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Difference between Federal and National Government

Difference between Federal and National Government

There is a lot of confusion about the difference between federal and national governments. Most people use the terms interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between the two types of government. The federal government is a type of national government, and it is one level below the national government in terms of power.

The federal government consists of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The national government has two branches: executive and legislative. National governments are rare, and they exist when there is a need for a more powerful central authority than what can be provided by a federal government. A good example of a nation with a national government in France.

What is Federal Government?

Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and smaller political units. In the United States, the Federal Government shares power with the state and local governments.

  • The Federal Government is responsible for certain national tasks, such as defense, diplomacy, and taxation. The state governments are responsible for certain tasks, such as public education and transportation.
  • The Federal Government also has the power to regulate trade between the states. Federalism allows different levels of government to share power and responsibilities.
  • This system allows the Federal Government to provide a certain degree of stability and unity while still giving states the flexibility to meet the needs of their citizens. Federalism is one of the unique features of the United States Constitution.

What is National Government?

A national government is the government of a nation, and it is typically composed of national institutions like the armed forces, police, and bureaucracy.

  • National governments are responsible for the promulgation and enforcement of national law, as well as the protection of the borders and territorial integrity of the state.
  • They also typically exercise sole political authority within their territory, though this is not always the case. National governments usually have a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and they are typically the only entities authorized to mint currency or declare war.
  • The national government is distinguished from local government, which is a government that is specific to a particular locality or municipality.

Difference between Federal and National Government

The federal and national governments are often used interchangeably, but there is a key difference between the two terms. The federal government refers to the governing body of a federation, which is a political entity that consists of several smaller states or regions.

  • The national government, on the other hand, simply refers to the governing body of a nation.
  • In most cases, the national government will also be the federal government, but this is not always the case.
  • For example, in the United States, the federal government is made up of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, while the national government includes all three of those branches as well as state and local governments.

In short, the federal government refers to the specific governing body of a federation, while the national government can refer to either that same governing body or the broader concept of governing a nation.


The Federal government is a national government with enumerated powers while the National government is a federation of states. Both systems have their own benefits and drawbacks, but it ultimately comes down to what system will work best for the individual country. In some cases, like in the United States, both systems are in place to serve different purposes.

In other countries, such as Australia, the Federal government is more powerful and the National government exists mainly to provide representation for the states. It’s important to understand the difference between Federal and National governments so you can make an informed decision about which system would work best for your country.

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