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see federal governmentfederal government
or federation,
government of a union of states in which sovereignty is divided between a central authority and component state authorities. A federation differs from a confederation in that the central power acts directly upon individuals as well as
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a state system in which a single sovereign state is composed of several united states, each of which juridically maintains a certain degree of political independence. Historically, the first bourgeois federation was the USA, established by the Constitution of 1787. Other federations include the Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela, India, Pakistan, Burma, Malaysia, Australia, and Nigeria. The USSR, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic are socialist federations.

A federation is marked by the following features: (1) territorial extent, a federation is coextensive with the area occupied by its individual members—its states, cantons, Lander, union republics, or other territorial units; (2) the member states of a federation usually have the right to adopt their own constitution; (3) the limits between federal and state jurisdiction are set forth in the federal constitution; (4) each member state of a federation has its own laws and judicial system; and (5) in most federations, a person is simultaneously a citizen of the union and a citizen of one of its united states. Some federations have a bicameral system in which one chamber represents the interests of the federation’s member states.

Socialist federations, which differ radically from bourgeois federations, are based on another principle entirely. In the USSR and in the socialist countries, for the first time in history the state system of federation has become the basis for resolving the national question. The socialist federations are based on the principle of national territoriality and the voluntary union of the sovereign and equal members of the federation, each member having the right to secede from the federation. The development and organization of national states have been influenced by the historical experience of the socialist countries, and particularly of the USSR; this influence is evident in some countries, such as Burma and India, that were freed from colonial dependence and that formed a type of federation consistent with their national makeup.


1. the union of several provinces, states, etc., to form a federal union
2. a political unit formed in such a way
3. any league, alliance, or confederacy
References in periodicals archive ?
Analysis of the division of powers in the field of forest relationswith regard totheir sufficiency and comprehensiveness on each of thelevels.
And lastly, on the reinvigorated division of powers front, Moin Yahya thoroughly examines the reasons for the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in the Reference Re Securities Act.
Politics takes place against the backdrop of that division of powers, even if there is also debate about the scope of regional or state powers.
A key division of power was between the captain and the quartermaster.
Division of powers, as with executive, legislature, and judiciary, was a good first step.
This intergovernmental conference must deal with the topic of division of powers, which means a fundamental reform of all existing European treaties," Mr Gabriel said in his speech on Wednesday.
Thus Monahan's text concentrates on the institutions of government and the division of powers, as well as the nature of the constitution and its amendment.

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