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CONFEDERATIONS. .                               169
tral government to compel their fulfilment of their duties,
we should have an imperfect confederation, like one of the
forms of the Germanic body.
We shall not then attempt to draw very rigid lines nor to
make nice definitions. The distinction, however, which the
German writers have introduced into political science between
a staatenbund and a bundesstaat is a very valuable one, the
former word denoting a league or confederation of states,
the latter a state formed by means of a league or confedera-
tion. In order to know to which of the two classes a given
state belongs, we need to inquire only whether the political
body in question has the essential qualities of a state or not.
If it has the right to make war and peace, to send and re-
ceive ambassadors, to levy taxes, to hold courts, to protect
and restrain its members so as to keep them within the funda-
mental law of the union, to interpret that law in the last re-
sort, to have a legislature and an executive of its own, with
powers answering to such a constitution, it is a state formed
by the union of political bodies which were either states, or
dependencies of another state or of other states. In the
latter case the union was the result of a revolutionary meas-
ure, and state existence had not begun until the revolution
had finished its course by the acknowledgment of the union.
In the former case the states renounced their independent
existence as truly as two states would renounce theirs when
they united permanently together under one sovereign and
one law. As, however, the rights belonging to the bundes-
staat, or state resulting from a confederation, may greatly vary
between the extreme where the parts seem to be consolidated
together, to the complete or almost complete destruction
of the original parts, and the opposite extreme where the
government of the union is in its power and influence exceed-
ingly weak, it may evidently be difficult to decide whether
a particular confederation belongs to this form or not. On
the other hand, the staatenbund or league of states may ap-
proach very nearly to the state constructed by confederation,
or may approach the loose condition of a mere alliance for