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-- Western Kurdish Cantons -- The democratic confederation of rojava doesn't seem to fit this description, but then, does the concept of democratic confederacy as a post-nationalist political ideology, that draws from the Kurdish experience, merit it's own separate article or meaning? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shomon (talkcontribs) 01:58, 9 February 2015 (UTC)


"The American Civil War was a by-product of the formation of the break-away Confederate States of America by U.S. states allied in their desire to form a looser political union and retain more states' rights for themselves."

I believe it is unclear that states' rights was the reason the confederate states secede. In fact, if you read the confederate constitution, it appears to strengthen the central government, taking away certain powers left to the states under the US constitution.(For example, it disallows states the right to let non-citizen residents vote.)

I agree with the above. The CSA was about a strong a federation (rather than confederation) as the USA was (the US federal government has undoubtedly greatly expanded in its scope and power since the American Civil War); I have re-written that entire reference to the CSA. 06:10, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

"The European Union ... is a confederation of sovereign states without a central government"

Is this true? There's the Parliament, the Court of Justice, the Commission (which has a President and executive powers), and the Central Bank. What else do you need to form a government?

No, it's not true. The EU does have a central government, but it's not a state. Defense, Currency, Foreign Affairs, etc. fall largely under the auspices of the individual state.
At the most it is the early stages of a confederation, but not a confederation proper.
It's not as clear cut as it's being presented here. If you read the french article in Wikipedia, you will see the discussion where some/most legal experts would argue that it is in fact a state. Certainly there is a consensus that it is a sui generis entity. It has some aspects of a state, confederation/federation and an intergovernmental organization. Defense, currency and foreign affairs are now all subject to a common policy. Although, this is relatively new and obviously the member states still have wide latitude. Also by this test, one would have to say that Liechtenstein is not a state as well as many other states like Monaco, etc.
Currency falls largely under the auspices of the EU not individual states, The main thing holding back the EU from being a Confederation is its lack of a declaration of such.

Here is an exert removed from the main article:

Traditional confederation style government has been rare in modern history, although many countries have identified themselves as such (i.e.: Confederate States of America, German Confederation, Canadian Confederation, etc). The term "confederation" is thus used as a synonym of "federation." Confederations can be unstable, as was the case with the early United States in which dissatisfaction with the loose Articles of Confederation led to a much stronger central government under the Constitution of the United States.

It was replace by:

Sometimes confederation is erroneously used in the place of federation. This can be a simple slip in expression or can come from a belief that they mean the exact same thing. This can also arise from Confederations that became Federations(the German Confederacy became the Federal Republic of Germany,) or when the status of a state is ambiguous such as the United States of America, (which although has a stronger central government than when it started, still has one much weaker than that of most federations.)

I don't know who wrote it, but Canada is a federation and has never considered itself a confederation. The Confederation of Canada never existed. It has always been more properly called the Dominion of Canada, or earlier the Canadas (Upper and Lower Canada). Just because it has a Confederation Day doesn't mean it has ever called itself a confederation.

Also, Germany is known as the Federal Republic of Germany, if it has ever called itself a confederation, it was back when it was a confederation. Much like the United States of America could very well be called a federation now, but started out as a confederacy. Whether or not it is a federation or confederation is up to debate.

Before it is used as a rebuttal, the only time states tried to separate from the union, the war was described as a war on slavery, not a war to prevent succession. Although most other languages and many other cultures call it a succession war the American public usually considers it simply for abolitionism. It could therefore be considered (and is implied by the way the union government described the war at the time,) as a sovereign entity attacking a de facto sovereign entity for the imposition of moral values (proper emancipation or abolitionism,) and annexation of territory.

Canada is officially called the Confederation of Canada and even though it is now a federation it was originally a confederation of British colonies. --Numerousfalx 12:34, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I could be wrong, but I don't believe that this is true. Canada is a confederation. Membership is voluntary. The Sovereignty movement, and the referendums for Quebec independence is evidence of this. It is my understanding that had Quebec voted for independence; they would have, voluntarily through majority vote of residence, given up membership within the nation of Canada. I do not believe that a federation would have allowed such a referendum to take place.

