federal

Federal refers to the national government. The voting age is determined by the federal government while the driving age is decided on a state by state basis.

Before the Constitution was ratified, the United States was a loose confederation of states, with no real federal government. The Constitution created a stronger federal government but to this day, there is a conflict between those who want power to go to the states and those who support federal control. States don't seem to mind federal subsidies though.

Primary Meanings of federal

1.
adj
characterized by or constituting a form of government in which power is divided between one central and several regional authorities
2.
adj
national; especially in reference to the government of the United States as distinct from that of its member units
Full Definitions of federal
1

adj characterized by or constituting a form of government in which power is divided between one central and several regional authorities

“a federal system like that of the United States”
federal governments often evolved out of confederations”
Antonyms:
unitary
characterized by or constituting a form of government in which power is held by one central authority

adj of or relating to the central government of a federation

“a federal district is one set aside as the seat of the national government”
2

adj national; especially in reference to the government of the United States as distinct from that of its member units

federal courts”
“the federal highway program”
federal property”
Synonyms:
national
concerned with or applicable to or belonging to an entire nation or country

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