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Multiple Government Polity

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Most modern western audiences, especially in the United States of America, are used to modern local/sub-national governments acting like miniaturized versions of their national government. However, historically that wasn't always the case and some fiction reflects that by having large nations be composed of many small, semi-independent polities with their own distinct forms of government, legal systems or cultures.

How these types of polities form can vary. In some cases, The Federation might form from an alliance of kingdoms and republics, which afterwards retain their original traditions and constitutions. The Hegemonic Empire might also allow subjugated governments to run their territories for them, intending to benefit from both having to spend fewer resources and manpower to oversee them and by making them less resentful and thus less likely to revolt.

This kind of polity tends to be prone to Allowed Internal War, however. The High King is often the leader of this type of arrangement, since he may command the fealty of multiple lesser monarchic, feudal or tribal governments under his banner.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Overlord (2012): After Ainz unintentionally vassalizes the Empire, there are only two major changes in the law, as Ainz has quite enough trouble ruling his own domain: the place of Nazarick denizens (above everyone else), and condemned criminals are to be shipped off to Nazarick. And it turned out one guy was framed, so he was sent back to the Empire. The Emperor is seen to be a lot happier once this happens, both because he no longer has to worry about Ainz invading him, effortlessly destroying the work he and his ancestors worked so hard to build up over the years, but also because Nazarick now uses its own inexhaustible military to defend the Empire's borders (he finds that his workload is now vastly lightened, because whenever a complaint he can't deal with himself comes to him, he only has to send back "take it up with Ainz" for the complainer to suddenly decide it wasn't that important).

    Fan Works 
  • Earth's Alien History has the Terran Treaty Organization (later rechristened the Galactic Treaty Organization), which is formally The Alliance but in practice is basically The Federation. Its charter (heavily based on the United States Bill of Rights) does enforce certain democratic and republican principles and freedoms as requirements for membership, but its members are otherwise granted full autonomy in both internal and external political matters. There are therefore all kinds of governments involved, from federal democracies to constitutional monarchies to non-totalitarian communist states.
  • Nobledark Imperium: The Imperium operates like this as a result of the galactic distances it stretches over making centralized government effectively impossible and of it tending to expand by confederating preexisting starfaring nations. In general, the Imperium doesn't particularly care how its member states and planets run themselves as long as they pay the Imperial Tithe, don't worship Chaos and don't try to leave, and the modern Imperium thus takes the form of an immense patchwork of semi-independent systems, Craftworlds, alien and human star nations, and nomadic fleets of spaceships, all ultimately reporting to the central Imperial government but largely self-running in their day-to-day internal affairs.
  • A Thing of Vikings: The North Sea Empire is made up of several different countries and smaller fiefdoms within those countries. While there are universal laws that apply to all, they each have their own culture, caste systems and local legal codes.
  • The War of the Masters adds yet more variants of democratic government to the Federation's membership. Baraka, introduced after the Soft Reboot, was settled by neo-Kharijite Muslims and is a constitutional monarchy styled as a caliphate: the caliph, who at present is a woman and a Starfleet combat veteran, is subject to impeachment by a parliament of elected imams.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: The Republic used a parliamentary system, while the Galactic Empire is a fascist dictatorship, but their member states take multiple forms: Alderaan appears to be a hereditary monarchy (albeit a widely popular one with a likely constitutional model), while Naboo is an elective one. Some places like Tatooine, meanwhile, don't have a true planetary government: Tatooine is a de facto Hutt narco-state that is only theoretically under Imperial rule (it's explicitly not a part of the earlier Republic).

  • The Centenal Cycle is an interesting variation. Most of the world is governed by microdemocracy, in which every nation is a population of 100,000 people. However most governments are collations of ideology rather than geography, in which a single government can have microdemocratic states spread across the world. Every election sees this get reshuffled slightly.
  • Eldraeverse: The Empire of the Star contains several polities of different types including direct democracies and corporate states, though not representative democracies as they decided long ago that was a bad idea.
  • Emberverse: The High Kingdom of Montival encompasses a variety of smaller political units. While a number of these are kingdoms, other forms of government are also represented, including representative (Boise) and direct (Topanga) democracies, oligarchies (Corvallis), theocracies (Deseret), tribal councils (the Seven Fires Council), and clan chiefs and councils (Mackenzie).