Does the Kingdom of the Netherlands count as a confederation? It doesn't meet the "many regions" criterion. But if it's not a confederation, what is it exactly? Peking Duck 20:57, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It could be called a commonwealth or an empire, similar to the British Commonwealth/Empire. Of course, I'm not sure about this. Weatherman667
Current day Netherlands is not a confederation: the provinces are not sovereign. The relations between the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles don't count either, because they are autonomous parts, where the Dutch government can interfere in case of a crisis . The historical Republic of the Seven United Netherlands would count.
It's a federacy. —Nightstallion (?) 13:13, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I removed the part about the Confederate States of America not being a Confederation as it was deliberately organized on the basis of the Articles of Confederation. The result being their subsequent loss to the Union due to their disorganization of their war effort. --Numerousfalx 12:31, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)


I find this article extremely butchered. Looking at this page, the definition of what is a Confederacy is ridiculously vague. It's completely indistinguishable from a Federation. Mind trying to clean it up? - Kade 00:40, 9 Dec 2004 (UTC)

OK - I am sorry if this is not in a more sensible place, but... I also believe the explaination of the differences/similarities between a confederationand a federation are unclear. Can't there be a more simplified, summarized answer? - Anonymous

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth[edit]

Was Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth a confederation or federation ? Having common parliament and foreign policy but separate armies ? Lysy 19:15, 10 Apr 2005 (UTC)

PLC never had common foreign policy. Commonwealth is simply Commonwealth. See discussions in Talk: Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Ringaudas

Certainly I know this discussion which clearly states that there was a common foreign policy and where you're the only person who thinks there wasn't, while not having any grounds to support these claims. Lysy 20:01, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Smotrisj v knigu - videsj figu. Please study History of Lithuania and you find hundreds examples which show that in PLC never was common foreign policy. Antimonkey

Thank you. By the way, whay are you signing your statements with all those different names ? Lysy 21:04, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lysy own up, are you tutejszy? Its very interesting for me. From bezdany, geni or vorniany? Antimonkey

I don't know what you tried to tell me now. I simply asked what is the reason you're signing your statements with those fictious names ? Is it supposed to confuse your opponents ? Lysy 21:31, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Lysy I ask very seriously - are you tutejszy or not? Antimonkey

I cannot answer that question beacause I don't understand what is "tutejszy". You'll need to help me here. Lysy 00:43, 12 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think you understand very good. And I think you are tuteišas Antituteišas

So, let's get back to the original question by Lysy: how would you (I mean the wikipedians, not the multi-faced anon) call a state with common parliament, head of state and foreign policy yet with separate armies and offices? Halibutt 08:42, May 6, 2005 (UTC)

Here's an idea- why don't we just remove any reference to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from this page, so that this silly conflict can be had elsewhere, and this poor page in very sore need of improvement can be unlocked and editted?--Conwiktion 03:37, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC)02:25, 25 January 2006 (UTC

to polish "administrators"[edit]

Why did you protect false polish version, but not discussed (see Talk:confederation -> above) last version? 10:21, 3 May 2005 (UTC)

Please discuss your edits here and when consensus has been reached the article will be unprotected--nixie 10:46, 3 May 2005 (UTC)


When this discussion has been resolved I'd like to note here that Canada has to be further included in the revised article. It wasn't just an event or word that can describing the amalgamation of the British North American colonies. Canada is in fact, the only surviving confederation in the world today(according to the World factbook). Though we are a parliamentary democracy, "all of Canada's sovereignty can theoretically be exercised by either the federal or provincial governments; there is nothing that one or the other government cannot do." -- Canadian law:Constitutional law (Wikibooks)

I'm not aware of another country that has states or provinces that have that much control over their jurisdictions. Quebec is an example, of the hieght of the power in which Canadian provinces can wield. Provinces don't have to participate in federal programs or in federal positions. Once again using quebec as an example, there is very little the province is involved in federally. Most of their programs are Quebec created and they have become so "independant" there have been many sovereigntist moves there.

