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The Federation

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United-Nations-esque logo and soothing blue tones optional, but recommended.

Fry: DOOP? What's that?
Farnsworth: It's similar to the United Nations from your time, Fry.
Fry: Uh...
Hermes: Or like the Federation from your Star Trek program.
Fry: Oh!

The (mostly) good counterpart to The Empire, generally a democracy and/or presided over by Reasonable Authority Figures, and a superstate composed of many different nations and races, inspired by the structure of the United States or the United Nations. The actual name may vary, but not by much. It is likely to have the words "Federation", "United", "Alliance" or equivalent verbiage somewhere in the official title.

In most sci-fi settings, the Federation is predominantly human (or composed of humans, Human Aliens and Rubber-Forehead Aliens), usually commands a fleet of Standard Human Spaceships, and is most likely to look the closest to 20 Minutes into the Future when the other factions may be Crystal Spires and Togas, Organic Technology or both. Expect its Capital to be the Shining City and its citizens to wear anything but Spikes of Villainy or Putting on the Reich.

Rarely evil, but will sometimes suffer from red tape, and the occasional corrupt politicians and/or generals. When they are evil, The Federation will oppose the independence of its colonies, whether space colonies in orbit, Mars or other planets in the system, or on entirely different systems. Even in this case, the main opposing force may be shown to be Well Intentioned Extremists and/or an example of The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized, willing to hurt innocent people to try to gain their independence, or worse, being used as a front for a truly evil Big Bad. The heroes will usually be either among the good soldiers of the Federation or neutral parties who get caught up in the war; this is especially true in anime. In this case, The Federation will be seen as the lesser of two evils. Occasionally you will get a People's Republic of Tyranny or The Dictatorship.

If pitted against The Empire, is usually in a Cold War-like state, just recovering from a recent war, or a few international incidents from plunging into one. They often give covert aid (weapons, funds, supplies) to any resistance movements, but won't intervene directly unless they're already at war. In general, it frequently plays an America-like role in the political climate of the setting. If there's a movement to overthrow or undermine it, it's likely The Remnant.

A "federation" is a relatively loose conglomeration of states with common goals and purposes, coordinated by a central government that's independent of them all, and from which they have a certain amount of autonomy. The oldest continuous federation and probably the best known example in the real world is the United States of America (its federal government has over the years grown a lot stronger than it originally was but the US still retains a federal character). Another example is Russia: not only is its official name "Russian Federation", but most of the lands with a significant ethnic population, like Chechnya, are highly autonomous regions known as "republics". The Swiss Confederation is also an example. It should be noted, however, that many so-called "federations" in fiction are nothing of the sort. If the group acts much more like a single country than a bunch of mostly autonomous states, it's probably The Republic.

Note that a "Confederation" is typically a conglomeration of states that are even more loosely bound than a Federation, the primary difference is that in a Confederation, the federal good is 'never' allowed to outweigh the good of the individual state. Switzerland is a modern example of a successful confederal democracy (today, however, it is a federation that retains the name of a confederation). The United Arab Emirates is an example of a confederation of absolute monarchies.note  Some authors consider the European Union to be a confederation, though it is usually seen as a unique, sui generis entity. In fiction, Confederations are typically portrayed as (at best) antagonistic neutrals and at worst, bad guys. This seems to be a holdover from The American Civil War. It should also be pointed out that word "Confederation" as a term predates the term "Federation" and the original meaning of Confederation was basically understood to be the same as the Federation. A good rule of thumb for the difference between the two types of organizations is that in confederations, member-states are allowed to leave through a usually codified process.

Compare and contrast The Alliance, usually a more temporary union of nations against a common enemy. Also compare the Fictional United Nations, where the overall governing body is weaker, it may contain both good and evil members, and it is much less unified (no unified military, and not treated as a single state by outsiders).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Code Geass, the European Union, Middle East Federation (though they only last about two minutes when actually depicted), Chinese Federation and United Federation of Nations are all opposed against the Holy Empire of Britannia.
    • In Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, it turns out the European Union is just as corrupt and elitist as Britannia. They call the Japanese Elevens (which itself is a Britannian term) and are willing to send them into kamikaze strikes, promising their families citizenship if they do so.
  • Several in the Gundam series. The Federations are portrayed as flawed at best and The Dictatorship at worst:
    • The Earth Federation in Mobile Suit Gundam. It does not allow citizens in space colonies to vote or have any say in politics (and it was responsible for exiling many of the colonists to space in the first place), leading to many, many independence groups forming. However, it's the "gray" in the series' Black-and-Gray Morality, contrasted against the Nazi-emulating Principality of Zeon.
      • The Federation gets worse in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, with the Titans — a corrupt branch that is just as bad, if not worse, than Zeon and ruthlessly suppresses any opposition, including gassing a whole colony.
      • After the Titans are purged the Federation is less actively malicious, but still corrupt and ineffectual. Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ sees most Federation officials more concerned with currying favour with the Big Bad than stopping her, while they're merely worryingly oblivious in Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack (and, in this case, the heroes technically work for them).
      • Mobile Suit Gundam: Hathaway's Flash shows them at their absolute worst since Zeta as the elite have outright turned to slave labor as a means of punishing dissenters.
      • When you actually look at the history, the Federation is going through one long decline throughout the entirety of the Universal Century, so much so, that by Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, it is pretty much irrelevant, and in G-Saviour it has collapsed completely to be replaced by CONSENT (which is the other trope).
      • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn shows the aforementioned downfall and attempts at reversing as being a long, protracted consequence of the Federation's Start of Darkness: the concealment and manipulation of Laplace's Box (itself containing the original, utopian vision for the Universal Century), all in an effort to maintain power over all humanity.
    • The United Earth Sphere Alliance of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, appropriately enough, evolves from The Alliance to this over several decades before the series begins. While its leadership on Earth is mostly accepted as peaceful if heavy-handed, it becomes the target of the protagonists for its military rule over the colonies in space. In a subversion, it's overthrown early in the series, but its legacy holds on throughout.
      • The Earth Sphere Unified Nation from later in Gundam Wing, in contrast, is one of the most benevolent and peaceful examples in the whole Gundam franchise. Ironically, it's founded by the aristocratic Romefeller Foundation to finally end Earth's conflicts under the name of the "World Nation".
    • The Atlantic and Eurasian Federations in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Though part of an alliance of Earth superstates, they're the major influences of that side. Typical for Gundam, both have negative aspects. Though allies, both powers mistrust each other. The Atlantic Federation is prejudiced against Coordinators, influenced by the Blue Cosmos terror group. Meanwhile, the Eurasian Federation is almost entirely opportunist, attempting to steal from or subvert its allies in an attempt to get ahead once ZAFT is out of the picture. The Altantic Federation ends up pulling an Eviler than Thou in both wars, first sacrificing the Eurasians at JOSH-A, then outright attacking them when they try to switch sides with the Destroy.
      • The Earth Alliance (aka OMNI) as a whole qualifies. At the surface, it's just self-interested and ineffectual. The problem is that its military high command is controlled by Coordinator-hating Blue Cosmos adherents, and too many of its industrial and economic leaders are of the War for Fun and Profit variety. It's shown that, while most of the civilian council don't seem outwardly villainous (they'd rather fix Earth's energy crisis than wipe out the other side), they don't have the guts to stop people like Azrael from walking over them.
    • The Earth Sphere Federation from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is just a pawn for a tyrannical mastermind, abusing its political power against whoever opposes his reign — and do not forget his right-hand men, the A-LAWS, either. Once the A-Laws and it's masters fall, the Federation becomes much more nicer. By the time of the movie, the Federation is pretty much near Star Trek's level of benevolence. In addition there's The Union of Solar Energy and Free Nations and the Advanced European Union (AEU). Averting the franchise trend, both groups are actually pretty nice, save for their Cold War with each other and the occasional political turmoil with it's members.
    • After War Gundam X has the United Nations Earth in the Backstory. It is mostly destroyed in the subsequent Colony Drop seen the prologue, but is subsequently reestablished by the middle of the series as the New United Nations Earth.
    • The Federation from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE follows the Gundam pattern of not being especially benevolent to anyone who opposes them. Also, its decision to cover up a failed Mars colonization attempt rather than rescue the colonists is the reason the war is going on at all.
  • The Demon Empire in Helck is made up of 15 nations and their various races can work to fight larger threats. Despite the name, they are not The Empire, but humans certainly believe they are.
  • Played with in Hetalia: Axis Powers. The first episode of the anime shows a "world meeting" that is an obvious parody of the UN. Considering that the entire episode had the characters arguing and doing nothing, it's more of a subversion... or maybe not enough of a subversion.
  • The Free Planets Alliance from Legend of the Galactic Heroes is an example of a Federation treated realistically: Its democratic ideals doesn't protect it from tyranny any more than the autocratic ideals of the Galactic Empire condemns it to tyranny.
  • Locke The Superman, the manga series by Yuki Hijiri, features two examples : The original Galactic Federation and the New Federation established after the short interval rein of Galactic Empire.
  • The Time/Space Administration Bureau from Lyrical Nanoha might be this, since they're shown acting very much like it. On the other hand, the only leadership we've seen or heard are admirals who do some civilian-leader-like tasks usually handled by elected officials, implying a military dictatorship. And the brains in jars, but they were a shadow government. Its all so vague they might still be this anyway, though, its just hard to tell.
  • Prince Planet is about the titular agent coming to Earth to decide if we're ready to join the Galactic Union of Worlds.
  • With humanity on the brink of extinction, they unite under the United Nations with its own Space Navy in Space Battleship Yamato.
  • The Union in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry, pitted against the evil rebel Deague.
  • The United Nations in Super Dimension Fortress Macross, which becomes the more decentralised New United Nations in later Macross shows as human-Zentraedi civilization spreads across the galaxy and incorporates more species into it along the way. They are referred to as the "United Earth Government" in the Robotech version of the series.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: The Galactic Union in the OVA canon is a textbook example of the "United Nations" type, consisting of a number of human polities in an uneasy truce, including the protagonists' native Empire of Jurai; their rivals, the theocratic nation of Airai that worships the Choushin, and the oligarchical polity of Seniwa, whose ruling families (especially the Kuramitsu one) are very influential in the Galaxy Police. With them are allied several non-human nations, most important of whom are the powerful race of humanoid felines called Wau.
  • The Space Federation from Welcome to The Space Show put an embargo on travel from The Moon to Earth meaning the stranded protagonist have to organizer flights to a distant galaxy and then to Earth. They maintain a strict Alien Non-Interference Clause but somehow built a Mega City sized base on the dark side of The Moon without humanity noticing.

