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Relating to the general government or union of the states; based upon, or created pursuant to, the laws of the Constitution of the United States.

The United States has traditionally been named a federal government in most political and judicial writings. The term federal has not been prescribed by any definite authority but is used to express a broad opinion concerning the nature of the form of government.

A recent tendency has been to use the term national in place of federal to denote the government of the Union. Neither settles any question regarding the nature of authority of the government.

The term federal is generally considered to be more appropriate if the government is to be viewed as a union of the states. National is used to reflect the view that individual state governments and the Union as a whole are two distinct and separate systems, each of which is established directly by the population for local and national purposes, respectively.

In a more general sense, federal is ordinarily used to refer to a league or compact between two or more states to become joined under one central government.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
defects of our foederal union, and to procure the enlarged purposes
the Foederal Constitution, and adding thereto such further Provisions as
45, supra note 53, at 293 (James Madison); see also Editorial, supra note 320, at 245 ("The Confederation points out what positive powers the Congress ought to have: the foederal Constitution points out what positive powers the Congress actually shall have.').
(391.) Letter from a Well-Informed Correspondent, to His Friend in this City, on the Subject of the Proposed Foederal Constitution, VA.
state a mass of influence in favour of the Foederal Government."
agency in giving effect to the Foederal Constitution." (138)
36, supra note 1, at 226 (Alexander Hamilton) ("[T]he Foederal Government may ...