LAND.) Germany.—The constitution of Germany under the empire (1871-1918), whilst presenting many aspects peculiar to itself, was so far federal that the Bundesrat, in which the component States were represented by their delegates, was "the authoritative representative of the body of German sovereigns and the senates of the free cities" (Woodrow Wilson, The State, p. 264). The im perial chancellor was a member of this body, it initiated the bulk of legislation, could veto any bill proposed by the Reichstag (pop ularly elected assembly), and exercised important administrative and judicial functions. But the predominance of Prussian in fluence in the Constitution was ensured by the unequal repre sentation of the states; whilst the powers of the states were liable in most cases to reduction by the federal legislature even without their own consent. The Weimar constitution of the German re public approached still more nearly to a unitary type. The pre dominance of Prussia had been greatly reduced, and every state had at least one vote in the Reichstag though, apart from this pro vision, representation in this body was on a population basis. But the principle of popular sovereignty was explicitly asserted, and the Reichsrat had only a limited veto upon the legislation of the Reichstag (Art. 74). Further the provisions of the Constitution defining the powers of the Reich were so widely drawn as to leave little scope for State activity. German writers are themselves divided upon the question whether the constitution was federal or unitary; it was in fact a compromise between advocates of the two systems in which the supporters of a unitary democracy had gained more than their rivals. (See R. Brunet, trans. J. Gollomb, The German Constitution, 1923.) The United States.—The United States of America in some respects resembles the Swiss federation, though retaining marks of its English origin. The original 13 states were colonies wholly independent of each other. By the articles of confedera tion and perpetual union adopted by the Continental Congress in 1777, and in effect in 1781-89, the states bound themselves in a league of common defence. By the written Constitution, drafted in 1787 and in operation since 1789, a stronger and more central ized union was established—a federal republic formed by the voluntary combination of sovereign states. A common citizenship was recognized for the whole union ; but the federal government was to exercise only such powers as were expressly delegated to it (amendment of 1791). These powers are, however, much more extensive than those enjoyed by the Confederation, and the Fed eral Government acts directly upon the citizens through its execu tive judicial officers. The powers of the central government are entrusted to three distinct authorities—executive, legislative and judicial. The president, elected for a term of four years by elec tors chosen for that purpose by each state, is the executive head of the republic. He chooses and dismisses his own cabinet, mem bers of which are responsible to the president and not to the legis lature for the policy and administration of their departments. The vice-president, ex officio president of the senate, assumes the presidency in case of resignation or death. Legislative power is vested in a Congress consisting of two Houses : a senate, com posed of two members elected by each state for a term of six years; and a House of Representatives, consisting of representa tives in numbers proportionate to the population of each state, holding their seats for two years. The supreme judicial authority is vested in a supreme court, which consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, all appointed for life by the president, subject to confirmation by the senate.
The Commonwealth of Australia (q.v.) proclaimed in 1901, is another interesting example of self-governing states federating into a united whole. There is, however, a striking difference to be observed in the powers of the federal governments of Canada and Australia. The federal parliament of Canada has jurisdiction over all matters not specially assigned to the local legislatures, while the federal parliament of Australia has only such jurisdic tion as is expressly attributed to it by the constitution, the states retaining legislative control over all subjects not thus expressly withdrawn from them. This jurisdiction is undoubtedly exten sive, comprising power to legislate concerning trade and industry, criminal law, taxation, quarantine, marriage and divorce, weights and measures, legal tender, copyrights and patents, and naturaliza tion and aliens. Moreover the federal principle of equal repre sentation of the States in one house of the legislature is carried out in the Commonwealth act, but was only partially followed in the British North America act.
There was also an early attempt to federate the South African colonies, and an act was passed for that purpose (South African Act, 1877), but it expired on Aug. 18, 1882, without having been brought into effect by the sovereign in council; in 1908, however, the Closer Union movement (see SOUTH AFRICA) ripened, and in 1909 the South African act was passed which set up a Union in stead of a Federation, though, as in the senate, some quasi-federal characteristics were adopted.