    Comic Books 
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF works for the Extraplanetary Defense Force, the main military branch of the Confederation or Con Fed for short. There's also the the Enchawah Corp. (A Zaibatsu-style conglomerate of planets).
  • The Tophan Galactic Union from Alien Legion. The titular Legion is a military branch based on the French Foreign Legion.
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars! had the United Animal Federation which was led by the United Animal Security Council.
  • The Federación de Planetas Federados (Federation of Federate Planets), a sort of parody from the Spanish comic-book Fanhunter.
  • The Coalition of Planets from Invincible sent Allen The Alien, their Champion Evaluation Officer to Earth to test the capability of its main superhero.
  • The Council of Galaxies from Invincible Ed sent an agent to grant a human superpowers in order to stop us from wiping ourselves out but accidentally splits them between a nerd and a bully.
  • The Great Universal Alliance in the Mexican comic Karmatrón y los Transformables is a mix between the Federation and the United Nations.
  • The United Planets in Legion of Super-Heroes.
    • By the time of DC One Million, the United Planets has dwindled to one artificial solar system that its core planets were relocated to. The United Galaxies has succeeded the UP as the Galactic government.
  • The Galactic/Intergalactic Council unites most of the space empires of the Marvel universe. Is benevolent to the universe as a whole but sees Earth as a threat due to its high number of metahumans and magic users.
  • In Monstress, the Federation of Man is the primary human government of the setting. Meanwhile, the Arcanics are organized more along the lines of a feudal confederacy, with the Dawn and Dusk Courts lording over much territory in the continental interior, a Wave Court operating in the ocean, and various city-states scattered around.
  • The Web (no relation) in Nexus is miserably corrupt and often self-destructively stupid, but it's opposed by the Sov Empire, which is out-and-out evil. Nexus's world of Ylum tries to have as little as possible to do with either of them.
  • The Viewer who gives The Pro her powers, observes Earth and waits until humanity is ready to join the Galactic Alliance of Sentient Beings.

    Fan Works 
  • Taking after the Galactic Republic (which existed many years ago in this fanon), the Trans-Galactic Republic of the Star Wars/Mass Effect crossover Fractured (SovereignGFC) starts off looking like the Federation — it somewhat randomly swoops in and saves a galaxy doomed to become Reaper chow but that has some consequences. In the sequel, Origins, the Trans-Galactic Republic begins to possibly drift toward The Empire thanks to some machinations by its intelligence service...
  • HERZ: In this setting the UN is becoming a world government de facto. Many state-nations and Great Powers are sick with its interference, and a bunch of conflicts military organization HERZ has to deal with are born from that clash.
  • In the Star Trek (2009) fanfic "Star Trek: Genesis", the Enterprise encounters another organization calling itself "First Federation". Subverted in that they are willing to at least condone genocide in the name of space exploration.
  • The United Galaxies in the Golden Age series is a coalition of at least four separate species (counting the trolls outside the Condesce's controll) that spans several galaxies. It is in direct contrast to the far less benevolent Alternian Empire.
  • Earth's Alien History has the Terran Treaty Organization, or TeTO. It starts as, and in theory still is, more a case of The Alliance, being officially just an economic/defensive pact. In practice, however, it has grown increasingly centralized, so much so that by its second century of existence (by which point it's the primary power bloc of the Alpha Quadrant) that despite the autonomy still afforded to its members, it's practically a singular entity.
  • For the Glory of Irk has the Galactic Syndicate, which is a democratic alliance of planets.

    Film - Animated 
  • In the Captain Sternn segment of Heavy Metal, one of Sternn's many crimes is theft of Federation property. It's likely this government that's punishing him.
    • The planet Eden in Heavy Metal 2000 is referred to as a "Federation Assigned Kitogenic Killzone".
  • The United Galactic Federation of Lilo & Stitch and Lilo & Stitch: The Series, sometimes called the Galactic Alliance.

    Film - Live Action 
  • The Intergalactic Council of Superior Species from Absolutely Anything consists of four aliens who test planets by turning one of the locals near omnipotent for 10 days and judging how they act. If they pass they get to join, if they fail the planet is destroyed. They've been testing planets for years but still only have four members.
  • The United Systems mentioned in Alien: Resurrection. The Expanded Universe says it's made up of Earth's major nations and four extrasolar colonies.
  • The Fifth Element has the United Federation. Earth seems to be a major player as the president lives there.
  • Forbidden Planet refers to a United Planets group a few times during radio calls. Some fans like to pretend the transmissions were garbled and the reference was actually "United (Federation of) Planets." The film was very influential in the development of Star Trek.
  • The Last Starfighter has the Star League. Basically the Federation, except all we see are two-person starfighters and a base to launch them. In this movie, Earth is still in the early 80s, so instead of humans, the closely humanoid but more advanced Rylans of planet Rylos are the predominant species we see in the Star League, although it's stated there are other species and member worlds. However, many of the assembled aliens are implied to be from planets that are not formally part of the League. They were recruited for their warrior tendencies from planets that Centauri and the Rylans imply are home to species known for their ferocity, as League member worlds were too enlightened and peaceful to produce effective warriors to serve as Gunstar pilots. Alex's case is unique not because he was recruited from outside the League, but because his planet, Earth, is a primitive world watched over by the League but not yet deemed suitable for contact.
  • In The Sixth World, all nations have come together to launch the Mars mission, including the Navajo nation.
  • The United Citizen's Federation of Starship Troopers is more of a People's Republic of Tyranny and The Empire than a Federation, being a highly militaristic and quasi-fascistic state seemingly run by a military hierarchy, complete with a Propaganda Machine. Civil rights are surprisingly good though, and racism and sexism seem to be almost entirely absent. Though the military itself is very poorly run, the general population seems to enjoy a reasonably comfortable standard of living. However, free speech is heavily restricted: anyone speaking against the Federation gets hanged. Ordinary murderers are tried, convicted and put to death within a day-on live television (it's also heavily implied that the "murderer" shown is really a political prisoner). You also only become a full citizen with voting rights by earning them through Federal Service - the film and the book follow characters serving in the military as their Federal Service - otherwise you're considered a "civilian". Surprisingly, conscription seems to be unnecessary since people will enlist to gain full citizenship anyway. In fact, this was part of Robert A. Heinlein's vision, since he loathed conscription.
  • Star Wars plays with this trope:
    • The Galactic Republic. In its last years the Republic was corrupt, which eventually led to the formation of the Galactic Empire. Despite this, the Old Republic was remembered fondly as a beacon of civilization and peace.
    • The Confederacy of Independent Systems. An unwieldy alliance of disaffected star systems and greedy corporations, they were in practice far from benevolent, despite the idealism of many individual members.
    • Averted with the Trade Federation, which was a federation In Name Only and was instead a Mega-Corp with political influence. It ended up as a founding member of the above-mentioned CIS.
    • After defeating the Empire at the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance reorganized into the New Republic and implemented numerous reforms to prevent their new government from making the same mistakes the previous Republic did. The New met the same fate as the Old when Starkiller Base took out the Hosnian System, the Senate with it.
  • Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has the United Human Federation which runs the Alpha a.k.a The City of a Thousand Planets.

