A confederate system of government is one where regional, or state, governments hold most of the power and the central government is weaker. The central government holds only the amount of power that the smaller political units allow it to exercise. This type of government is much less common than federal or unitary systems.
The main advantages of the confederate system of government is that it keeps the power of the central government in check. Citizens of the various states within the confederation need not fear that a strong central government is going to take actions that harm their region. The central government only involves itself in matters that involve cooperation among the states.
This system also has certain disadvantages that make it difficult to function successfully over time. A weak central government has great difficulty enacting and collecting taxes, which makes it hard for the central authorities to enforce laws. The central government is often unable to settle disagreements between the various states as well.
The main areas of activity for a central government in a confederate system are providing for the common defense and dealing with trade issues among the member states. One well-known historical example of a confederation is the Confederate States of America.Learn More
The advantages and disadvantages between unitary, confederate and federal forms of government are in the way they maintain law and order. Basically, the major differences between these forms of government come down to how they share political power and recognize sovereignty. These differences include a state absolutely controlling legislation, several states executing external and internal policy or states collectively following two sets of law.Full Answer >
The constitution of a nation is the set of rules that governs how a government can exercise power. The constitution usually allocates different powers to various institutions and determines how they should exercise their powers. It is important to have rules that regulate how a government exercises its power because a government is usually the most powerful coercive force within a country.Full Answer >
The Articles of Confederation, the document that outlined how the United States would be governed prior to the Constitution, was written in 1775 on the principle of individual state independence and gave no power to the central government. The Articles outlined a loose alliance of sovereign states rather than a country, but because the central government could not even levy taxes, the Constitution was drafted in 1787.Full Answer >
What makes federalism unique is that the distribution of power between state and national government is such that it is not clear who has the final authority. In practice, the tendency in most countries has been for the federal government to have the greater share of power.Full Answer >