AskDefine | Define federalist

Dictionary Definition



1 a member of a former political party in the United States that favored a strong centralized federal government
2 an advocate of federalism

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. An advocate of federalism.
  2. In the context of "Canadian|politics": A supporter of the view that the province of Quebec should remain within the Canadian federal system; an opponent of Quebec-based separatism or sovereigntism.


  1. Of or relating to federalism, or its advocates.

Extensive Definition

The term "federalist" describes several political beliefs around the world. It also has reference to the concept of federalism or the type of government called a federation.

Latin America

In Latin America the term "Federalist" is used in reference to Argentina and Colombia. Federalists were in opposition to the Unitarians in Argentina and Centralists in Colombia in the early 1800s.


Federalist, in regard to the National Question, defends the concept of Quebec remaining within Canada, while either keeping the status quo or pursuing greater autonomy and constitutional recognition of a Quebec nation, with corresponding rights and powers for Quebec within the Canadian federation. This ideology is opposed to Quebec sovereigntism, proponents of Quebec independence, most often (but not for all followers) along with an economic union with Canada similar to the European Union.

The United States

In the United States the term federalist usually applies to a member of one of the following groups:



In contemporary usage, as articulated by president Richard Nixon's New Federalism, federalists advocate the principle of greater regional autonomy within the United States—usually by allowing individual states to set their own agendas and determine the handling of issues, rather than trying to impose a nationally uniform solution. Usually federalism is proposed as a solution to issues that may have strong support in some parts of the country and strong opposition in other parts, for example: restrictions on abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, medicinal use of cannabis, gun rights and restrictions on property rights.
The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies is an organization of conservative and libertarian lawyers and others dedicated to debate of these principles.
The World Federalist Movement. "World federalists support the creation of democratic global structures accountable to the citizens of the world and call for the division of international authority among separate agencies."
federalist in Finnish: Yhdysvaltojen Federalistinen puolue

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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