split in governmental power between a centralized government and localized state/provincial governments. This typically is done to afford the local governments a fairly high amount of political power relative to other governments in the world where power tends to focused in one region, or often one *city* in the nation.

There is no hard line between confederacies and federations, but *generally* confederacies will have very weak central governments that have extremely limited powers. While this ensures a high degree of self-rule among the state, it can cause problems when issues arise that can only really be handled at the central government level. As a result, confederacies have generally not performed all that well.

Two current examples of federations are the US and Germany. Two *historical* examples of confederation would be the CSA during the Civil War, as well as the pre-Constitution United States under the Articles of Confederation. One modern example is (arguably) the EU, although the EU doesn’t really refer to itself as a confederacy.

Anonymous 0 Comments

A federation is a strong central government, a confederation is the opposite of that, a weak central government over smaller strong local governments.

The UN is a confederacy, because each member nation isn’t forced to do anything the UN asks for. The only punishment a nation could get for not listening to the UN would be something thay other UN nations choose to undertake. The UN can say “Russia, get out of Ukraine” but it’s up to the other countries to do something about it.