  • The Great Circle in Ivan Yefremov's Andromeda Nebula is a communist Utopia of human-aliens civilizations. Not surprisingly the author was a convinced Soviet patriot.
  • Bazil Broketail: The Empire of the Rose is an alliance among the city-states in Argonath along with the Cunfshon Isles nearby against the threat posed by Padmasa to the north. Each city-state has much autonomy, with the Emperor having limited power over them, and cooperate mostly in the face of a Padmasan invasion. Otherwise, they squabble and bicker constantly. The Cunfshon witches manipulate them behind the scenes to fight the threat better, including even assassinating troublesome rulers in Argonath, while Padmasan agents seek to keep them more divided.
  • The Terran Concordiat, from Keith Laumer's Bolo series.
  • The Confederation in the Confederation of Valor series.
  • The ConSentiency, a federation of truly alien societies.
  • The Culture from Iain M. Banks's Culture novels is a socialist/libertarian/anarchist variant.
  • The Starways Congress in the Ender's Game series appears to be this, until it starts showing how corrupt it really is. Even Han Fei-Tzu, one of their most respected supporters from the planet Path, is eventually forced to admit that the Congress is full of evil men who have done and are prepared to do unspeakable things to hold on to power. Despite this, he has supported them because, in accordance with his religion (based on Daoism), the rulers automatically have the "Mandate of Heaven". Thus, their will is the will of the gods. Even when said will is to send a fleet to forcibly evacuate a colony for refusing to turn over two of its citizens for trial, even if there are plenty of people in the Hundred Worlds who think it's unjust to force people to take a 30-year trip to be tried, as it essentially means punishing them before there's even a trial. Also, the fleet is armed with a weapon capable of destroying a planet, and the Congress is fully prepared to use it. Any attempts to reveal the truth of the fleet's real mission are declared treasonous. Anyone suspected of writing "seditious" literature is arrested and tortured for information. Hmm, no free speech, cruel and unusual punishment, heavy corruption. That doesn't sound like it's what a Federation should be like.
    • There's also the fear the colonies have that sending a fleet to one colony that disagrees with the Congress is setting a precedent for the Congress to use the fleet to quell any opposition in the Hundred Worlds.
  • The Federacy in the Firebird Trilogy.
  • The Foundation Federation in the late Foundation Series — the (First) Foundation goes through several forms of government over the series, but it is only after the fall of the Mule that the Foundation starts to look like this (the Foundation before that was either too dictatorial or too Terminus-centric to the point of in most of the actually democratic periods technically consisting only of Terminus), and by Foundation's Edge it has been formally renamed the Foundation Federation while the influence of worlds distant from Terminus have grown to the point that moving the capital from Terminus to a more central location (from a galactic perspective) could be proposed and look like it has a genuine chance of happeningnote .
  • The trading nations in Karen Miller's Godspeaker Trilogy that Rhian has to fight with in order to get an army and ships from them to stop the oncoming attack from Mijak.
  • The Harry Potter series has the "International Confederation of Wizards", which is only really mentioned as background information. The "Supreme Mugwump" is the head of this organization. It may be more of a Fictional United Nations, though-details are scarce.
  • Robert A. Heinlein:
    • The Terran Federation from Starship Troopers. As Rico's teacher describes, "Taxes are lower and individual freedoms are higher than at any point in human history."
    • In his Between Planets the Federation began as a benign World Government with a monopoly on nuclear weapons to ensure world peace but became an oppressive tyranny.
    • The Star Beast. The Federation (AKA the Community of Civilizations) is made up of a large number of human and alien civilizations, with the Federation Capital on Earth.
  • The Confederacy of Suns in The History of the Galaxy series, although it's dissolved after nearly a millennium due to internal strife and inherent inequality in planetary rights: only the Core worlds (those originally forming it) have full rights and fleet protection, while the Periphery has to, mostly, fend for itself. After the dissolution, each world is on its own. After a few decades, though, a previously-unknown alien race conducts a sneak attack on one of the Core colonies, cutting off interstellar communication between worlds. After the aliens are defeated, their slave races become full members of the new Confederacy of Suns. In fact, one of the novels after this deals specifically with the inability of the Confederate fleet to reliably protect all of its worlds and the measures being taken to change that. Instead of a Standard Sci-Fi Fleet (which still exists but is relegated to the Core colonies), the Periphery is protected by patroling cruiser-carriers with new type of modular hyperdrive-equipped fighters.
    • The series also deals heavily with the time periods prior to the formation of the Confederacy, namely the First Galactic War, in which the Earth Alliance is attempting to impose its rule on a number of Lost Colonies, who have banded together. After the thirty-year war, Earth is defeated, and the colonies (which are now industrial and scientific powerhouses) form the Confederacy.
  • The People's Republic of Haven in Honor Harrington is a very nasty deconstruction of this trope. Haven starts out as a simple Republic that is referred to as an 'Interstellar Athens' and lived in a perpetual golden age. Then the Havenite government decided to jack up the welfare programs, which in turn causes the economy to collapse. Instead of cutting the welfare programs, the Republic instead decides to turn conquistador, conquering and looting other planets to put money in their treasury. Fast forward a hundred or so years later, Haven rules a vast interstellar empire of over two hundred star systems, and its citizens are divided into the second-class "Dolists" ruled by the first-class "Legislaturalist" hereditary political families. Then, a revolution kicks off, trying to fix the system. Unfortunately the revolution is modeled after the French Revolution, complete with a leader named Rob S. Pierre. Saying that it didn't end well would be a kind of an understatement. Of course, now that the Havenite version of the Thermidorian Reaction has occurred (Thomas Theisman and Eloise Pritchart), and with their version of Napoleon removed ahead of schedule (Esther McQueen), because of Saint-Just ordering her death because of how close her coup came to success), things seem to be on track for the restored Republic of Haven. Aside from the whole resumption of war with Manticore, the cancelled negotiations, then the super-spies Victor Cachat and Anton Zilwicki turning up in Nouveau Paris with proof positive that Manticore and Haven had been manipulated into war with each other by an outside third party with plans for galactic domination. This severely annoys President Pritchart, who turns up in the Manticore System at midnight, sits down with Queen Elizabeth III, and ends up not only putting a permanent end to the war, but sealing a military alliance with Manticore. The bad guys are screwed after that, and the Republic of Haven is once and for all firmly on the side of the light.
    • And now with the War with the Solarian League, we seem to be heading for a retelling of a combination of the Crimean War (Britain & France allied against the Colossus of Russia) and the American Civil War.
    • The Solarian League is an extremely corrupt but non-expansionist version of the Federation, choking under its' own weight and leaving many border worlds to their own devices.
    • The newly created Star Empire of Manticore is something of a Hegemonic Empire, with the Talbott Quadrant voting for annexation by Manticore and retaining their own Prime Minister and parliament separate from those of the Old Star Kingdom. Both member nations subject to the Queen of Manticore and sending representatives to the Imperial Parliament.
  • The Confederacy, from the Hostile Takeover (Swann) series, is centered on Earth and claims jurisdiction over 76 human worlds and seven inhabited by frankensteins and Moreaus. The Confederacy is divided into five Arms, and each planet is largely self-governing. The Confederacy mainly serves to maintain stability, by forbidding war (be it revolution or invasion) and heretical technologies. The Terran Executive Command comes down on violators like a ton of bricks, or rather like several tons of ceramic filament dropped from orbit.
  • The Humanx Commonwealth, in the Space Opera series of the same name by Alan Dean Foster.
  • E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman books basically invented this trope for SF, in the form of Civilization.
  • The Human Empire in Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium is presented as having elements of this. Despite the name and The Emperor, the human planets are generally left to their own devices. One planet is mentioned to have a president, implying strong local governments. While there are empire-wide laws, they are usually quite reasonable with some exceptions (such as the "kill all clones and genetically-engineered people" one). One colony is mentioned to have been brutally destroyed when it attempted to secede, but then which country is okay with having some of its territory taken away.
  • The Confederation in Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, and the Commonwealth in his Commonwealth Saga.
  • The Outside: In The Infinite, Nemesis has declared that the Chaos Zone is no longer under Her protection and will be left at the mercy of the Keres. Tiv and Grid appeal to the Federation, a union of different alien species that humans have previously had little interaction with, for military aid. Most representatives refuse, not wanting their species to be involved in a war with the humans' Gods, but the Zora, whom the Gods have forbidden from communicating with humans because of their worship of Outside, provide a small fleet of warships.
  • Despite its name (and being led by the same handful of nearly-immortal humans for centuries), the Solar Empire of the Perry Rhodan series is a voluntary alliance of Earth and alien worlds with proper civil rights.
    • Replaced later by the League of the Free Terrans.
  • The Pinwheel books have the Coalition, an interstellar multispecies alliance founded primarily in order to defend those who join from the Betelgeusians.
  • The Universal Union in Redshirts.
  • The Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne of the Retief tales serve as the Federation. Granted, the CDT is a bunch of self-serving bureaucrats more interested in protocol than actual diplomacy. But they're a benevolent supranational organization willing to help humanity and its allies.
  • Inverted in Terry Brook's Shannara series, where the faction called The Federation is actually The Empire. It did originally start as a traditional Federation between several large isolated cities. It was only later that they decided it would be better for the human race if everyone was under one rule-whether they liked it or not-and every non-Human race was either exterminated or enslaved.
  • The Instrumentality of Mankind from Cordwainer Smith's works.
  • The Community in C.T. Phipps' Space Academy and Lucifer's Star series is an alliance of various races working together for mutual advantage as well as united by shared ethical principle. It also has weapons of interstellar destruction and a massive space navy.
  • The United Worlds of Earth in the Spaceforce books fits this trope exactly, being a benign, liberal union of around twelve hundred Earth colonies and non-Earth civilizations. Moreover, it counterpoints the ancient rulebound Taysan Empire and the scary totalitarian Darian Republic.
  • The Terran Confederation of States in the Star Carrier novels is a pretty good example of a federation in the technical sense. Earth's nation-states are still around in various forms, but they all contribute representatives to a world government that grew into the Confederation, and contribute ships and soldiers to the Confederate military. The Confederation Senate is a parliamentary system with no political parties.
    • This seems to be changing in Deep Space, with the Confederation insisting on more and more direct control, especially over member states' Space Navies. This comes to a head when the Confederation attempts to seize an advanced AI belonging to the United States of North America as a "strategic asset" and use illegal weapons in their conflict with the USNA, including a Grey Goo missile to destroy the USNA capital. This causes several other member states to secede and ally with the USNA.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: The old Star Wars Legends continuity had the Old Republic, the New Republic, and the Galactic Federation of Free Alliances (Galactic Alliance for short). The current continuity re-canonized both the Old and New Republics, but not the GFFA (yet).
  • The Terran Empire in Technic History. Despite it's name, it is on the whole a "good" state. It is not faultless: in the first part it is prone to forceful expansionism, and in the latter era it is riddled with sloth and incompetence. But it brings civilization and it is generally better that it exist then not exist.
  • H. Beam Piper's Terrohuman Future History features the "Terran Federation".
  • In the To Ride Pegasus trilogy, the United World develops as a One World Order through a layer of international agreements and institutions. There's a World President, a space navy, and a global Law Enforcement and Order commissioner, but individual countries and nationalities still exist; the application of pre-glasnost Soviet-era Russian laws to American citizens becomes a plot point in Pegasus in Flight, as does the Diplomatic Impunity of a Malaysian prince involved in a child sex-slavery ring. By the Tower and the Hive series, the United World has evolved into the Star League, composed of Earth and her daughter colonies.
  • The Oriati Mbo in Seth Dickinson's fantasy novel The Traitor Baru Cormorant and sequels. "Mbo" means "something that's whole because it's connected", and the Oriati are a sprawling mass of federations made of smaller federations. They're shown to have a peaceful, open, and highly communal culture, described as welcoming invaders like they're eager guests: everyone who's tried to conquer them over their near-millennium of history has ended up happily absorbed into the mbo instead. That said, they're not without teeth — in past centuries, they eradicated the practice of slavery throughout the Ashen Sea, and as contemporary geopolitical tensions reach a breaking point they are prepared to deploy a horrific plague against their current archenemy, the Hegemonic Empire of Falcrest.
  • Subverted in Dani and Eytan Kollin's Unincorporated series with the United Human Federation which starts out democratic but evolves into The Dictatorship. Played straight with the Outer Alliance. it's left ambiguous at the end as to whether the Alliance remains together after leaving the Solar System or breaks up as its constituents scatter among the stars.
  • In the Wild Cards series, this trope is played with in the case of the Network. In principle, they are a voluntary association of many worlds and species. However, the whole thing is largely run by and for the Master Traders who founded the Network as an exercise in unrestricted capitalism. Members that are poor and/or low-tech tend to stay that way, since they have nothing to trade in exchange for more advanced technology. In particular the Network places prohibitively high pricing on Faster-Than-Light Travel. Members can lease starships from the Network for ruinous prices (and the ships will self-destruct if they try to take them apart to see how they work). Actually buying the technology would bankrupt all but the wealthiest or most advanced civilizations. This is a major point of contention between the Network and the Takisians, as the latter told to Network to get lost when they discovered a species of Space Whales and genetically-engineered them into Sapient Ships. The lost revenue resulted in many attempts by the Network to regain control over Takis. Jube the Walrus is actually an alien scout inspecting Earth for them.
  • The protagonist of the Xandri Corelel species is a diplomat who works for the Starsystems Alliance. As head of Xeno-Liaisons, her job is to initiate First Contact and bring new species into the Alliance.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Systems Commonwealth in Andromeda. It was originally the Vedran Empire prior to reforms. Somehow, humans have become the dominant race in the Commonwealth, despite being one of many races in it (and Vedrans mostly being in charge).
  • From Babylon 5:
    • The Earth Alliance devolves into a Space Nazi Empire under President Clark, complete with the Martian-independence subtrope. It improves after a brief civil war.
    • The Interstellar Alliance is still new, so it's not as powerful as the one in Star Trek. However, it could easily become that and all indicators are that it will. Even has its own fighting force in the form of the Anla'Shok aka the Rangers.
    • Before the existence of the Interstellar Alliance, there was already the Minbari Federation, which is probably true to its name as Minbari society is divided among three self-governing castes of Warrior, Religious and Workers minding their own business separated apart from the basic interaction needed for the greater good of their civilization. Worth noticing that the Minbari were not only founder members of the IA but also hold the headquarters, thus probably they had a lot of influence in their structure.
    • Also before the Alliance there was the League of Non-aligned Worlds, a conglomerate of dozens of under developed planets (at least in comparison with the five main powers the Vorlon Empire, the Mimbari Federation, the Centauri Republic, the Earth Alliance and the Narn Regime (named in order of military power). The name is probably a shout-out of the Real Life Non-Aligned Movement which encompassed most of the Third World. The League joined together first to face the common threat of the Dilgar, they had a good relationship with Earth as the Earth Alliance help them in the Dilgar War and had a collective vote in the Babylon 5 Council (all the aforementioned powers had one vote each). This completely changes with the foundation of the Alliance, the League gets dissolved and all members (alongside all the other races mentioned except the Vorlon) become ISA members with one vote each.
  • The Twelve Colonies of Kobol in Battlestar Galactica. Depicted as being rather weaker than most Federations, as its member Colonies are permitted to be as tyrannical (read: Saggitaron) or fanatical (read: Gemenon) as they please.
    • This is likely because the Twelve Colonies united are said to be just over 50 years old, 40 years after the end of the decade long Cylon War. It is quite likely they only came together to face the threat posed by the Cylons, and mention is made of various colonies being dominated for centuries by some of the others in the series. The first episode of the Prequel series, Caprica, seems to confirm this. As a result, the only truly powerful Colonies-wide organization is the Colonial Military, resulting in the occasionally dark undertones as to the influence it had on government and harsh reactions of previous Presidents to civil strife.
  • In the original version of Battlestar Galactica, the Twelve Colonies had been united for thousands of yahrens, and the ongoing war with the Cylons had lasted for 1000 years or so when Baltar's betrayal and the naivete of the ruling council led to their defeat. The original federal union of the 12 worlds was governed by a Quorum of the Twelve, and apparently each member of that council represented a tribe, rather than a world, it just so happened that each tribe had its own world. It would probably be easier to maintain the independent nature of the members of a federation if each one had its own separate world.
  • The Galactic Federation in Blake's 7 is very corrupt and oppressive. It was conceived as an Alliance but became an Empire. The main villain of the series, Servalan, plans to capture the Liberator so that she can create a fleet with which to take over the Federation and restore it to its former glory.
  • The Cosmic Alliance Warp Monarch in Chouseishin Gransazer are an alliance of various alien races and planets governed by a nebulous "high council". They're also the villains of the series and want to exterminate humanity for some reason. It turns out later that they're actually mostly good, and are only targeting Earth because a corrupt member of their high council deceived them.
  • The Shadow Proclamation from Doctor Who. They are rarely seen on screen, but their laws are often enforced by the Doctor.
  • The Earth Empire, the Galactic Federation, and the later Human Empires in Doctor Who, despite the "empire" names, fit this trope (although, because of the multi-millennial time scales involved, how well they fit varies). In most cases, planets are controlled by local governments or corporations, while the central government is benevolent but so distant as to be useless outside of a small sphere (it does come from the former British Empire, after all...).
  • The United Nations of The Expanse is a mostly positive version, but with some dark sides as well:
    • On one hand, it’s a democratic federal government ruling over various divisions on Earth as well as the Moon and several outer colonies. It also saved Earth from environmental collapse (the crisis that spurred the UN being given federal powers in the first place), though the planet still suffers from severe ecological damage.
    • On the other hand, a combination of overpopulation, automation, and poor economics means that half the population is unemployed and survives on basic income. While largely benevolent towards the people of Earth and the Moon, the UN has a quite exploitative and abusive relationship with its outer colonies. There’s also a large faction of irredentist extremists who want to escalate the Space Cold War with the Martian Congressional Republic into a hot war so that they can “re-unite humanity”.
  • The Peacekeepers from Farscape should, however, be considered a subversion. They were no less an empire than their enemies, the Scarrans, but they were clean and well dressed (and prettier). They were also Space Nazis. The Peacekeepers essentially run more of an hegemony/Interstellar protection racket, whereas the Scarrans are more of the conquer-and-enslave types. Ironically, the Peacekeepers' xenophobia and obsession with racial purity is probably a factor in keeping them from more directly conquering their satellite states and neighbors because that might lead to fraternization.
  • The Union of Allied Planets in Firefly, also known as the Anglo-Sino Alliance or just the Alliance for short, is an malevolent version. Founded by the United States of America and the People's Republic of China as they fled a polluted, overpopulated Earth, life in the Alliance is great if you live on one of the civilized Central planets... but out on the Border planets and especially the Rim planets (formerly the Independent Planets before they were crushed), standards of living are largely at a Wild West standard while the economy is geared towards resource extraction and colonial exploitation. Even on the Central planets, the government experiments on children to turn them into psychic super-spies and assassins, with River Tam standing as a deeply traumatized example. And God help the people of Miranda... While the main POV characters are admittedly part of a group that lost to the Alliance, we still see some things with our own eyes that would paint the Alliance as "pragmatic and ruthless" at best.
  • The Orville has the Planetary Union, which seems to be a more comedic (and, as is gradually revealed, less cohesive and internally amicable) version of the Star Trek Federation. In particular, they are constantly forced to engage in Realpolitik with the Moclans, a member state with values that are strongly at odds with the rest of the Union Council. Eventually, they are forced to cut ties when the Moclans blatantly violate the Union charter, in the middle of an interstellar Robot War no less.
  • Pandora: Much of the Human diaspora has united as a state called the Earth Confederacy. However, there are independent Human states outside it too, like Adar.
  • In Roswell, the aliens' home planet, Antar is head of a federation called the Five Worlds.
  • United Earth Oceans (UEO) in SeaQuest DSV.
    • After a Time Skip to 10 years later, UEO has considerably weakened, especially after the disappearance of its titular flagship (the only submarine of its kind). In that time, a new power (of The Empire kind) has been steadily gaining power, eventually forming the Macronesian Alliance (formerly New Australia), whose aggressive policies (such as annexing nearby territories without a formal declaration) remain mostly unchecked by the weakened UEO.
  • A Federation of sorts forms in Stargate Atlantis comprised of the various societies the Atlantis expedition had visited in their travels. They immediately turn on Atlantis, blaming them (rightfully so to a degree) for the galaxy's current problems. The comparison to Star Trek's Federation is naturally brought up, to which Rodney dismissively replies that the Federation had ships.
    • One must point out however that most of the problems that the Atlantis expedition were blamed for were caused by the Ancients, not them. Sheppard went so far as to point this fact out, further stating that he and his team where just trying to clean up the mess that the Ancients blatantly refuse to take responsibility for. The judge does in fact agree with him, but quickly points out that the new Federation has no power over the Ancients, so Sheppard and his team will have to take the fall.
  • The United Federation of Planets in Star Trek is the Trope Codifier. A fairly accurate example of an actual Federation, too. While they have a strong Starfleet which combines Space Navy and Space Police functions, they seem to let member worlds largely manage their own affairs and avoid military opposition to secession. Federation technology has the potential to advance far faster than any other interstellar nation, because it amalgamates the scientific corpus of all its member races.
    • The Federation grants all members the right of secession; the Maquis plotline involves Federation colonists in the Demilitarized Zone between Federation and Cardassian space, many of whom had their planets change hands as part of a peace treaty. These colonists included a group of descendants of American Indians who were in the process of being physically removed from the surrendered planets by the Federation in one episode. Military intervention was immediately canceled, however, when said group renounced their Federation citizenship, and agreed to live peacefully alongside Cardassian colonists. It didn't end well in the sequel series.
    • Several requirements for membership are established by various series: member worlds must be free of caste-based or religious discrimination. This came up for Ardana (a member world later discovered to have a caste-based labor system they never told the Federation about) and Bajor (very tenuous church-state separation; a "false messiah" type almost convinced Bajorans to return to their religiously mandated caste system and withdraw their application for Federation membership). Another requirement for membership is global planetary unity, although there is some leeway on this (one of two nation-states on Kesprytt III applied for membership, but their application was denied because of their Cold War style, paranoid political situation). And because the Federation generally doesn't make diplomatic alliances with pre-warp civilizations or civilizations that don't yet know about alien life, another requirement for membership is probably warp drive, some other faster-than-light capability, or at least, knowledge of other intelligent life in the universe.
    • Several other civilizations that were not Federation members but engaged in trade, diplomacy or joint scientific research with the Federation, like the J'Naii homeworld, or the Klingons, probably would neither have qualified for membership because of gender-based or caste-based discrimination, nor applied for it in the first place. It's also not clear in several episodes whether membership applies to a whole planet, a whole species, the entire civilization, or just the homeworld or primary world of that species or civilization, though most colony worlds that are predominantly human don't seem to be full members and are instead referred to "colonies" in the show. As the Maquis situation in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine showed, those colonies are still under the authority of the Federation, unless they voluntarily secede.
    • The actual depiction of the Federation changed as the franchise went on. In TOS, the Federation was more akin to NATO or the UN, or even the United States under the original Articles of Confederation, with member worlds sometimes on the edge of conflict with each other despite being allied. This is also demonstrated by the Enterprise being often referred to as an "Earth" ship rather than a "Federation" ship, with Spock being the only alien (or half-alien, actually) on a ship with over 400 humans. TNG depicts the Federation more like something between the European Union and the United States under the Constitution, with a more cohesive union while member worlds still mostly handle their own affairs. This is also represented by the presence of more sentient races on each starship, to the point where some Expanded Universe works show that humans aren't necessarily in the majority on each ship (Captain Sisko said his rival, Solok, had an all-Vulcan crew, although Solok was a Fantastic Racist, so this was probably uncommon). This suggests that as time passed between TOS and TNG, interplanetary cooperation and common external threats caused increased authority to be delegated to the central government.
  • The Migar Alliance from Tracker. Mostly good but every planet has its criminal element.