Fully agree with you. Zivinbudas 17:00, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
Canada ceased to be a Confederation with the 1982 constitution, but even then, Foreign Affairs were first considered as Ottawa's business; now, although Quebec does have some degree of autonomous foreign involvement, it has only internal powers in its own right: the Federal Government can withdraw our right to maintain a Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Snapdragonfly 09:00, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Canada has never been a "confederation" as that term is generally used in political science. The official name of Canada has never been "The Confederation of Canada" (as Numerousfalx wrote above). Canada is not "the only surviving confederation in the world today"; Zivinbudas misunderstood the phrase he quoted. It is true that the 1867 legal event creating the Dominion of Canada is commonly referred to as "Confederation", but that is a distinctly Canadian usage of that term; it has nothing to do with the concept of "confederation" as defined in this article. --Mathew5000 04:14, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
The federal British colony of Canada was formed in 1867 united three, not four, British colonies, namely, Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, not Upper Canada, lower Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Upper Canada and Lower Canada were united in 1840 as the Province of Canada. I have corrected accordingly. Hebbgd (talk) 16:02, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
"I'm not aware of another country that has states or provinces that have that much control over their jurisdictions." On the contrary I argue that the 27 states within the European Union have even more autonomy than the Canadian provinces. (talk) 09:41, 29 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm going to remove this fairly quickly: Not only is Canada a federation, the federal level of government has more power than that of our American neighbours. Now it is true that, in theory, the Notwithstanding clause allows any province to violate the charter of rights and freedoms and that Quebec has already done so by enacting certain parts of Bill 101. However, to claim that this single isolated incident is indicative that we are a confederation is akin to saying that Michelle-Jean's prorogue of parliament to avoid an upset in government indicates that the Queen still holds the true power. In theory, yes, BC Legislative Assembly could use the notwithstanding clause change it's criminal law, just as the Governor General could return executive power to the throne and Eli could order us into Iraq. Canadian government's theoretical operation has always been different from our actual operation. (talk) 00:50, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
BC could not use the notwithstanding clause change its criminal law for the simple reason there is no BC criminal law. The Canadian constitution gives civil law to the provincial government and criminal law to the federal government (although provinces administer justice, including criminal law enforcement and trails). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Derek Pyne2 (talkcontribs) 20:04, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Consensus on PLC[edit]

Could the editors of this page please comment on the necessity of the inclusion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth on this page. If we can reach concensus the page will be unprotected.--nixie 09:50, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was classical confederation (See this article) - it had:

  • Different governments.
  • Different armies.
  • Different treasuries.
  • Different laws.
  • Different teritories with borders.
  • Different citizenships.

It never had common capital. There were capitals of both Nations - Vilnius of Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Cracow, later Warsaw of Kingdom of Poland. It had common monarch - Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, common Parliament (Seimas, Sejm) and common currency. Zivinbudas 14:15, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

  1. What are different governments in a monarchy with no government? There were double offices, but not governments. The Senate was common, as was the Sejm.
  2. As with all offices, the military commanders (hetmans) were doubled. However, both the army formed in GDL and the one formed in the Crown were subject to the king and fought in the same ranks and the same battles. Territorial levy is the term you might want to check.
  3. Indeed, the treasures were kept separate.
  4. The basic set of laws and privileges was the same for both the inhabitants of GDL and the Crown.
  5. Indeed, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was divided onto several large entities we could call cantons nowadays: Lesser Poland, Greater Poland, Lithuania, Ruthenia (Ukraine), Prussia and Inflants (the number varied at times, especially after Prussia and Inflants were lost).
  6. Different citizenships? How come?
  7. Different capitals? If the capital is where the monarch resides, then it had a common capital. If the capital is where the highest authority (Sejm) is located, then again, there was onl one such place (though at various times the Sejms were held in various towns: Piotrków Trybunalski, Warsaw, Grodno...

--Halibutt 14:39, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

Was Prussia part of PLC?(!) After that nothing is to discuss about with you. All what you said above simply isn't truth. Zivinbudas 14:55, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Apparently you never heard of Royal Prussia... Halibutt 15:59, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

This seized by poles part of Prussia wasn't all Prussia. In Koenigsberg article polish falsificators state that Koenigsberg (Karaliaučius) was part of PLC as well. Wikipedia is full of such cheap polish falsifications. History won't change because of that rubbish. Zivinbudas 16:25, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes.. the rest was a Polish fief Ducal Prussia.--Witkacy 07:14, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

