Editors’ Introduction

  • Dimitrios Karmis
  • Wayne Norman


The development of federal theory, and especially normative federal theory, owes a great debt to some famous Enlightenment political thinkers. These philosophers did not do much to enrich the terminology and definitions of federalism: indeed, they perpetuated the conventional practice of using terms such as confederation, federation, (con)federated state, and league interchangeably They were also not particularly clear about the institutional design of their preferred type of federal arrangement; although they all seemed to have in mind something more integrated than a mere alliance of sovereign states. Their major contribution lies elsewhere: in an era dominated by perpetual wars between absolute monarchies, they initiated a debate over the normative potential of federal institutions to secure peace at the international level, particularly in Europe.


Institutional Design Prefer Type Conventional Practice Sovereign State Normative Potential 
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Copyright information

© Dimitrios Karmis and Wayne Norman 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitrios Karmis
    • 1
  • Wayne Norman
    • 2
  1. 1.University of OttawaCanada
  2. 2.Université de MontréalCanada

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