    Myths & Religion 
  • The Galactic Federation of Light is an allegedly real life federal group of planets according to some New Age and UFO religions.
  • Also the evil Galactic Confederacy ruled by Xenu in Scientology.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Federated Commonwealth in BattleTech. Meanwhile, the Free Worlds League, while not fitting the "good guys" vibe of the trope, is more of an actual federation, with many nigh-independent worlds and regions, and the loosest central government of the major powers.
    • The original Star League also counts; the major members were all left to their own affairs while still being subordinate to the Terran Hegemony. It was more like The Empire to the Periphery though.
    • Speaking of the Periphery, the Taurian Concordat was this trope for most of its existence: A conglomerate of mostly democratically-run worlds united under an umbrella of common defence and foreign policy with a constitutional monarch elected by consent of its associate worlds.
  • Aquilonia eventually became one in The Hyborian Camapign after assimilating several border states. Each member state was autonomous, with issues like defence and diplomacy being handled nation-wide.
  • The New Earth Government in CthulhuTech (formed from the New United Nations during an "alien" genocide) might qualify, for all that it's a Police State in a Lovecraftian universe which operates a borderline Ministry Of Love to prevent EldritchAbominations from controlling you in an attempt to destroy/convert/use as breeding fodder/transform humanity. The Cthulhutech world is not a happy place.
  • Eclipse Phase:
    • The Planetary Consortium was founded and is mostly run by various the various Hypercorpsnote  and the Cosortium maintains a hold on most of the inner system and many exoplanetary settlements. While it is the de facto strongest power in the system and so far provides the widest and strongest society, it's rife with corruption and abuse, and artificially enforces a scarcity economy in a time and place that has postscarcity technology within easy reach of everybody else. The purpose is to keep the Old Economy alive and well, and while transitioning away might lead to political and economic instabilities, the main purpose it to buoy the unrestricted capitalism that remains the cornerstone of the Consortium's culture, as well as entrenching established powers by focusing wealth and power into relatively few hands.
    • The Autonomist Alliance is something of a conundrum. While much more of a free and open society than the Consortium, being Autonomist, they are more of a patchwork of disparate, heterogenous cultures who have agreed to mutual benefit and defense. Many are strange and oddball cultures, and they won't always mix well.
  • RIFTS brings us a subversion in the Federation of Magic, North America's largest gathering of magic-user communities, and the oldest enemy of the Coalition States. Subverted in that the Federation isn't generally better than the CS, nor is it really very unified at all. The head of the so-called "True" Federation, Alistair Dunscon, is an insane, power-mad Evil Sorcerer driven by a personal vendetta against the Coalition, but not everyone in the Federation supports him or even acknowledges him as their leader. The other major factions in the divided Federation either wish to be left alone and don't seek conflict (Dweomer), or are actually just in it for convenience's sake while they pursue their own agendas (Stormspire).
  • The Seven Kingdoms in Talislanta fit this trope perfectly, the moreso in that each of the seven is populated by a (very!) different race. Not all aliens have to be from outer space.
  • Traveller's Third Imperium is often described as a "feudal confederation". Due to the sheer size of the interstellar empire most planets are left to govern themselves as long as they pay taxes to fund the noble-run Imperial Bureaucracy and military and obey the "no nukes, no interfering with interstellar trade" laws.
    • The Terran Confederation in the Intersteller Wars volume of Traveller is a strange example. Though the sympathies lie with them, they are an ambitious, expansionist and conquering state. However, on the other hand, once they do conquer places they tend to treat them well.
      • It is not clear whether the Vilani or the Terrans are most to be blamed for the ISW's and a mild tweaking could give the Terrans more palatable justification if it suits the GM. The first Terran expansion was in trade, settling uninhabited colonies, and contact with Vilani dissidents even in canon and conquest came later when the Terrans found how tough they were. But in any case the Terran Confederation is clearly The Federation rather then The Empire despite it's aggressive foreign policy.
  • Warhammer 40,000 plays with this:
    • The Tau Empire, a small but Rising Empire in the galactic east, is run by the only guys in the setting who know the definition of the word diplomacy, let their allies keep their own militaries, and treat the inhabitants of annexed territory fairly well. They're also perfectly willing to use force when asking someone nicely to join the empire fails, keep client states' armies small so they're reliant on Tau support or use their vassals' forces as auxiliaries, and maintain the setting's most centralised government, divided into a caste system rumored to be mind-controlled by the ruling Ethereal class. So depending on how cynical an observer is, the Tau can be seen as either The Republic of 40k, a proper Federation, or an Empire with good publicity.
    • The Imperium, despite being very much The Empire of the setting, paradoxically operates as The Federation out of pragmatism. So long as component worlds pay their tithes of resources and manpower, enforce an acceptable mutation of the Imperial Cult, and hand over any psykers to the Black Ships, the Administratum lets a planet's governor run their world as they see fit. So if you live close to Terra you'll probably be in an Orwellian nightmare, while if you live in the distant realm of Ultramar it will probably seem more like The Federation. Throw in semi-autonomous factions such as Space Marine chapter fiefdoms and the loose empire-within-an-empire of the Adeptus Mechanicus and you've got a complicated political situation.
  • Warhammer: Basically all of the major Order factions are this: a state that is in actuality 10-15 pseudo-independent realms that swear loyalty to a nominal higher authority but maintain near-complete autonomy. The High Elves of Ulthuan, Dwarfs of Karaz Ankor, Wood Elves of Athel Loren, and Bretonnians all fit the bill, but the best example is the Empire. Despite the name, this is a more fitting description of the Empire, due to the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the Elector-Counts and the smaller regions that they control. Being a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of the Holy Roman Empire, it works in much the same way: it consists of a number of semi-autonomous regions each headed by an Elector-Count who swears loyalty to the current Emperor, who they vote into position — each Elector-Count has one vote, the Church of Sigmar has three (one for the Grand Theogenist and one for each Arch-Lector), one for the leader of the Church of Ulric and one for the Elder of the Moot. The Emperor has little to no say in the day-to-day runnings of each province and the populations include halflings, dwarfs and even some elves who live (mostly) comfortably among the human majority.

