Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government with regional governments in a single political system.

Federalism: Crash Course Government and Politics #4 by CrashCourse


Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism by the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established.

US Federalism For Dummies: American Government Review by Hip Hughes


It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status.


Federalism differs from confederalism, in which the general level of government is subordinate to the regional level, and from devolution within a unitary state, in which the regional level of government is subordinate to the general level.

A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate.

Devolution is the statutory delegation of powers from the central government of a sovereign state to govern at a subnational level, such as a regional or local level.

A confederation is a union of sovereign states, united for purposes of common action often in relation to other states.


It represents the central form in the pathway of regional integration or separation, bounded on the less integrated side by confederalism and on the more integrated side by devolution within a unitary state.


Leading examples of the federation or federal state include the United States, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Argentina, Australia and India.

A federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central government.


Some also today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states.

The European Union is a politico-economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.

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