Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Federal, Unitary & Confederate Government Systems: Home


Please use the tabs to search for Books, Articles, Web Resources, and Videos. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the Skyline College Librarians.

The three Systems

 Federal System

Power is shared by a powerful central government and states or provinces that are given considerable self-rule, usually through their own legislatures.
Examples: The United States, Australia, the Federal Republic of Germany.

Federal System

Unitary System

One central government controls weaker states. Power is not shared between states, counties, or provinces.
Examples: China, United Kingdom (although Scotland has been granted self-rule).

Unitary System

 Confederal System    


Weak or loose organization of states agrees to follow a powerful central government. Nations can choose to follow or not follow the lead of the weak central government. Examples: The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), formerly known as the Soviet Union. Also, Switzerland's canton system and the Confederate States of America (1861-1865).

Confederation System  

Click on the links here to read articles about the difference between confederation and federation and the difference between unitary and federal states from Encyclopedia Britannica.