    Video Games 
  • Within the Constructed World of the Ace Combat series, there is both the Osean Federation and Union of Yuktobanian Republics; the two serve as equivalents of the United States of America and the Soviet Union, respectively. The two nations are the largest in Strangereal, with each having the economic power to construct SSTO vehicles, unmanned aerial warships capable of carrying swarms of UAVs, submarines capable of launching aircraft, and the first of many space elevators. There is also the Federal Republic of Erusea and Federal Republic of Estovakia, but they're more akin to People's Republic of Tyranny.
  • The nation of Malorigan in Aselia the Eternal - The Spirit of Eternity Sword seems to fill this role. They actually seem to be at least as decent as Rakios, but due to events going on end up your enemy anyway.
  • The Alliance in Breath of Fire IV is a borderline case between The Alliance and this trope, going more towards The Federation just due to the length of time it and The Empire have been at a state of running hot- and cold-wars. Six hundred years, to be precise, with at least four de facto World Wars and armistices...and the wars have lately involved the use of nuke expys by the Alliance. And you thought the Hundred Years War was bad...
  • The United Nations Space Alliance from Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare functions similar to Halo's UNSC (allying the nations of the world into a collective body to administrate and coordinate all off-world activities).
  • As you can guess from the name The Intergalactic Federation of Cereals in Chex Quest is composed of various anthropomorphic breakfast cereal aliens and sends the Chex Squad to save the universe from the flemoids.
  • Command & Conquer:
  • In the Crusader Kings II mod Crisis of the Confederation, the Terran Confederation is a loose federation that governs all of Terran space. At the beginning of the game, the Confederation's outer rim breaks away and forms several new states, many of which also fit this trope, though others fit a wide variety of governmental forms. Furthermore, the very idea of democracy is starting to lose its legitimacy within the Confederation, and many groups are starting to agitate for military rule instead.
  • The Union in Drakengard, fighting The Empire.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, despite the name, the most prominent "Empire" throughout the series is the Cyrodiilic Empire, which has gone through three different iterations and, for the most part, comes closer to this trope (with elements of The Good Kingdom as well). It is generally a benevolent force of good, enforcing rather liberal values (such as religious and racial tolerance) as well as a heavy focus on diplomacy and mercantilism/trade. To note on some of the iterations:
    • The First Cyrodiilic Empire was formed by St. Alessia, the "Slave Queen", following the successful slave revolt of her people, the Nedes (Precursors to most of the modern races of Men in Tamriel), over the vile Ayleids (Wild Elves) who had enslaved and brutally tortured them. (Interestingly, the Ayleids are credited as having founded the very first empire of any kind in Tamriel.) This new empire contained her Nedic people, rebel Ayleid lords, and was closely allied with the Nordic Empire to the north. Compared to the situation under Ayleid rule, her empire was extremely benevolent. However, about a century after her death, the "monkey prophet" Marukh, an Imga from Valenwood, came to power as the leader of the Alessian Order within the empire. The order was an extremist anti-elven religious force and would quickly take over the young empire. For the next 1000 years, the order violently purged any and all records and cultural artifacts of the Ayleids from the empire. Religious infighting and Civil Wars among the cultures within the empire would eventually tear it apart.
    • The Second Cyrodiilic Empire was founded by Reman Cyrodiil I (though he himself would never hold the official title of Emperor). After uniting the disheveled petty kingdoms of Cyrodiil against the threat of Akaviri invaders, his lineage would go on to found the Second Empire. It would come to dominate all of Tamriel except for Morrowind (where the Dunmer [Dark Elf] people were protected by their Physical Gods, the Tribunal) and the Summerset Isles (though he did get them to tangentially join his Empire via terms heavily favorable to the native Altmer [High Elves]). This Empire was again a largely benevolent force that, for the most part, successfully united most of Tamriel. When the last of the Reman line was assassinated, it brought the 1st Era to a close. However, the Akaviri Potentates would rule in a continuation of the Second Empire for the first several centuries of the 2nd Era, until they too would be assassinated.
    • Following the collapse of the Second Empire, Tamriel descended into its own version of the Dark Ages. It would be plagued for 500 years by all manner of threats, ranging from the more mundane (petty kings engaging in fruitless wars) to the supernatural (attempted Daedric takeovers, mystical plagues, etc.) That came to an end when Tiber Septim came to power, first as a general to the Colovian King Cuhlecain, then as emperor himself after Cuhlecain was assassinated. He matched the Second Empire's expanse, got Morrowind to join as a Voluntary Vassal, and then gave special privileges to Morrowind in exchange for the Numidium, a Dwemer-crafted Humongous Mecha which was in the possession of the Dunmer. Using the Numidium, Septim completed his conquests by sacking Alinor, the capital of the long-time rival to the Cyrodiilic Empires, the Aldmeri Dominion, in less than an hour. The Third Cyrodiilic Empire would be ruled by the Septim line for over 400 years, and once again were a generally benevolent force.
    • The Mede Empire, a continuation of the Third Empire most prominently seen in Skyrim, continued to rule following the Third Empire's formal collapse following the Oblivion Crisis. They've lost a significant amount of power and territory, now down to ruling just High Rock, Cyrodiil itself, and Skyrim, the last of which is in the midst of a civil war while attempting to secede from the empire. It plays with the trope in different instances, being largely benevolent and having successfully fended off the reformed Aldmeri Dominion once, but was forced into unfavorable terms as part of an armistice. Even though they don't really seem to bother to enforce some of the unfavorable terms (such as the ban on Talos worship), they are seen as weak cowards by the seceding Nords.
  • The Galactic Co-Operative Of Worlds or GalCop unites the playable universe in Elite. The manual mentions that there are several federations but they never get mentioned in the game itself.
    • Frontier: Elite II, and Frontier: First Encounters have the players able to choose between two rival factions called The Federation and The Empire.
  • Escape Velocity Nova features a Federation. They're definitely not portrayed the good guys, and they seem to act like more of an Empire than a Federation. They even have their own Rebellion opposing them. The Auroran Empire is a sort of confederation, being a bunch of independent, warring houses that pass around the leadership baton.
    • It's something of an inversion — the Federation is corrupt, and the Empire is honor-driven to a fault. In most of the endings, the player Takes a Third Option and winds up with a stable society after uniting them.
    • If one reads the preambles, and pays attention to what you're told in the storylines, it seems the Federation was a Federation at least, for humans, not Telepathic Spacemen, although one more corrupt and with dirtier secrets than the common example. Then came the Bureau.... Meanwhile, Escape Velocity Override has the United Earth, who is either The Alliance, The Federation, or The Empire, depending mainly upon where you draw the line between Alliance and Federation (for instance the UE does not have a common currency (yet; this is revealed by a news story mentioning the establishment of one as an ongoing and progressing matter of negotiation and preparation), but it does have a common foreign policy and Navy), your perspective on the UE's treatment of her colony worlds (note that the vast majority of humans still live on Earth), and how deeply you are affected by/fear the Voinian Empire.
  • EVE Online's Gallente Federation.
  • Fallout:
    • The New California Republic (NCR) in Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas is a neutral example of a Federation. On one hand they are the only major faction in the entire post-Great War America that has improved the living standards of common people, by rebuilding infrastructure such as railroads, establishing trade routes, and reorganizing the code of law. But they're also selfish and corrupt, bound by red tape, and a semi-police state that is willing to use all kind of dirty tricks to coerce other settlements to join them. Since the only other choices are random anarchic thugs or myopic self-entitled elitist/racist/fascist groups, the NCR's about as good as any functional post-nuclear war government gets. Aside from Lyons' Brotherhood of Steel or an independent wasteland, depending on one's preferences.
    • Fallout: New Vegas goes out of its way to try and paint the NCR as just as bad as the other two factions, respectively a one-man dictatorship enforced by an army of robots and a band of barbarous, misogynist, pseudo-Roman slavers. This is due to Chris Avellone's belief that the progress made by the NCR has undermined the post-apocalyptic feel of the series, to the extent that he added a "nuke NCR" option in the Lonesome Road DLC. He's said on his twitter account that if another Fallout comes to him, he's nuking the NCR for a clean slate in the region.
    • The Commonwealth Minutemen in Fallout 4 can potentially form the framework for an organisation similar to the NCR in the early years, uniting several settlements and offering mutual protection in exchange for supplies. Unlike the NCR, this depiction is entirely sympathetic, and the Minutemen are strong candidates for the most ethical faction in the post-apocalyptic United States. There was also the Commonwealth Provisional Government, which was an attempt to form this before the Institute came along and ruined it... or possibly got the blame when it was already collapsing.
  • The Lycian League in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and its prequel The Blazing Blade are a group of small territories, each ruled by a marquess. In The Binding Blade they fight The Empire, but in The Blazing Blade they mostly squabble amongst themselves. Hector's home province of Ostia is the largest, making his brother Uther (and later, Hector himself) the closest thing the League has to an overall leader. Some endings of Binding Blade have the main character Roy picking up where Hector left off, unifying the territories into a single kingdom (especially if he marries Hector's daughter Lilina).
  • The Leicester Alliance in Fire Emblem: Three Houses was formed when a group of nobles broke away from the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus; after the first and only king of Leicester died, the other nobles decided it would be better not to have a monarch, and the country is instead ruled by a council of the rulers of the five most powerful territories. While there is a nominal Leader of the Alliance, held by House Riegan since the position was instituted, this is more of a First Among Equals station. Leicester is far less centralised than either Faerghus or Adrestia, with each territory being autonomous almost to the point of independence; this makes them ineffective when war breaks out, as the nobles spend the bulk of the time arguing among themselves until Claude unites them. If the Alliance wins the war, it annexes Faerghus and Adrestia. Claude and Byleth, recognizing the need for some degree of centralization, then reform the Alliance into the United Kingdom of Fódlan, with a new monarchy, headed by Byleth, holding the decentralized territories together.
  • FTL: Faster Than Light has The Federation, a galactic alliance comprised of different races of aliens, humans included. Unfortunately, the Rebels wish to crush the Federation and all non-human entities.
  • F-Zero's Galactic Space Federation is also one of the many, many similarities between the respective settings of this series and that of Metroid.
  • Galactic Civilizations: the Terran Alliance has traits of this, and forming one from everyone present is a win condition. Something similar can also happen in larger games when the weaker or more violent races have been wiped out and all the computer players decide to Gang Up on the Human.
  • Gratuitous Space Battles, as any game about space battles worth its salt should, has a federation among its many races, complete with their ships being visual throwbacks to the Trope Codifier. Backstory makes them differ a lot from the others, however, being a corporate conglomerate whose ships are actually Evil Debt Collectors who are paid by the kill, charged by the bullet, and rewarded with rising market stocks.
  • The United Nations Space Command (and the Unified Earth Government it technically serves) from Halo began life as a textbook example of this, but the Insurrection and the Covenant invasion have combined to turn it into much more more of a military junta; even though authority was officially ceded back to civilian authorities after the end of the Covenant war, the military in practice still holds most of the power.
  • The UCN (United Colonial Nations) in the Killzone series essentially act as the United Nations. It presides over all the Earth-held colonies in space with Earth itself as its capital.
    • Also, the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance), the main protagonists of Killzone, act as the UCN's "NATO" forces. Every UCN colony is allowed to have its own ISA military to defend itself in times of war, but they are all under (indirect) control of the UCN.
  • The Last Federation has this as the players ultimate goal, to unite species into a single federation (and wipe out anyone who doesn't join...)
  • The Citadel Council in Mass Effect sits somewhere between The Federation and The Alliance. The council acts mostly like the United Nations Security Council, consisting of the Asari Republic, the Turian Hierarchy, the Salarian Union, and the human Systems Alliance, while the other races have observer status. While each member "country" governs itself, there are common policies regarding interstellar trade, arms treaties, and fundamental legal rights of individuals, as well as a mutual military alliance and currency union. Citadel Space is repeatedly mentioned to have a population of several trillions, and appears to cover about 60 to 80 percent of the known galaxy with independent colonies being clustered in the Terminus Systems.
    • Most of the human species is governed by the Systems Alliance, which is the only recognized representative of humans in Citadel Space, and which appears to be very close to present federations on Earth. Planets mostly govern themselves, but for example the military and all diplomatic relations with other species falls under federal responsibility.
  • The humans in Master of Orion II has democracy as their default form of government. Their "Advanced government type" turns them into The Federation. Oh, and the picture of the human leader is a bald man, just in case you missed the message.
  • Although mentioned as early as the first game's manual, Metroid's Galactic Federation rarely got more than a passing mention until Fusion. In Metroid Prime 3, it's presented as a fairly typical good-guy federation. Metroid: Other M and Metroid Fusion displays a faction of the Federation with goals that are more ruthless and self-serving. Samus could also be seen as an enemy of this more sinister Federation following her actions in these games as well.
  • The Southern Hegemony in Neuroshima Hex! consists of a group of factions that have banded together in pursuit of common goals and ideals in the post-apocalyptic United States. Unfortunately for everyone else involved, the factions in question are raider gangs whose common goals and ideals consist of Rape, Pillage, and Burn with a hefty dose of The Spartan Way. One of the rare examples of a villainous Federation.
  • Much like The Empire, the MMORPG Pardus plays this trope pretty straight. Mostly humans? Check. Somewhat corrupt? Check. 20 Minutes Into the Future ships? Oh yes. What makes this interesting, though, is that the Federation is comprised completely of players(along with the other 2 factions, the Empire and the Union).
  • The instruction booklet for Planetfall mentions the Third Galactic Union formed after the Second Galactic Union collapsed thousands of years before.
  • The Precursors has the Democratic Union, one of the possible factions the player can work for. It's a very gray organization, which is actively colonizing a planet during the events of the game and fighting the alien natives. (However, the government of said natives isn't made of saints either, and there are groups of natives willing to work with the Democratic Union against them).
  • The Peacekeeping Forces faction in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. The Spartan Federation also qualifies if Democratic social engineering is used, but is much different from the Peacekeepers (being a far more militaristic and paranoid state). The Data Angels from the expansion, being essentially anarchists, also favour democratic governments.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire The human faction, called Trader's Emergency Coalition (TEC for short), is this. It is described as a group made up of hundreds of human worlds with a unified military and civilian government, but each world maintains its own culture, government type, and social policies within the general guidelines of the Trade Order. In-game, each world also donates a portion of its taxable wealth to the overall federation, with more money being allocated from planets with larger populations. The larger the fleet becomes, the more the worlds are taxed. Starting with 6% and eventually reaching 75% to support the massive, unified fleet that defends them.
  • Sonic The Hedgehog:
  • Parodied in Star Control II, where the player character is asked to name the new good-guy faction. One of the options is the United Federation of Worlds (to which the starbase commander replies, "That has a familiar ring to it... nonetheless, we will make it so"). Another is "The Empire of [Your Name]".
    • Further parodied in Star Control: Origins with the Federation of Allied Species founded by the Mu'Kay, of which the only current member is the Mu'Kay. They even have their own frequently-violated Alien Non-Interference Clause, which is the Prime Directive in all but name.
  • The Terran factions in StarCraft usually fit this to one degree or another, although in StarCraft it is a Confederation, which is not nearly so well-intentioned. This is even worse of a misuse then the term 'Federation' tends to be, as a confederation is supposed to have even looser central government, one that wouldn't have the authority to try to retain a region that wanted to leave — though perhaps that was the point all along. It is later succeeded by the Terran Dominion, which for all intents and purposes is effectively an autocracy and much more overt in both name and intentions.
  • The Earth Federation (later Pangalactic Federation) in Star Ocean; since SO is significantly based on Star Trek, this is quite similar to the UFP above. Can also be a subtle subversion as well, considering some of the fluff that is provided in the background data that can be unlocked in Star Ocean III.
  • The Galaxy Federation in Xenosaga.
  • In Stellaris a group of independent nationsnote  can form a Federation with a presidency that rotates between the members and an independent space navy with access to the best technologies of all the member nations. It's also possible for an interstellar nation to call itself a federation, and depending on their ethos incorporate citizens of several species, adopt democratic governments, or vassalize other nations — any star nation made up of a number of different integrated alien species will start to resemble this. Or recreate the Terran Federation of Starship Troopers.
  • The Solar Alliance from Sunrider is a federation of one hundred planets and has been the galaxy’s dominant superpower for a hundred years. Like the various Gundam Federations, the Alliance is portrayed as flawed. It is mired in political deadlock and bureaucracy due to its great size. Its politicians are initially unwilling to go to war with PACT despite the threat it poses to the galaxy, while its military leaders like Admiral Grey are willing to do whatever it takes to both start the war on their own terms and win it. While Kayto Shields knows that he needs the Alliance’s military might to drive PACT out of the Neutral Rim and liberate his home planet Cera, he’s wary of their intentions. Despite all this, the Alliance does provide relief efforts to impoverished Neutral Rim planets like Ongess and it respects other planets’ refusal to join its ranks, unlike PACT (which forces planets to join by nuking their cities from orbit).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam's Earth Federation, as seen in Super Robot Wars.
  • The United Earth Federation (UEF) in Supreme Commander is a subversion: despite the name, it's The Empire and a military dictatorship to boot. The Cybran Nation is a better example as a loosely unified band of culturally different "nodes" that share technology and allegiance to Doctor Brackman, the father of the Cybrans, and generally only act in unison when presented with an external threat (such as the UEF above, or the Church Militant Aeon).
  • By Sword of the Stars II: Lords of Winter the Morrigi are officially head of a federation comprising the other races. While players could incorporate the other races in the first game into their empires through research, the sequel will build on this with NPC FTL-incapable races to assimilate peacefully.
  • The Atlantic Federation of Valkyria Chronicles. From the protagonists' point of view, however, they're only better than The Empire because they're not currently busy invading Gallia — they're certainly not offering to help. Then again, nobody in the game except the protagonists do that much anyway.
    • Considering that they are ALSO fighting an Imperial invasion of their frontier that is stated to be militarily superior to them and probabl vastly dwarfs the forces the Empire committed to the Gallian campaign, this is probably justified.
  • One of the playable factions in the 4X game VGA Planets is the Solar Federation, which is an open Expy of the Federation of Planets in Star Trek.
  • The Terran Confederation from the Wing Commander series, despite having the word 'Confederation' in the title.
    • Wing Commander IV also introduces the Union of Border Worlds, which is much more of a Confederation mixed with The Alliance.
  • The Alliance in World of Warcraft is a fantasy example of this trope. Although it would at first glance appear to be The Alliance, the only portion of the Alliance that doesn't fit this trope right down to the letter is its lack of centralised leadership, which appears to be changing with the return of Varian Wrynn centralising power around the humans of Stormwind. The Alliance's counterpart, the Horde, resembles a (mostly) good version of The Empire due to its centralised leadership, the Warchief commands the entire Horde, and its thirst for conquest.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has the Samaar Federation mentioned by several alien characters, which apparently rules over a radius of 6 million light years (as Lin points out, that encompasses multiple galaxies). The Ganglion, the main bad guys (who, it should be noted, possess an army capable of laying waste to entire planets and have enslaved multiple different species), are described as a "run-of-the-mill crime syndicate" that's just one tiny part of Samaar as a whole. In any case, given that Earth was annihilated as a side effect of a battle between Samaar and some other unknown alien civilization, humanity is not eager to apply for membership in it.
  • The X-Universe has the Argon Federation, a Lost Colony of Earth which uses ISO Standard Human Spaceships, and is one of the neutral/good powers among the game's empires.
    • The Boron are The Federation, despite technically being a kingdom. They qualify as The Federation on basis of being a neutral/good power, and having a democratically elected leadership (the queen is a figurehead).
    • The Terrans may qualify, but they might also be a subversion. They're democratic according to Word of God, but they have strong xenophobic and paranoid tendencies.
    • X3: Albion Prelude puts the lie to the Argon being good guys when they blow up the Torus Aeternal, a massive space station ringing Earth's equator. They then invade Terran space with a fleet of artificially intelligent warships. The X-Encyclopedia explains it in such a way as to have it make a modicum of military sense, but it's still a case of Grey-and-Gray Morality.


