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The term "'federalist'" describes several political beliefs around the world. It also has reference to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation.

Latin America

In Latin America the term "federalist" is used in reference to the politics of nineteenth-century Argentinamarker and Colombiamarker. The Federalists opposed the Unitarianists in Argentina and Centralists in Colombia in the early 1800s. In the Argentine case, many Federalists were provincianos, that is, Argentines who were from outside of Buenos Aires Provincemarker and citizens of the interior of Argentina. The gaucho armies of the interior fought for decades to maintain federalism. Federalists fought for complete self-government, as opposed to the centralized government that the Unitarianists and Centralists favored. The self-government that the Federalists fought for was basically a call for "virtual autonomy" in each province. Furthermore, Federalists demanded tariff protection for their recently acquired industries and called for the end of Buenos Aires as the intermediary center of trade.

General José de San Martín feared the Federalists. San Martín, as well as some Criollos, endorsed a plan for a constitutional monarchy. He believed that federalism meant a loss of order: "It would mean the certain destruction of Argentine unity, the dismemberment of the country into regional governments, and the emergence of a society dominated by the hydra-headed Gaucho tyrants of the interior plains." After 1817 San Martín's campaigns would take him away from Argentina, so he only had an indirect influence on further developments.

In 1819, the Gaucho armies, who wanted a federation and regional autonomy, threatened attack on Buenos Aires after Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, the director of the government in Buenos Aires, resigned. At the Battle of Cepeda in 1820, the Federalists forces defeated the Unitarianists, led by General José Rondeau, the Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. After the defeat, months of anarchy followed. Later, the Unitarianists were forced to sign a treaty with other provinces, which, nevertheless, failed to solve the conflict between the Unitarianists and the Federalists. Juan Manuel de Rosas, head of a group of Gaucho Federalists, defeated General Juan Lavalle in 1829 and took over Buenos Aires Province. Lavalle was forced into exile and Rosas was elected to office by the legislature later that year. To counteract these developments the Liga Unitaria was created by General José María Paz in 1829 in order to defeat the Federalists. The Gaucho Federalists faced Paz and his troops on May 31, 1831, and the Unitarianists were defeated after the Gauchos captured the Paz.

In 1859, Buenos Aires was forced to accept the federal constitution of 1853 after six years of secession. This was because on October 23, the commander of the Buenos Aires army, Bartolomé Mitre, was defeated at Cepeda by the Argentine Confederation, led by Justo José de Urquiza. However, the federal constitution was “amended to allow Buenos Aires greater influence.” The Battle of Pavón in 1861 ended the period of “armed strife.”

Is also known as a person that supports Federalism.


Federalist, in regard to the National Question, defends the concept of Quebec remaining within Canadamarker, while either keeping the status quo or pursuing greater autonomy and constitutional recognition of a Quebec nation, with corresponding rights and powers for Quebec within the Canadian federation. This ideology is opposed to Quebec sovereigntism, proponents of Quebec independence, most often (but not for all followers) along with an economic union with Canada similar to the European Union.

The United States

In the United Statesmarker the term federalist usually applies to a member of one of the following groups:



In reference to the historical political party and as defined by Merriam-Webster, a federalist is someone who favors a strong centralized national government.

The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies is an organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers and others dedicated to debate of these principles.

The World Federalist Movement. "World federalists support the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and call for the division of international authority among separate agencies."

See also

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