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Federalism is a political concept in stem of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent political units (like states or provinces). Federalism is a system in which the power to govern is shared between national and provincial/state governments, creating what is often called a federation. Proponents are often called federalists.

In Europe, "federalist" is sometimes used to describe those who favor a common federal government, with distributed power at regional, national and supranational levels. Most European Federalists want this development to continue within the European Union. European federalism originated in post-war Europe; one of the more important initiatives was Winston Churchill's speech in Zurich in 1946.[1]

In Canada, federalism typically implies opposition to sovereigntist movements (most commonly Quebec separatism). The same is historically true in the United States. Advocates of a very small federal government and stronger state governments are those that generally favor confederation, often related to early "anti-federalists" and later the Confederacy in the United States.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India and Malaysia among others, are also federal countries.

Federalism may encompass as few as two or three internal divisions, as is the case in Belgium or Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ecclesiastic and theological federalism also exist within some Christian denominations.

In general, two extremes of federalism can be distinguished.[clarification needed] In practice, however, there is always a mixture of both.[citation needed]


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