    Web Original 
  • A good number of them had propped up after World War III in 1983: Doomsday, among the more notable and relatively benevolent ones being the ANZ Commonwealth, Alpine Confederation and Nordic Union.
  • British Space in the Space Arc of Arthur, King of Time and Space. Despite being a monarchy, very close to being a proper federation: Arthur likes his petty kings and subject lords to have relative autonomy, because it means less work.
  • Associated Space features the Terran Associated States, a fairly loose federation of petty human star empires, republics, and every other form of government that's ever been tried.
  • Decades of Darkness has the Russian Empire/Federation, the German Empire and the British Empire.
  • The Falcon Cannot Hear: After the Second American Civil War ends with The Alliance of democratic factions defeating the communists and fascists, they forge a new federal government. Due to the large variety of political ideals held by the disparate factions, this "Third Republic" is even more of an example of this trope than the United States was beforehand. In addition to the old states (many of which are run under different kinds of governments than pre-war), there's also the "constituent republics" — Deseret (Utah), Maine (which absorbed most of New England during the war) and New Africa (Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi united under the control of militant blacks) — which report to the federal government, but are much more autonomous than the states. Likewise, there's also the "federal cities" of New York and Guantanamo Bay (where a flourishing city was founded by an American exile community that acted neutrally during most of the war), which have the same status as the republics.
  • The Galactic Republic in The Gungan Council, natch, until it was ripped apart by the Imperial Remnant and deteriorated into the Rebellion, leaving the Galactic Empire to take its place.
  • Nat One Productions has a Space Opera story-line called Denazra where quite a few different species, including humanity, act like they're this trope. They don't generally live up to it, though.
  • Open Blue has the Axifloan Coalition, a very shaky confederation whose members were hated enemies no more than 170 years before the present time, stopping only because they realized fighting was stupid. Interestingly enough, its most powerful member states include two rival empires, a Vestigial Empire, and a small but extremely powerful City-State. As of v5, three of these states have declared war on one another and seceded from the Coalition, leaving it a shell of its former self.
  • The U.E.A. of Registry of Time.
  • In the sci-fi series So That Worlds May Align, Earth gets ravaged by climate change and the resulting famines, plagues, and civil unrest. To counter this, a new school of political thought comes about which pushes for unifying humanity under a single government in order to pool resources. While there's some resistance to this, it does ultimately culminate in the formation of the Union of Earth, later renamed the Solar Union as humanity spreads past Earth. It's a federal constitutional body in which every country (or region, for those nations which get subdivided) has a representative in the Parliament of Man, which elects a Premier from among its number.
    • The Hur'Curah, the first alien race humanity encounters after beginning space exploration, are united under a single political body called the Council of Lands and People. The Council divides all Hur'Curah territory into a number of regions, each of which has a representative on the Council; the number of regions is by law kept at an odd number, in order to avoid tied votes on the Council.
    • The Xarmell race is divided into three nations, each of which counts to a certain extent: the Confederated Srhaals of Vrrtraghus are a union of Srhaals (clans) which send representatives to a Congress. The Federal Republic of Zuoon is a parliamentary democracy whose provinces send representatives to a main Assembly. The Casstokian Empire, despite the name, is not a case of The Empire, as it's constitutional in nature, with most authority not in the monarch but an elected Senate.
    • Similarly, the Ki’aar’Ki race is divided among four nations, all but one of which (the Arr-ta’che Technate, a technocracy run by a corrupt oligarchy) counts as this: the Union of Well'ren is a semi-presidential republic where representatives are elected to a central legislature and a separate head of state is also voted for. The Kiri’kosian Federation is a federal republic born from the union of several pre-existing states, whose government is very similar to that of the USA, except for some differences (such as no federal judiciary). The Compact of Sovereign Stellar Settlements is a loose confederacy of former Ki’aar’Ki space colonies which have since gained independence and united under a central government which sets law and policy but grants a large amount of autonomy to its members.
  • Two of the more powerful slider factions in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yaku-Asobi are the Crossway and Odinean Federations. The former is closer to The Republic (reformed from The Empire), however.
  • Tech Infantry has the Earth Federation, which at various times both plays this trope straight and subverts it by being oppressive and evil.

