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A union of states in which each member state retains some independent control over internal and external affairs. Thus, for international purposes, there are separate states, not just one state. A federation, in contrast, is a union of states in which external affairs are controlled by a unified, central government.

See: affiliation, alliance, association, band, body, cartel, chamber, coalescence, committee, compact, concert, confederacy, consolidation, contribution, federation, integration, league, merger, partnership, party, pool, society, sodality

CONFEDERATION, government. The name given to that form of government which the American colonies, on shaking off the British yoke, devised for their mutual safety and government.
     2. The articles of confederation, (q.v.) were finally adopted on the 15th of November, 1777, and with the exception of Maryland, which, however, afterwards also agreed to them, were speedily adopted by the United States, and by which they were formed into a federal @bod y, and went into force on the first day of March, 1781; 1 Story Const. Sec. 225; and so remained until the adoption of the present constitution, which acquired the force of the supreme law of the land on the first Wednesday of March, 1789. 5 Wheat. R. 420. Vide Articles of Confederation.

References in periodicals archive ?
But for now we want to set up a confederal state in this country .
At this point, whatever can be said of the structural variables - the failure to achieve institutional political stability under Tito's rule, the inability to resolve a challenge to move from a federal to confederal system, a rapidly escalating and intractable economic crisis, the failure of the West to understand the likely horrible consequences of a series of rapid secessions - the critical stake was a legitimacy crisis, which was not occurring in isolation among political leaders, but in the minds of the Yugoslav people, too.
Similarly, however tangled the surface relations of the Somali factions appear to be, there is a firmer subsoil in which a network of village elders, a common religion, culture, ethnic origin and identification may ultimately support national reconciliation and the establishment of a reasonably unified federal or confederal governmentally, the flat desert terrain and weakly organized opposition to the U.
He demanded the framing of a new confederal constitution without using the word "confederal".
Another reason for the delay is that the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) attempted to introduce 30 changes as a filibuster to stall the whole session dealing with the progress report.
Greens leader Giorgos Perdikis said the Greek Cypriots need to convince the international community that they want a solution as soon as possible, adding that it is the Turks that remain intransigent, "sticking to the same extreme confederal positions and partitionist proposals".
However, Judith Kirton-Darling, confederal secretary of the European TUC, said jobs in the region would be put at risk if the UK left the EU.
Wales could decide that it made sense to devolve responsibility for defence to the confederal Parliament.
The SSPLA/SSPLM is fighting to establish United Sudan base on confederal system whereby the central government is based in Khartoum and represented by all two Sudan states".
The ideal alternative to both strategies is a peace process that aims not to create two states, but rather to establish the political and economic basis for a single confederal state.
In January 2011, the Christian/animist people of South Sudan will have a referendum on separation from the Muslim North or on keeping Sudan unified but under a federal or confederal system.
It is not year clear what direction the Obama administration would take in this respect, as Vice President-elect Joseph Biden has for years called for divid-ing Iraq into three main parts under a federal system or a confederal formula.

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