The United States and the European Union: Models for Their Epochs

Daniel J. Elazar

in The Federal Vision

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245000
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599996 | DOI:
 The United States and the European Union: Models for Their Epochs

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Draws a contrast between the American and European experiences of union, the one built upon an indigenous American ideology, which may be properly termed federal democracy, and the other in which federation was too great a step for post‐World War II Europe. The problem is that of integrating the federal vision with the modern conception of state sovereignty, and this has given rise to two systems that are roughly intended to serve the same purpose (the joining together of identifiable polities in a common enterprise within an embracing authoritative framework), although the nature of their respective unions is different: one federal and the other confederal. Addresses the manner in which these two systems became models by looking first at the theoretical history of the competition between statism and federalism in the modern and postmodern epochs (the latter of which is only beginning to take form). In the following sections, it goes on to look at the rejection of federalism in Europe, the EU as a confederation, subsidiarity as federal or hierarchical, the EU's Catholic cultural origins, the spread of confederal arrangements in the new European model, federalism and confederalism as forms of democratic government, and the current challenge for Europe.

Keywords: confederal union; confederalism; democratic government; Europe; EU; federal democracy; federal union; federalism; history; models of union; state sovereignty; statism; subsidiarity; USA

Chapter.  10454 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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