    Western Animation 
  • The League of Planets from Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers is this, but unlike many examples, this one isn't headquartered on Earth, but rather on the planet Kerwin, who, as mentioned in the Opening Narration, sends "two peaceful ambassadors" to Earth seeking their help. Earth then becomes a member after Waldo, one of the ambassadors, gives Earth the plans for its first hyperdrive.
  • The Avatar franchise:
    • This is sort of the case with the Earth Kingdom, a vast confederate monarchy in Avatar: The Last Airbender that opposes the expansionist Fire Nation.
    • In The Legend of Korra, after going through a lot of turmoil, the Earth Kingdom becomes a straight example after the newly crowned Wu decides to permanently abolish the monarchy in favor of a more democratic government, but it's implied it will still be called the Earth Kingdom.
  • The first Babar animated series has the Jungle Federation with all the different animal kingdoms as members.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has the Galactic Alliance, constantly threatened by the Big Bad Zurg.
  • The Homeworlds from Exo Squad.
  • The Democratic Organization of Planets (DOOP) in Futurama.
  • The Mighty Orbots work for the United Planets, a federation of humanity and several aliens.
  • In the South Park episode "Pinewood Derby," events resulting from Randy Marsh accidentally discovering light speed space travel after cheating at a pinewood derby race with his son later leads to the Earth governments stealing a space pirate's stolen Galactic Currency to selfishly use it to rebuild the world economy results in Earth being banned from joining a galactic community of planets and thereby forcibly locked away from the rest of the universe. Randy's only reaction to all this at the end is a very lax "Well that sucks."
  • The Confederation in Tripping the Rift which is a parody of Star Trek.