  • Inheritance Trilogy: The "Hundred Thousand Kingdoms" are all client states to the ruling Arameri family, and send representatives to the city of Sky to participate in a parliament-type body. Old enmities and Allowed Internal War are still maintained, but nobody is allowed to technically shed blood without Arameri permission. This sometimes results in an army waltzing in and conquering a neighbor simply by showing up.
  • Kris Longknife: The United Sentients/United Society (what the protagonist's home planet Wardhaven's political bloc names itself after the dissolution of the Society of Humanity in the first book) is technically a constitutional Elective Monarchy, with a relatively powerful elected king (the protagonist's great-grandfather Raymond Longknife) who serves a single 25-year term and advises the legislature. Member planets are permitted any form of government they choose, provided it's a democracy in some form and makes provisions to protect any minority groups on the planet: New Eden, one of the oldest settled planets in human space, has three vice presidents and three legislative houses (one for each of the original Earth nations that settled it), while Hikila is a constitutional monarchy with a legislature organized along city-state ("port") lines and a queen permitted a veto on measures she views as impinging on the islanders' culture. Wardhaven itself is a center-left-leaning parliamentary republic (Kris's father is prime minister for most of the series, barring a snap election-induced 10-Minute Retirement in Defiant).
  • Paradox: The Alliance is governed on the whole by representative democracy but some member planets are governed by other ways, such as feudalism for the Hinichi.
  • Para Imperium: The Federation of Parahuman Species encompasses numerous planets of different forms of government. Of the three Core Worlds alone Alpha Centauri (the capital) is a Hereditary Republic, Tau Ceti is a post-feudal constitutional monarchy, and Epsilon Eridani is a corporate technocracy.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe and Star Trek Novelverse:
    • Member states of the United Federation of Planets use a variety of forms of democratic government. For example, United Earth has both a president and a separate prime minister (implying a semi-presidential system similar to France), Andoria is a parliamentary republic (formerly a constitutional monarchy whose last queen deliberately died childless during Earth's 1800s), Vulcan has a collegial executive like Switzerland, Trill is stated to have a president and a senate, and Bajor (joined in 2376) is a presidential republic with significant elements of The Theocracy.
    • Star Trek: Articles of the Federation also states that the Articles of Federation (the Federation's constitution) leaves selection methods for Federation Councillors (federal legislators) up to member states: Bajor's is appointed by the First Minister and confirmed by the Chamber of Ministers, while Betazed uses direct popular election.
  • Thousand Cultures: The Cultures operate much like this. There is political continuity, of a sort, as each human world is linked to each other by trade and law, but there is no cultural hegemony, and as long as some basic standards are kept, no one cares much what each government is doing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 2300 AD has the Confederation of Palestine, where the area currently held by Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine becomes one nation with four cooperating governments. Each government rules its own citizens, and the four governments together manage international relations.
  • Lancer: Union is a communistic representative democracy (formerly fascistic) but planetary governments and a few multi-planetary subject polities have different governments. For instance the Karrakin Trade Baronies are feudal while Harrison Armory rules One Nation Under Copyright.
  • Traveller: The Third Imperium is feudal on the interstellar level, owing to the difficulties of galactic governance, but individual planets are left to govern themselves.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The Empire is made up up multiple territories belonging to various nobles, who theoretically owe fealty to the Emperor. There's also the city of Marienburg, which purchased its freedom centuries earlier and which the Empire would very much like to get back, as it's just about the only port where elves will trade.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Given the difficulties in interstellar travel and the vastly different living conditions of different planets, there is little incentive or attempt at making a universal system of government: there's usually a planetary governor who may or may not have inherited his position, and as long as he pays the tithes on time and keeps heresy stamped out he's pretty much left to his own devices (the Inquisition is always happy to send an assassin in cases of incompetence or treachery). Space Marine recruiting worlds and forge worlds are also exceptions to Imperial rule (as much as the Administratum would like to change that), as they form their own hermetic societies within the Imperium.