I think the difference between federation and confederation and then between confederation and international organization might be hard to define, because evry political entity is unique with it's own laws and way of relationships between different parts of that entity. Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth might be called confederation probably because of various already mentioned reasons (as for laws BTW: Lithuanian statutes were sometimes even going against Polish laws and such). I think the solution might be to explain in this article better what I said here, that the naming of federation/confederation/international organization is quite relative and such, and also instead of just giving "examples of confederations" to separate those examples into several bunches depending on level and types of confederation (what was common and what wasn't), or, perhaps even better, in the list after each example explain that shortly (e.g. Serbia and Montenegro, this and this is common between both parts, this and this is kept separate). Maybe make a table. The name "List of historical cofederations" could then be changed to "List of entities considered to be confederations" or something like that. PLC could then also be included, and in that explaination explained what was common between GDL and crown and what was separate. I think it would be a good solution DeirYassin 19:36, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

I second that. Halibutt 21:54, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks Deir Yassin, your suggestion makes sense and would so some way to cleaning up the page. I'll wait to hear from Zivinbudas to see if he agrees, and other if any other interested parties have somwthing to add, then there shouldn't be any problem unblocking the page--nixie 23:33, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

The proposal of DeirYassin is logical. Zivinbudas 06:14, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

The article has been unprotected as there seems to be a concensus to discuss the PLC in a section on this page. --nixie 07:51, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

I started implementing this; expplained the relativity of term confederation, also added EU to the list section and changed name of list to "entities considered confederations". I tried to write some explaination on what is controlled by states and what by central government in EU; however of coruse that is not complete; those who knows thinsg on this subject as well as other confederations, please add similar info in brackets everywhere.DeirYassin 09:09, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

As I wrote on the PLC talk few weeks ago, it is difficult to apply modern terms like (con)federation to historical entities. We can forever argue that PLC was a confederation or federation, because in fact it had the qualities of both, so both sides are right. Thus I propose that we put PLC in a category: entity with qualities of both federation of confederation. I had already such a note to the PLC article when it was unprotected for short time recently. I hope that satisfied all involved parties, feeel free to suggest improvement to this change, of course. When I am sure Zvinbudas will not simply replace all occurances of federation with confederation, as he has done for the past 2 months, I will agree for unprotection. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 09:41, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
In fact, as I said previously, it is difficult to apply these terms even for current entities, such as EU; therefore I proposed this, that after every mentioning in that list in brackets it would be explained what institutions were common, and what - separate in each state and such. Because otherwise it can be argued about many entities, tight confederations might seem to be federations and loose confederations - international organizations, therefore there is now a list of entities considered confederations; explainations in brackets will help each reader to decide also because evrery (con)ffederations relations between subjects is different, there cannot be a real definition here, so examples will help. DeirYassin 12:00, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Its your POV. I don't change my position - PLC was classical confederation. As to Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth article, I repeat again - there wasn't common capital in PLC, personal union between Lithuania and Poland existed with considerable breakes and there were many official languages in PLC (not only polish and Latin) - for example polish became an official (wrighting) language in GDL only in 1697 (replacing Old Russian Chancellary Language). Zivinbudas 10:24, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, it is my POV. However, you have your own POV, don't you? I will agree with your POV IF you can cite your sources since Wikipedia is no place for orginal research and statements. If you can give me the academic sources which state PLC was a confederation (and for breaks, capitals, languages, all you find arguable), I will support your version on those points. Deal? --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 11:43, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

"Confederation" as Polish organization[edit]

The definition of "confederation" in this sense may need revision. Such an organization was not a "privilege" but an entity formed to attain a certain end. Nor was it limited to the nobility; a number of "confederations" were formed by cities. logologist 06:57, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

It has its own article, see confederatio. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus Talk 09:28, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Non-state confederations[edit]

A confederation is an association of sovereign states,

This is incomplete. There are plenty of private organisations that are called Confederations. One famous example is the Confederation of British Industry.

Morwen - Talk 13:16, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

You are absolutely right, ie Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists. Zivinbudas 13:30, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Here is another one: Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (talk) 09:50, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Canada Day[edit]

There was a translation of Fete du Canada as Feast of Canada. It is obvious that the correct translation is Canada Day. -- 23:35, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

I distinctly remember that Dominion Day was called Confederation Day between Centennial Year (1967) and 1982. It was not really an official name, but a popular name, probably because 'Dominion Day' sounded so archaic and because the national pride generated by Centennial Year was still fresh in our minds. We didn't feel tied to Mother Britain, after 100 years, and a new name for our very own holiday was appropriate. Grandma Roses


Confederacy and Confederation are two different things! A confederation is an established republic where the states have more power than the federal government. A confederacy is an organization against a (or the concept of) federation. Confederation is a government, Confederacy is an organiztion against a government.

