Sociology Index


Centripetal Federalism, Asymmetrical Federalism

Confederation is the joining together of territories with separate political systems into a political union that establishes a Federal government. The Federal government in a Confederation is constitutionally permitted to exercise specific powers, while others are reserved for the exclusive jurisdiction of provincial or state governments. Confederations are created by treaty usually adopting a common constitution. Confederations are established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign affairs, or a common currency, with the central government being required to provide support for all members.

A confederation, in modern political terms, is generally limited to a permanent union of sovereign states for common action in relation to other states. There are confederations which consolidate authority from other semi-autonomous bodies, like sports confederations or employees confederations. The Swiss Confederation, is a classic modern example of a confederation. Iroquois Confederacy is a group of First Nations or Native Americans that consist of six nations: the Mohawk, the Oneida, the Onondaga, the Cayuga, the Seneca and the Tuscarora.

Other notable confederations are:
Aro Confederacy, (1690-1902),
Confederate Ireland (1641-1649)
Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813)
German Confederation (1815–1866)
North German Confederation (1866–1871) - became German Empire in 1871
Confederation of the Equator (1824)
Confederation of Central America (1842–1844)
Argentine Confederation (1832–1860)

The European Union: confederation, federation or association of compound states? Charles B. Blankart
Abstract: The European Union of today is neither a confederation nor a federation, but rather an association of compound states. It is shown that this mixture of two forms of constitutional contracts implies inconsistencies prone to political deadlocks. It is proposed to follow a Hayekian approach in which issue fields are allocated to a confederation or to a federation, respectively depending on the revealed homogeneity of preferences of the citizens across the Member States. Hence both, Council and European Parliament, would remain the central decision makers but with separate tasks.