  • Mindjammer: The New Commonality prefers to absorb rediscovered worlds and cultures, so individual worlds can have a wide range of governments, so long as certain Commonality-wide standards are met. The New Commonality itself is a benevolent oligarchy.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Combat: Like the real-life Soviet Union, the Union of Yuktobanian Republics is composed of multiple autonomous and semi-autonomous republics.
  • Anbennar: The territory of Anbennar is divided between counties, duchies, marquisates, free cities, republics, a dwarven hall, an elven principality, a couple temple states, a mage state, and a knightly order.
  • Crusader Kings II: It's entirely possible to mix-and-match government forms within a given realm, with some areas controlled by theocracies, others by republics or merchant republics, and others under feudalism. There is a -20 opinion penalty from vassals ranked count or above towards a liege of a different government type. It's particularly common for players with feudal PCs to create a vassal merchant republic, which tends to pay more taxes than feudal vassals do.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Throughout the series, the Cyrodiilic Empire has traditionally allowed their provinces to run in a downplayed version of this trope. Typically, when a province is captured by the Empire, a monarch (usually but not always receiving the title of "King") is appointed by the Emperor to rule the land in the name of the Empire. Often, these monarchs are members of the race native to the province in order to foster positive relations with the natives. However, there are a few notable exceptions:
    • One exception who plays the trope straight is Morrowind, homeland of the Dunmer. Protected for thousands of years by their guardian "God-Kings", the Tribunal, the Dunmer were able to resist all takeover attempts by Cyrodiil. However, in the 2nd Era, the Dunmer were blocked from "recharging" their divinity by their reformed ancient enemy, Dagoth Ur. With the legions of Tiber Septim threatening to invade, one of the Tribunal, Vivec, met with Septim and offered that Morrowind become a Voluntary Vassal in order to prevent undue suffering to the Dunmer people. Vivec also offered Septim the Numidium, a Humongous Mecha of Dwemer construction, in exchange for special privileges that the other provinces did not get. These included continued free worship of the Tribunal (although the Imperial Nine Divines religion has to be allowed as well), the continued practice of slavery (which was illegal throughout the Empire), and the continued rule of the Great Houses (although the Empire still appointed a Puppet King of Morrowind). The resulting Culture Clash can be most prominently seen during the events of Morrowind.
    • Skyrim similarly maintains the Nordic system of government, with a king who is elected by the regional jarls (and can be challenged to a Duel to the Death for his throne). This was generally left to benign neglect under the Septim dynasty that rules until Oblivion, as the Nords were generally loyal to the Imperial throne and the dynasty's founder Tiber Septim was originally a Nord warlord and became the Imperial god Talos after his reign... until Skyrim, when a civil war breaks out over the Empire banning the worship of Talos under the terms of their peace treaty with the Aldmeri Dominion. This prompts the nationalist Jarl Ulfric Stormcloak to challenge and kill the loyalist High King Torygg, and the Empire to break with tradition and support Torygg's widow Elisif against Ulfric.
    • There is no indication High Rock has a single figure appointed to rule the land in the name of the Empire throughout the Septim Empire (or its precursor Alessian and Reman Empires and the Potentate), instead being internally divided into a patchwork of smaller feudal governments that recognise themselves as part of High Rock and the Empire but lack any unified administration outside the Imperial bureaucracy (the events of Daggerfall leads to significant consolidation, and one kingdom petitioning for separate provincial status, but High Rock remains divided).
  • Equestria at War: The River Coalition starts out as a loose alliance of multiple small, independent nation, but on the path to becoming the River Federation it begins to fuse all the different nations of the coalition into a greater Federation.
  • Europa Universalis has the Holy Roman Empire (detailed in the Real Life section), although it wasn't until EUIII that different government types existed in terms of the gameplay, thus allowing HRE members to act as different types of government. EUIV can also import save files from Crusader Kings II, allowing one to play as a multi-government polity of their own creation.