  • Sorry, no. A Confederacy is simply a collaboration. The "con" is from the Latin, meaning "with." The "contra"/"against" meaning came much later through the Germanic. TimB 00:54, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

DE FACTO[edit]

The United Arab Republic is listed as "de facto" confederacy, while nominally it was a unitary state. The same happens for other countries too. I think the "de facto" label should be explained (what does it means and why this definition was retained for each of the concerned countries). Otherwise those "de facto" nations should be removed. 20:38, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

This is a comment: u ppl hav no life if u edit offence but its kind of true unless its a school assignment. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:00, 2 December 2010 (UTC)


I think that you should add the prime ministers n the parties they represented during conferation? i mean, it is during that time, right? And I think you should add the timeline of when the provinces entered conferation, the conferences, the 72 revolutions, fathers of on. please?


Why did John A.macDonald want confederation, can someone help me out and answer please...thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by Snowhock (talkcontribs) 17:12, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


Wouldn't the EU qualify? I would love to hear the arguments on both sides to the argument, common currency , there is an EU president. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:58, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

I would say yes--Ezzex (talk) 17:38, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Of all the labels applied to the EU, "loose confederation" is probably the best one. So please explain, or I'll take out, as the note on the page as the first post in this topic is over 3 months old. - BillCJ (talk) 22:07, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
A confederation is by definition loose.-- (talk) 01:51, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Compared to a federation, yes. But there are are confederaions that are "looser" than others, and so with federations too.
the EU is NOT a confederation —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:03, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Than what is it? A bagel? A platypus? - BillCJ (talk) 17:17, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Seriously, what is the EU? It's not a supra-national union, nor a nation, nor a federation, nor a confedetration, nor a country, but sometimes it is any one of those, depending on what WP article you read, and what POV addition some author want to make there. As I understand national organizations and structures, the EU fits the definition of a confederation far better than any other definition. I would add the term "loose", but not everyone makes that distinction. So please stop adding silly hidden notes see the article "Federal Europe for EU facts", since there are NO citations in the section claiming the EU is not a confederation. - BillCJ (talk) 21:43, 26 March 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not work on proving a negative. Your assertion offends WP:Synthesis and WP:POV. You have to produce a single valid official (not some euroseptic commentator) statement that the EU is a confederation. Read the entire European Union article - if the EU is a confederation, someone will have found a citation saying that is is so. You won't find one, because it is not. You can't just go bunging stuff into Wikipedia because in your opinion it fits the definition. --Red King (talk) 00:26, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for providing a correct link. My point was that there was a direct statement to the effect the the EU was not a federation or confederation in the article linked in the hidden note, which claimed the article had proof the EU was not a confederation. That statement is uncited, and hence can't be used as a reference. I actually do understand WP policy pretty well. d I was operating under the assumption that it's common knowledege that the EU fits the definition of a confederation, regardless of what political expediancy calls the EU in a particular context. If I'm right, it won't be hard to find a verifiable source to back up my assumption, and if I'm wrong, it will be!
I ask again though, for the third time on this page: What is the European Union? Can some one give me a short answer that doesn't require wading through long pages of verbage, qualifications, and mis-definition? Again, I don't expect a simple answer; I sincerely doubt the EU actually know what it is!
This is the Lead paragraph of this article:

A confederation is a group of empowered states or communities, usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution. Confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues, such as defense, foreign affairs, foreign trade, and a common currency, with the central government being required to provide support for all members. A confederation, in modern political terms, is usually limited to a permanent union of sovereign states for common action in relation to other states.[1] The main differences with a federation are: (1) No real direct powers: many confederal decisions are externalised by member-state legislation. (2) Decisions on day-to-day-matters are not taken by simple majority but by special majorities or even by consensus or unanimity (veto for every member). (3) Changes of the constitution, usually a treaty, require unanimity.

