A federal government
is the common government of a
The structure of federal governments vary from institution to
institution based on a broad definition of a basic federal
political system, there are two or more levels of government that
exist within an established territory and govern through common
with overlapping or shared
powers as prescribed by a constitution
States is considered the first modern federation.
After declaring independence from Britain, the U.S. adopted its
first constitution, the Articles of Confederation
This was the first step towards federalism by establishing the
federal congress. Yet, congress was limited as to its ability to
pursue economic, military, and judiciary reform. In 1787, federal
congress participated in what is known as the Philadelphia Convention
and by 1789,
the U.S. was officially a federation.
nation-states followed suit in establishing federal governments:
Switzerland (1848); Canada (1867);
Germany (1871 and again 1949); Australia (1901); Austria (1920 and
- Watts, R., "Comparing Federal Systems" (2nd ed.) SPC Queen's U
(1999) pp 20-26.