FEDERAL GOVERNMENT (Lat. fcecleratus, bound by treaty, from fcedus, a treaty). When several states, otherwise independent, bind themselves together by a treaty, so as to present to the external world the aspect of a single state, without wholly renouncing their individual powers of internal self-government, they are said to form a federation. The contracting parties are sovereign states acting through their repre sentatives; and the extent to which the central overrules the local legislature is fixed by the terms of the contract. In so far as the local sovereignty is renounced, and the central power becomes sovereign within the limits of the federated states, the federa tion approaches to the character of a union; and the only renunciation of sovereignty which a federation as such necessarily implies, consists in abandoning the power which each separate state otherwise would possess of forming independent relations with foreign states. " There arc," says Mr. Mill, " two different modes of organizing a fed eral union. The federal authorities may represent the governments solely, and their acts may be obligatory only on the governments as such, or they may have the power of enacting laws and issuing orders which are binding directly on individual citizens. The former is the plan of the German so-called confederation, and of the Swiss consti tution previous to 1847. It was tried in America for a few years immediately follow the war of independence. The other principle is that of the existing constitution of the United States, and has been adopted within the last dozen years by the Swiss confederacy. The federal congress of the American union is a substantive part of the government of every individual state. Within the limits of its attributions, it makes laws which are obeyed by every citizen individually, executes them through its own officers, and enforces them by its own tribunals. This is the only principle which has been found, or which is even likely to produce an effective federal government. A union between the governments only is a mere alliance, and. subject to all the con tingencies which render alliances precarious."—Represogative Government, p. 301, 302. One of the chief difficulties which arise in organizing a F. G., consists in discovering by what means disagreements between one or more of! the local governments and the central government as to the limits of their respective powers, are to be disposed of. The arrangement by which this object Was sought to be effected in America, of which M. de Tocqueville expressed his admiration, is thus explained by Mr. Mill: " Under
the more perfect mode of federation, where every citizen of each particular state owes obedience to two governments—that of his own state, and that of the federation—it is evidently necessary not Only that the constitutional limits of the authority of each should be precisely clearly defined,- but that tho .power to decide between them in any case of dispute should not reside in either of the governments, or in any func tionary subject to it, but in an umpire independent of both. There must be a supreme court of justice, and a system of subordinate courts in every state of the union, before whom such questions shall be carried, and whose judgment on them, in the last stage of appeal, shall be final. Every state of the union, and the F. G. itself, as well as every functionary of each, must be liable to be sued in those courts for exceeding their powers, or for non-performance of their federal duties, and must in general be obliged to employ those courts as the instrument for enforcing their federal rights. This involves the remarkable consequence, actually realized in the United States, that a court of jus tice, the highest federal tribunal, is supreme over the various governments, both state and federal, having the right to declare that any new law made, or act done by them, exceeds the powers assigned to them by the federal constitution, and, in consequence, has no legal validity."—(P. 305.) "The tribunals which act as umpires between the federal and state governments naturally also decide all disputes between two states, or between a citizen of one state and the government of another. The usual remedies between nations, war and diplomacy, being precluded by the federal union, it is neces sary that a judicial remedy should supply their place. The supreme court of the fed eration dispenses international law, and is the first great example of what is now one of the most prominent wants of civilized society, a real, international tribunal. Mr. Mill's confidence in this remarkable tribunal, in which De Tocqueville shared, was disappointed. It proved unequal to the strain on the constitution caused by the politi cal jealousies which in 1860 culminated in the great secession war. But, in ordinary circumstances, there is no reason to question its value in vindicating either federal or state rights.