  • Fire Emblem: The Lycian League of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade are a collection of duchies and marquisdoms, each with their own ruler but allied and pledged to support one another if one comes under attack. At least, that's the idea; in practice, some of them prove quite willing to sell each other out when The Empire comes calling.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky: The main setting is a form of this. The Kingdom of Liberl is a traditional hereditary monarchy ruled by a queen. It's divided into five regions made up of a capital city and the surrounding villages and farms. Each city is run by a mayor, but the position varies in the different regions; Rolent's leadership selection process isn't specified, Bose's leadership is implied to be hereditary, Ruan's leadership is explicitly run by a hereditary nobility (and experiments with democracy after the mayor is arrested and stripped of his position without an heir), and Zeiss is a corporate dominion run by the local Central Factory and doesn't have a mayor (the factory's director also handles governance.) Meanwhile, Grancel is the seat of the national government and is therefore governed directly by the Liberl queen and doesn't have a local government.
  • Mass Effect: The Citadel is essentially a Fictional United Nations, with the ruling Citadel Council, composed of representatives of the asari, turians, and salarians (and later the humans), given close to absolute power in mediating disputes between members. Member states vary in governance: the Asari Republics are a confederation of e-democracies (with considerable variation between them), the Turian Hierarchy is a meritocratic military dictatorship, the Salarian Union is a feudal state, and the human Systems Alliance is a federation of Earth nation-states and colonies.
  • Stellaris: Although some AI personalities and ideological factions don't get along with certain types of government, the game allows dictatorships and democracies to get together and form a Federation, or for one to vassalize another.

    Real Life 
  • One of the earliest recorded examples was the Achaemenid Persian Empire (you know, the one established by Cyrus the Great). The Persians had a reputation for not caring how their subject peoples ran their domestic affairs as long as they paid their taxes and didn't revolt. As a consequence, various dynasties and even forms of non-monarchical rule were allowed to continue in certain parts of the empire, the upshot of which was that not much changed on the ground after the conquest:
    • Since most of Persia's pre-conquest neighbors were monarchies, the Persians generally just let that continue. Typically, what happened was that the last independent ruler would have been given an opportunity to surrender and remain on the throne as a Persian governor/vassal.
    • The Greek cities of Ionia (what is now western Turkey), had generally followed the Greek pattern of Athens-like democracy. When they first took Ionia, the Persians didn't really know what to do with this, but after an Ionian Greek revolt not long after their conquest, they just shrugged and let them have their Athensesque constitutions.
    • Phoenicia was historically a collection of republican city-states ruled by maritime oligarchies. The Persians gladly let this continue so long as the Phoenicians supplied the Shah with a Mediterranean navy.
    • The Jews were famously languishing in exile in Babylon at the time of Cyrus's conquest, and Cyrus (just as famously), allowed them to go back to Judah, where he allowed them to establish a theocracy under the High Priests.
    • A major exception: Certain subject peoples who had resisted fiercely and were prone to revolt were not permitted native rulers, and were directly subjected to Persian governors as overlords.
      • Egypt was a particular headache for successive generations of Persian kings—the fiercely proud Egyptians just wouldn't stop revolting.
      • Babylonia was closer to the Persian homeland than Egypt, so it didn't have quite as much opportunity to revolt. However, Babylon itself was made a secondary capital for the whole empire (because of its size, fertile hinterland, strategic central location within the empire, and transportation links), so between that and the native Mesopotamians getting resentful at these Persian parvenus from nowhere ruling over them, the Persians kept the region on a very tight leash.
  • After Alexander the Great conquered the Achaemenid Empire, he and his successors generally continued the Persian policy of noninterference with local systems of government to stay in place, at least at first (some rulers later tried to mess with this, which is why, e.g., the Jews rebelled against the Seleucids when the Seleucid king tried to mess with the High Priests' authority). Post-Alexandrian Greek kings also would often found new city states inside their empires, often with a government based on the Athenian constitution, and give them a great deal of autonomy.
  • The Roman Republic and early Empire tended to leave the prior governments of their provinces in place, albeit watched by a Roman governor and a few Legions to keep them in line. Though sometimes these local rulers and ethnarchs got unruly and were deposed and replaced with direct Roman rule, as with Cleopatra.
  • After the death of Mongke Khan, the Mongol Empire broke up into four — the Yuan Dynasty in China, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Golden Horde in Southern Russia and the Ilkhanate in Southwest Asia. While the other three accepted the Yuan Emperor as khagan, they were largely independent in internal affairs. Although the division started over a succession crisis, each fragment quickly developed different economies, cultures and foreign policies — the Yuan integrated into Han Chinese culture, the Chagatai retained their nomadic lifestyle, the Ilkhanate allied with Crusaders against the local Muslim rulers, and the Golden Horde allied with Muslims against the (Christian) princes and republics of Russia.