    Real Life 
  • The United States, as per American Federalism. Even some of The Several States themselves could be considered such, although most are some form of unitary state (and some a lot more unitary than others). The degree of autonomy the states get is especially interesting to many foreigners.
    • It should be pointed out that as many as 17-18 states in the United States today were at one point breakaway independent states. These include:
      • The original 13 colonies under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles operated more as a military and collective bargaining between the 13 states, and the state legislatures named their delegations. The Confederation could not operate on many of its powers unless 9 of the states were in favor and as a constitutional document, it was rather inefficient for peacetime administration, though Vermont is the only state that asserts it was once independent and itself was part of Quebec before breaking with them. The problems associated with the higher levels of states' autonomy led to the drafting of the Constitution and the relinquishing of powers by the states so that the federal government could actually function.
      • The Republic of West Florida broke from eastern Florida when the colony as a whole when it returned to Spanish rule, only to offer annexation to the U.S. months later. The rest of the Florida territory was bought off of Spain, which had had enough of Only in Florida conditions the area is famous for. The Florida Territory gave some territory to Georgia and Alabama and part of the ceded land from the state was the West Florida half of the state.
      • The Republic of Texas - A former territory of Mexico that was home to many American ex-pats who backed the Texan War for independence and formed the Republic of Texas and later voted to allow U.S. annexation.
      • The Republic of California — Similar to Texas, a breakaway Mexican State whose revolution was backed largely by American ex-pats in Califonia. It was never formally recognized by either the United States or Mexico and the revolution might have been ongoing when the Mexican-American war began (in fact, the U.S. Navy invaded Califorina before the war was declared, mistaking a Revolutionary battle for the outbreak of war with Mexico!). The Invasion of Montarey Bay brought the nasant Republic into the Union, and makes California the only state to enter the U.S. by direct military invasion.
      • The Kingdom (and later Republic) of Hawaii — Originally a Kingdom, two subsequent succession crisises led to American Ex-pats to force a treaty on the King which stripped him and the native Hawaiians of most of their political power. The King's next successor, Queen tried to return Hawaii to an absolute monarchy. The American ex-pats led a coup and the provisional government of The Republic of Hawaii was formed. Unlike Texas and California, which were more than happy to enter the Union once they achieved their own liberation. At the time, the U.S. commissioned two reports on what had happened (the Blout Report and the Morgan Report), which reached competing conclusions of these reports were hotly debated (The Blout Report found the coup illegal and Grover Cleveland cited it when he called for the Queen's reinstatement to the throne, which the Provisional Government refused. The Morgan Report found that the coup was legal and William McKinley used it as justification in accepting the 1896 annexation treaty drafted by the provisional government.). Today the Blout report gained wider acceptance, but by then Hawaii had become a State in the Union.
  • Mexico and Brazil both have structures similar to the United States. (Given that the U.S. was the first country to gain independence from a European power and subsequently the first to establish a federal structure, this is a case of Follow the Leader.)
    • Argentina as well. Interestingly the old deadlock-prone political system, which was almost a carbon copy of the US system, actually got mostly fixed thanks to an inter-party deal between traditional powerhouse parties Justicialist Party and Radical Civic Union. The deal involved introducing direct elections for the president and granting each of Argentina's 23 provinces + the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (think DC, but with actual parliamentary representation and an elected mayor) a third senator elected from the runner-up party. Essentially, that would mean that traditionally Justicialist provinces would also have an UCR senator and vice versa (for the US readers, this would essentially be as if each red state gained a third blue senator and vice versa).
  • India. Historically, many of its component territories were independent kingdoms for over a thousand years before the coming of the East India Company. Even now the highest administrative authority in the country, the Prime Minister, has less power than most world heads of government.
  • The European Union is, suffice to say, a complex case, even disregarding accusations of would-be or even actual Empire, but it does have clear tendencies towards this. And a few agreements and founders vaguely hinting at or suggesting this as a future goal (again, one's mileage may vary whether this is something that actually will happen, or whether the end-result would actually be The Federation).
    • Right now the EU is a confederation that tries as it might to become somewhat closer. The Federation is on the other end of this scale, but whether the European Union would finally move there is an open question.
    • A detailed study reveals that the European Union is a "sui generis" organisation that is impossible to classify into an existing category. It lacks some elements that exist even in the loosest of Confederations (no real common diplomacy or army, no obvious Head of State), but also has many elements of a Federation (mainly the fact that the law of the Union is superior to the law of the States (Federal law trumps the States law)) and even some elements of a heavily centralised unitary State (detailed and extremely specific economic regulations relentlessly enforced by the Commission and the Court). The fact that it does not correspond to anything else that existed or exist in the world and is sometimes nearly incomprehensible is one of the reasons it is becoming increasingly unpopular among some Europeans.
    • The closest historical equivalent might be the United States under the Articles of Confederation, which eventually resulted in the US becoming a federation. Since Europe doesn't have a war of independence to fight, there isn't really any incentive for sudden centralisation.
  • The UN wants to be this. Or some people want it to be this. Or some people are afraid of it becoming this whether it wants to or not. Nowhere close, though.
  • Switzerland. The country's individual cantons are very autonomous, and historically were semi-autonomous subdivisions of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Before we move on to the various federations of The Commonwealth of Nations, we must mention that the Commonwealth itself is conceptually descended from the idea of an Imperial Federation: those parts of the The British Empire with "responsible government" (Canada, Australia, Newfoundland,note  New Zealand, and South Africa, plus of course the United Kingdom itself) would become a single, actual federation with an Imperial Parliament and Government at Westminster to set Imperial foreign, military, and colonial policy and regulate relations among its members, while each member would still have control over its internal affairs. This idea actually got a lot of traction, but ultimately the logistics of executing it in early 20th century conspired with events to change it into the rather more toothless Commonwealth. It's basically somewhere between The Alliance and a confederation — while Charles III is in charge of the Commonwealth and actually Head of State of several of its members (not just the UK, but also Canada and Australia, among others), each nation has its own government and its own foreign policy, and some are federations in their own right.
  • Canada is a strange case. Starting off as a collection of British colonies with varying degrees of self-government and cultural autonomy, it was unified together in a process known as Confederation. However, the Dominion government had much more power than the provinces at first, due to the concerns by many Canadian authorities that giving the provinces power like the US states would lead to a civil war just like the ones the Americans had recently fought. However, a lot of successful court cases and legislation by politicians (especially one from Ontario) led to the provinces gaining far more autonomy than was originally intended. During different periods of the 20th century (such as the Pierre Trudeau era), the Federal Government gained more powers in various areas, coinciding with the development of the welfare state during that time. However, Quebec had also started moving towards more autonomy and possible sovereignty, and won many concessions. Other provinces (such as Alberta and Newfoundland) also found themselves challenging the Feds. The end result is a Federation where the Central Government has a fair amount of power in many areas (such as in criminal law and enforcement, foreign policy and national defense) but where the provinces are also given a surprising amount of autonomy in others (health care, social assistance, natural resource control etc.). This is a really good example of how, while many nations may use the terms "Federation" and "Confederation", the actual mechanisms of government can be very different from each other.
  • The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Officially united by their shared Communist ideology, unofficially united by the mere fact they were once provinces of Imperial Russia.
    • The creation of the Soviet Union in December 1922 was an extremely complex process that would be best characterized as a Gambit Pileup: even if most of the shards of the former Russian Empire had Bolshevik, or at least Socialist governments at the time (due to victorious military campaigns by the Bolshevik Red Army, which had crushed nationalist and and moderate governments in places like Ukraine and Georgia), they all had their own interests and goals, and even in Russia proper Stalin, Trotsky, Lenin, and Bukharin all had conflicting ideas about what to do next. Everyone was scheming against everyone, but military power played a surprisingly small role in that.
    • In practice, however, the undemocratic nature of the Soviet Union, with the Communist Party operating as the nexus of power rather than the official government positions, meant that the Union’s status as a “Federation” was often just a technicality.
    • The "technicality" of being a Federation was suddenly no longer a mere technicality when the republics that made up the USSR decided that-since the USSR was a Federation-they were free to leave. And they did.
  • The Commonwealth of Australia consists of six independent states that banded together in 1901 to form a larger administrative unit within the British Empire (New Zealand and Fiji were invited and can still join if they want.) It is a strange medium between Canada's and the USA's federations; the states have the powers of the USA's states, but almost all tax revenue goes to the Federal government- which means the states are glorified government service departments. There is still significant variation in law and custom between the states (the most obvious being the definition of a certain kind of sausage, how big and what to call certain units of beer and what code of football the word 'football' is actually referring to.)
  • Constitutionally, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is this. However, because the institutions inherited from colonial days haven't had any fundamental changes in terms of relations between the provinces and the central government, it still behaves more or less like The Empire, just with Islamabad (or when the military there is in charge, Rawalpindi) replacing London.
  • The Federal Republic of Germany consists out of sixteen states. (Eleven older onesnote  + five new ones since 1990). This is partly because in its history, Germany has consisted out of many de-facto independent states for a long time, and partly in order to avoid too much centralism like during those certain dreadful twelve years.
    • During the 19th century, the German Federation and North German Federation both existed after the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire but before the total unification of Germany.
    • The Holy Roman Empire and the Empire of 1871 also had aspects of a (con)federation, being composed of different states, each with a citizenship of its own (for instance, father Mozart's father saw to it that his son Wolfgang Amadeus had the citizenship of the Imperial Free City of Augsburg even though he was born and raised in the Bishopric of Salzburg) and armies that, depending on the size of the state, were more or less autonomous. In both the Holy Roman Empire and in the one founded by Bismarck there were great differences between the political systems of the individual states, ranging from absolute monarchies to quasi-democratic republics. In the Holy Roman Empire individual states pursued their own foreign policies and often as not formed alliances with foreign powers or amongst themselves (e. g. the Union (Protestant) and the League (Catholic) in the run-up to the Thirty Years' War).
    • The German Empire itself was a weirder example of this trope, being a federal monarchy, with the German Emperor (who was also the King of Prussia) ruling over a nation divided into many kingdoms, duchies, and other similar states. Each of these smaller states had their own rulers (the kingdoms, like Bavaria, had their own Kings, for example, while other states were ruled by Princes, Grand Dukes or Dukes, and the Free Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck were even republics despite answering to a federal monarch) and their own parliaments, and many times had minted some of their own currency and a few larger kingdoms even had their own armies, while the empire as a whole had its own currency and legislature and a combined military force, ultimately ruling as a central government for the rest of Germany.
    • The Republic of Austria is also a Federation, however Austria-Hungary was not as it was still a Dual Monarchy. Though Archduke Franz Ferdinand and scholars proposed the formation of the United States of Greater Austria to resolve the ethnic and nationalist tensions within tensions. Sadly Franz Ferdinand's assassination in Sarajevo and collapse of the empire ended this.
  • Malaysia consists of thirteen states and three federal territories. Similar to the German Empire, it is a federal monarchy; nine of the states have their own rulers. The rulers choose one of themselves as the federal king, who in turn appoints governors for the four states without a ruler. (Singapore used to be a fourteenth state; they left less than two years after they joined. Singaporeans say that they were expelled, Malaysians say they seceded.)
    • Although a federation, the Malaysian constitution gives the federal government so much power and almost all tax revenues that the states are reduced to little more than glorified local governments. The fact that before 2008 almost all state governments were controlled by the same political coalition as the federal government since independence probably didn't help.
  • Belgium is a really interesting case of a unitary state slowly metamorphosing into a federation based on ethnic lines. It all started in the late 1960s after the Belgian Dutch (who were traditionally regarded to be much lower in social ranking compared to the Belgian French, and frequently suffered linguistic discrimination) decided enough was enough after a massive scandal involving ethnic clashes at the bilingual Leuwen university. The university was split along linguistic lines and the kingdom followed - 1970 brought the establishment of the three linguistic communities (Dutch, French and German - which encompasses 9 municipalities that are inhabited by Germans yet given for some reason to Belgium after World War I) and 1980 saw the establishment of Flanders (which also took over for the Dutch linguistic community since the territories matched) and Wallonia (which did not take over the French Community as the German Community also belongs to Wallonia territory-wise; that means there have to be two different French governments, one for the Community and one for Wallonia that also includes a few German representatives). 1993 saw the formation of Brussels as a capital district separate from both Flanders and Wallonia (but belonging to both the Dutch and French community - it's complicated) and the splitting of the province of Brabant into a Flemish and Walloon part, and the official redesignation of Belgium as a federal monarchy. These successive state reforms note  slowly transferred more and more power away from the to the individual regions, which makes many politicians and analysts think that the country is doomed to fall apart eventually. The political changes during the 2010s, however, suggests that weakening of the federation may be winding down - the final state reform to date, in 2011, mainly concerned the transformation of the country's Senate from a weird hybrid of elected senators (like in the US) and delegated senators (like in Canada and a few other federations) to being purely delegated by the regions. Oh, and the feudal remnant of the King's children being senators was also swept away.
  • The Central American Federal Republic was a brief Federation of Central American states of what is now Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, with the capital in Guatemala and a Constitution based on the United States', but internal fighting especially among the liberal and conservative factions caused its downfall with Costa Rica as the first country to defect quickly followed by ther others. Los Altos, one of the states, was absorbed by Guatemala to this day. But several failed attempts to re-create it happened througout history with no success.
  • Israeli scientist Haim Eshed claimed in 2020 that the Galactic Federation was real and had contacts with the US and Israel's government, that Donald Trump wanted to make it public but the aliens opposed it and that there are alien-earthling bases on Mars.
  • Franz Ferdinand floated the idea of a Federation to replace the faltering Austro-Hungarian Empire, the United States of Greater Austria. In which Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Slovakia, Transylvania and 8 other states would join into a republic where all would be equal partners. In a sad twist of irony, this helped lead to his assassination, as Serb nationalists feared becoming equal partners in a republic would make citizens lose interest in full Serb unification.