The Law Dictionary

Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed.

What is FEDERAL

In constitutional law. A term commonly used to express a league or compact between two or more states.In American law. Belonging to the general government or union of the states.Founded on or organized under the constitution or laws of the United States.The tTnited States has been generally styled, in American political and judicialwritings, a “federal government.” The term has not been imposed by any specificconstitutional authority. but only expresses the general sense and opinion upon thenature of the form of government. In recent years, there is observable a disposition toemploy the term “national” in speaking of the government of the Union. Neither wordsettles anything as to the nature or powers of the government. “Federal” is somewhatmore appropriate if the government is considered a union of the states; “national” ispreferable if the view is adopted that the state governments and the Union are two distinctsystems, each established by the people directly, one for local and the other for national purposes. See United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 23 L Ed. 588; Abbott.

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