  • Medieval France was this until the reforms of Louis XIV. For a while, Normandy was de facto ruled by the king of England. Post-revolutionary France, not so much.
  • The Holy Roman Empire was a patchwork of feudal estates, clerical states, and free cities. Towards its end, the joke about it was that it didn't fulfill any part of its name.
  • Historically, this was the norm in south and southeast Asia. An emperor would receive taxes and tribute and sometimes regulate trade by standardising weights and currency. Local rulers would deal with almost everything else. While the Chola empire of south-eastern India was (relatively) centralised, it also took this idea to its logical conclusion, dividing the empire into tributaries and mandalams (duchies), which were in turn divided into valanadus, then kottams and finally villages. Even the villages had considerable autonomy over internal affairs. Such systems were often used to pacify regions that had religious or cultural differences from the capital. For example, the Chola (Shaivite Hindu, Tamil) empire directly ruling the Buddhist Sri Lanka or Sumatra, or the culturally distinct Bengal region, could cause unrest. Similarly, the (Muslim) Mughals usually maintained the local Rajput princes of Hindu-majority Rajasthan in return for military support.
  • The German Empire was a federation consisting of four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies (six before 1876), seven principalities, three free cities, and the federal territory of Alsace-Lorraine. The free cities were republics with elected mayors, while Alsace-Lorraine had an appointed governor in charge. The remaining states kept the constitutional monarchies they had before unification. The imperial government itself was a constitutional monarchy with the German Emperor also being the King of Prussia.
  • Similar arrangements continued in colonial empires that left local governments in place but subordinated them to European rule. For example, The Raj's princely states were under the leadership of native monarchs who became voluntary vassals of The British Empire in exchange for cementation of their local status. The Dutch East Indies (modern-day Indonesia) likewise had a number of autonomous sultanates (Zelfbesturen or "self-rulees"), beholden to the colonial government but more or less sovereign over their own citizens; the modern Republic of Indonesia is presently a parliamentary presidential republic but the province of Yogyakarta is governed by a hereditary Sultan.
  • After the Napoleonic Wars, Norway (then part of Denmark) was awarded to Sweden against the wishes of its people. Norway refused, declared independence and fought an unsuccessful war. In 1814, both countries signed a ceasefire which gave Norway considerable independence. In return, the Norwegian Parliament elected (not acknowledged) Carl XIII of Sweden as King of Norway. The union lasted until 1905, when Norway unilaterally declared independence.
  • The People's Republic of China has two special administrative regions, Hong Kong (a former British colony) and Macau (a former Portuguese colony), with local governments that are allowed multiple parties in elections. There's also five autonomous regions whose governments are given more local authority in making some laws; these regions generally correlate to having high numbers of non-Han Chinese.
  • States of the United States of America all have a government fairly similar to the federal government, with an executive governor, a legislature, and a court system. (It is, in fact, written into the Constitution that all states are to be governed as republics.) However, there is nothing that prevents American states from experimenting with new structures of (democratic) government, so long as they are "republican" in nature (as required by the text of the Constitution, so no making up a Principality of Delaware with a Du Pontnote  as ceremonial constitutional monarch, even if it's otherwise fully democratic) and respect the principle of one-person-one-vote (under the Supreme Court's jurisprudence regarding the Fourteenth Amendment). Of course, that’s exactly why segregation lasted as long as it did (the "one-person-one-vote" case law didn't come into the picture until the 1962 Baker v. Carr and 1964 Reynolds v. Sims). As the general rule of American law is "If it isn't prohibited it's permitted", how a state's government functions varies a lot from one to the next:
    • At the state level, governors and lieutenant governors have varying levels of power, lieutenant governors might be elected by voters or selected by the state's legislative body or just not exist (five states don't have one), a state's judges and cabinet secretaries might be directly elected or appointed by the governor (federal judges and secretaries are appointed by the President), Louisiana uses civil law based off of the French system rather than the English-derived common law used everywhere else, and Nebraska has a nonpartisan and unicameral legislature (unique in the country).