Does that not describe the EU to a tee? How is the EU different than that? (Don't worry about sources at this point, as I won't be putting any of this in the article at this point. THis is just for discussion.) - BillCJ (talk) 01:04, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
The European Union is what it says it is, through its founding Treaties (which see). Nothing else matters. Specifically, your opinion doesn't matter (nor mine for that matter). To say anything other that its definition of itself is WP:OR and WP:Synthesis and may not stand. (talk) 01:09, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

If the Euopean Union is what it says it is, does that also hold true for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and other Democratic People's Republics? On a broader note: I came here expecting to see a reference to the EU which used to be in this article, and I was surprised to see the reference was gone. Regardless of whether the EU is a confederation or not, the EU's nature is so closely related to the concept of a confederation that no mention whatsoever in the main article seems incomplete. -- Eric

Really what I'm trying to get across is that there are some in the European Union who want it to be a federation and there are others, currently the majority, who do not want it to be a federation. So it would be entirely misleading to state here that it is a federation when it is not, no matter how much it looks that way from the other side of the world. --Red King (talk) 23:38, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic community of twenty-seven member states, located primarily in Europe. It was established in 1993 by the Treaty of Maastricht, adding new areas of policy to the existing European Community founded in 1957.

(Article European Union). Is that what you wanted?

It is not the United States of Europe - the reason for the edit notes directing people to "Federal Europe" was because that article gives the many ways in which it is not a confederation. --Red King (talk) 01:14, 27 March 2008 (UTC)

No, I wanted something with a direct citation to a reliable source. As written, the Lead is OR. So the various German, Polish, etc. confederations were the "United States of . . . ". Hmm, interesting. But now at least I understand why the vehemenent denial of being a confederation - US-phobia! Btw, I think you may have the worng article: Two sections in Federal Europe mention "confederation", but nowhere say why the EU is not a confederation, as you claim. Those sections aren't cited either, which has been my contention on that article all along. - BillCJ (talk) 01:31, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
PS, I read through the Talk: European Union#Editorial proposal: "loose confederation", and I have a better understanding of the issues involved in calling the EU a confederation. That would be a better place to send people than Federal Europe, which helps in absolutley no way. The section Federal Europe#'United States of Europe' completely mistates what US state was under the Articles of Confederation (AOC) and the early years under the US Constitution. THe states did not immediatley losethere sovereignty under the AOC, and in some ways had more sovereingty than current EU members do now. Much of their sovereignty was ceded to the Federal Government under the Constitution, but it was not doen overnight. In fact, many states claimed the right to reject federal laws or secede from the Union until the US Civil War settled the issue by force over 70 years later. The article paints the process in the US as an instant change from confederation to federation. In reality, it was a gradual as the processes leading the to formation of the EU, and to whatever "final" form it will take. - BillCJ (talk) 01:48, 27 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I certainly accept that. It is true that the article as it stood was ignorant of the history and current status of the States of the Union - rather than try to hit a real target, it is much easier to create an imagined target and hit that! (See Don Quixote :) Eurosceptics are good at that.) Anyway, having read States rights, I realised what you meant and deleted the offending text. --Red King (talk) 23:38, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Definition vs Switzerland[edit]

I am unhappy with the line in the definition "...without however constituting a new state on top of the member states". Surely this cannot apply in the case of Switzerland which acts and is recognised as a "state" in it's own right whle at the same time being a confederation of its constiuent "states" (Cantons). I can't change it to a better definition without some authoriative resources. Is it possibly the case that Switzerland, despite being called a confederation is in reality more of a weak federation? (it's a genuine question not a presumption of fact so feel free to explain why this is or isn't the case). My own understanding is that a Federation is an organisation that devolves certain significant powers from the central government to its constituent states/regions, whereas a Confedeation is where a group of autonomous states devolve certain significant powers to a central government to act for them as a whole. I use the word significant in both cases: 1. to contrast a genuine federation to what are simply tiers of national and regional/local government 2. to contrast a genuine confederation to a looser arrangement of cooperation such as customs union or shared defence strategy. Dainamo (talk) 16:27, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Canada as a confederation[edit]

"...Canada, however, is a federation, not a confederation."

Canada is indeed a confederation, because the Canadian Crown defines it as such. Queen Elizabeth II is simultaneously The Queen of each of all the Provinces, as well as the entity known as 'Canada;' she is not Queen of, say, British Colombia because she is Queen of Canada, but rather she is Queen of both British Colombia and Canada. Structurally, this clearly makes Canada a confederation of Crowns - which is to say, legally distinct political entities - which all happen to be 'worn,' if you will, by the same individual. Additionally, The Queen is the Monarch of the United Kingdom, and Canada, and Australia, and New Zealand, et cetera, but it would be a distinct misunderstanding to say these countries were in a Federal system of some sort.

