Politics

Difference Between Federation and Confederation

Main difference

The main difference between the terms Federation and Confederation is that in a federation the sovereignty of the members ceases to exist with its formation, while in a confederation the members retain their sovereignty even after the confederation is formed.

Federation vs Confederation

Federation and confederation are the two political and strategic agreements between provinces or countries, created to allow the constituents to obtain political and economic benefits. The federation is a political entity of states or regional constituents. The member states are united in a single group. These member states have centralized control. Confederation is a permanent union of sovereign states. These states share common interests and economic, political, or administrative desirability.

In a federation, the states come together to create a loose union for matters of political, economic, or administrative expediency. Member states maintain their sovereignty and often designate a weak central authority to speed up bureaucratic matters in a confederation. The federal government is central or sovereign of the federation. It directs the member states. However, in a confederation, the central authority is a nominal body appointed by the member states. The confederation is a weak authority.

The federal government has great control and influence over the voters. There is no central government in a confederation, but rather a weak body elected by the member states.

When the states come together to create a federation, they create a new nation-state, with a powerful and functional central government. Membership of member states is not voluntary in a federation. Voters lose some of their authority and the central government gains the ability to make all decisions on foreign policy, national security, military and diplomatic matters. However, the confederation is an opposite system in which the central government has no power. It is only in place to facilitate the decision-making process and speed up communication. The federation is between the subregions of a state, while the confederation is between the various states.

Comparison chart

Federation Confederacy
A political entity of regional constituents or states united into a single group with centralized control. A loose union of a few states where the member states retain their sovereign power even after the formation of the confederation.
Sovereignty
member states the federal government
Membership
Mandatory for the state volunteer to state
written constitution
Has Does not have
It is between
Subregions within a state various states
Member Sovereignty
terminated Exists
Association
Strong Loose

What is the Federation?

The federation is a political and strategic agreement between provinces or countries, created to allow the constituents to obtain political and economic benefits. The basis of the concept of federation is the political system of government. The federation is a political entity of states or regional constituents. These states are united with centralized control in a single group.

Generally, states with numerous provinces, large territories, and regions follow the federation system. The provinces and member states of a federation do not completely lose their power and enjoy a certain degree of autonomy. The nation’s constitution generally requires this degree of sovereignty.

It is unconstitutional for any of the parties to break this mandate. In a federation, the individual states may also maintain separate traditions, laws, and customs. But the central government has authority over foreign policy, international relations, defense, decision to start or end a war, security matters, diplomacy, national currency, and military.

In a federation, member states join together to create a loose union for matters of economic, political, or administrative expediency. The federal government acts as the central or sovereign authority of the federation.

This federal government governs all the member states. When the states come together to create a federation, they create a new nation-state, with a powerful and functional central government. The federation is usually created between sub-regions within a state. In simple words, a federation is a political system in which the member states are united under the umbrella of a central authority.

examples

Russia, China, United States, Belgium, Austria, Australia, Germany

What is the Confederation?

A confederation is a system of government where states and provinces come together for economic, political, security, or administrative reasons. Confederation is a union of some sovereign states. The member states in the system of a confederation retain their sovereignty and power.

Member states often designate a weak central authority to speed up bureaucratic matters in a confederation. The central authority of a confederation is a weak nominal body. The member states designate it. The confederation is usually formed by treaty as a way to address important issues such as defense, economic relations, and foreign affairs.

The central government provides support to its member states in this regard. The confederation is a system in which the central government has no power. It only facilitates the decision-making process and streamlines communication.

Confederation is a system opposed to federation in which the central government has no power. It is only in place to facilitate the decision-making process and speed up communication. The confederation system is between the various states. It depends on the will of the government or local authority of each individual province and state to enter a confederation. It means that the member states have their sovereign identity.

The states also have their political, economic and autonomous policies even after the formation of the union. In a confederation, there is no common army, unit budget, common diplomatic representatives, common foreign policy strategy, and common legal system.

examples

EU, North American Indigenous Confederations, Former Swiss Confederation, Confederation of the Rhine

Key differences

  1. The federation is a political entity of regional member states that are united into a single group with some centralized control, while the confederation is a permanent union of the sovereign member states based on common interests, political, economic, or administrative expediency.
  2. The member states of a federation are controlled by the central authority by losing their sovereignty; on the other hand, the member states of a confederation retain their sovereignty even after their union.
  3. The member states of a federation come together to create a flexible union for matters of political, economic or administrative convenience; on the other hand, the member states of a confederation maintain their sovereignty and often appoint a weak central authority to speed up bureaucratic matters.
  4. Federation refers to the system of creating a separate state. By contrast, confederation does not refer to the creation of any new state.
  5. In a federation, the sovereignty of the members ceases to exist with its formation, whereas, in a confederation, the members retain their sovereignty even after the confederation is formed.
  6. The federation has a written constitution, in contrast, the confederation does not have a written constitution.
  7. The federation is found among the subregions within a state, conversely the confederation is among the various states.

Final Thought

Both federation and confederation are the two different forms of government systems of the world. Both systems are different from each other, and the difference between them lies in the sovereign status of their member states.

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