    • The powers and responsibilities of a county (or its equivalent — Alaska has boroughs, Louisiana has parishes, the District of Columbia isn't part of any state, and one city each in Maryland (Baltimore), Missouri (St. Louis), and Nevada (Carson City), and all cities in Virginia aren't part of any county) in a US state also vary considerably by region. Southern and Western states in general have the strongest counties and the greatest responsibilities, with them being responsible for things like school districts, museums, airports, and law enforcement/fire departments for the smaller towns which can't afford their own. Hawai'i has the strongest county governments, to the point that there are actually no municipal governments below the county level — what people think of as Honolulu is actually the most populated part of the consolidated City and County of Honolulu, aka Honolulu County, and serves as the de facto capital of Hawai'i. At the other extreme, New England counties are so weak they're functionally nonexistent in day-to-day life and are pretty much relics of the past (several in Massachusetts and all in Connecticut and Rhode Island don't even have functioning governments anymore and only exist to define the boundaries of the local judicial districts), with towns and cities taking up the slack for things below state level and talking directly with the state government for matters that affect both levels. Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states' counties are usually somewhere in between.
    • At the local level, many cities have a "city manager", a civil servant hired by the town council, rather than an elected mayor. Some cities even have both, in which case the city manager usually holds most of the actual authority while the mayor is more of a ceremonial position with, at most, some token executive powers, or a member of the council that's representing the City as a whole. Some municipalities don't have a single mayor so much as a mayoral council among whom the position of mayor rotates (more common in the Northeast).
    • A "charter township" in Michigan (the only state in the nation to have such a community) is run by a township board that's typically led by a supervisor (and may sometimes have an appointed superintendent or manager).
    • Historically, there was greater variation with a number of states trying various ways of doing things; the most famous is probably Pennsylvania's Constitution of 1776, which experimented with a unicameral legislature and multi-member ("directorial") Supreme Executive Council rather than a unitary governor. (This system inspired both the short-lived Directory of the post-Thermidorian First French Republic and—through that—the current structure of Switzerland's federal government.)
    • Jurisdictions under Native American tribal law also have legal autonomy from the rest of the country. For example, some Native nations profit greatly from casinos because they're the only places in a given region that allow gambling (though this doesn't necessarily benefit the average person living on the Rez).
    • The US also has several unincorporated island territories: Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. These territories are self-governing but (like Washington, D.C.) have limited representation in the US federal government.
    • The United States is not a direct democracy at the national level, but all 50 states have some degree of referendum processes ranging from extremely limited to the ability to petition an amendment to their state's constitution.
    • States are responsible for running the country's actual elections and most elections are determined by first-past-the-post, but a few elections use ranked-choice voting instead. At the highest levels for state and federal offices, Alaska and Maine use this system as of 2022.
  • The United Kingdom is so named because it's comprised of four countries: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. (Note that the first three are located in Britain, while Northern Ireland is of course on the neighbouring island of Ireland, the rest of which comprises the independent Republic of Ireland.) As per this trope, the countries outside England have gained a degree of political autonomy over the years. Also note that surrounding Britain are a number of islands (The Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey, as well as the Isle of Man and The Falkland Islands) that exist as self-governing Crown dependencies outside the UK proper.
  • While all thirteen states of Malaysia have a unicameral legislature and like the federal government have a Westminster-style system (the british from of parliamentarism), Negeri Sembilan is the only one that is an Elective Monarchy like the federal government. Eight are hereditary monarchies and the other four have governors appointed by the country’s elective monarch. Negeri Sembilan is also different from the federal government, while the local chiefs much like the kings of the nine royal states (Negeri Sembilan and the eight hereditary monarchies) are the elector, they do not run themselves instead, they elected the king from the princes of the royal families.
  • Canada was established as a confederation of several pre-existing polities under British dominion in 1867, with more gradually joining over the next several decades. Even setting aside the northern territories, the divvying of powers and responsibilities between Ottawa and each of the provinces is different than that of its southern neighbor — for example, the criminal code is uniform across the country but provinces are allowed to raise tariffs on commerce between each other to some extent.