The manifold Crown is the result of how Canada developed, as being an amalgamation of separately governed Provinces of the British Crown; each Province still has powers resultant from this process, notably the codified process of secession from Canada.

Camden Rennis (talk) 23:52, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

Unfortunately, Canadian Confederation doesn't agree with you. Please check the citations there. --Red King (talk) 00:27, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

"Canada is a federal state and not a confederate association of sovereign states, the usual meaning of Confederation." "Provinces and territories that became part of Canada after 1867 are also said to have joined, or entered into, Confederation (but not the Confederation). Confederation is, loosely translated, a confederation of colonies."

From the Canadian Confederation page.

It seems the page is confused on this point as well. Using the first quote, Canada is indeed a confederation of sovereign states, because the sovereignty of each Province is not lost upon Confederation. The Queen remains Queen of British Colombia, whether or not BC is part of Canada.

We could be locked in a war of semantics for quite some time, so I'll sidestep that for a different approach. There is an obvious spectrum of centralised government, from highly unitary systems, such as France, on one side, and a highly decentralised system like Canada (or indeed Switzerland, which also calls itself a Confederation). France is so highly centralised it doesn't even make claim on being a Federal system; it is, quite simply, a unitary State. Switzerland is the functional opposite of this system, but still maintains elements of Federalism, such as a unitary foreign policy, federalised monetary and banking systems, et cetera, as well as federally-binding plebiscites. Canada, although a bit more centralised than Switzerland, is definitely much closer to that end of the spectrum than where the French system lays, or even American system.

It would be very easy to argue semantically over whether or not Switzerland is a true confederation. In such circumstances, perhaps it is best to go with what a country calls itself, unless it seems an obvious bold-faced lie. This is clearly not the case in either Switzerland, or Canada.

Camden Rennis (talk) 17:19, 11 December 2009 (UTC)

Canada is a federation (like the United States or Australia), not a confederation. The confusion comes from the fact that confederation has a different meaning in Canada. In Canada, confederation means "the act of forming a federation". (This usage is unique to Canada.) Hence, we often talk about the "Canadian Confederation" (or the "Fathers of Confederation"), which was the time when Canada became a federation. But Canada is not a confederation. The "Canadian Confederation" was an event, not a system of government. (talk) 14:17, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

WP articles aren't sufficient for citing sources - you still have to cite the original source when adding new material, even when it's from another article. Incidently, this definition protion of thaat article is not cited either. - BilCat (talk) 03:02, 17 January 2011 (UTC)
Please stop capitalizing (in the the article; I WP:DGAF what you do in talk) the world "confederation" every time it appears in a sentence that relates to Canada. This is English, not German; we do not capitalize random nouns simply for being nouns. It should be capitalized in the phrase "Canadian Confederation", not otherwise. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 15:18, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


Thomas Jefferson referred to America as a "confederation" during his presidency. I don't know how late this usage hung around, but should it be noted? source:

Cameron Nedland (talk) 19:34, 19 July 2010 (UTC) -- (talk) 09:41, 30 March 2011 (UTC)


I removed the following paragraph as it was insufficiently sourced: "By definition[when defined as?] the difference between confederation and a federation is that the many memberships of the member states in a confederation are voluntary, while the membership in a federation is not.[1]" While that definition may obtain for that source, I am not at all certain that it would be accepted by most other authorities. --Khajidha (talk) 21:01, 16 February 2012 (UTC)


The article says many refer to Belgium as having aspects of a Confederation but does not say what they are we should add them — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:57, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Introduction and Confederation versus Federation[edit]

The Introduction could be more clear about the distinction between "confederation" and "federation". Someone work on this please. Thanks, ... PeterEasthope (talk) 03:14, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Soviet Union?[edit]

Should the Soviet Union be listed as a technical confederation, in how it claimed to be structured (with its individual republics as de jure independent states - hence why Ukraine and Belarus could be founding members of the UN, despite not achieving true independence until half a century later)? (talk) 04:11, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Section - Arabia during Muhammad era[edit]

This section seems to be a description of a military alliance formed to fight a particular battle rather than a confederation as used in the rest of the article. It also seems to be the work of a single editor.

I think it should be removed but does anyone else have an opinion? (talk) 23:18, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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