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Alliance vs League vs Coalition vs Fusion vs Confederacy vs Confederation vs Federation

Alliance, League, Coalition, Fusion, Confederacy, Confederation and Federation all agree in the idea of combination, chiefly political, for a common object.

Alliance applies particularly to a joining of interests on the part of families (by marriage) or of states (by compact or treaty); it is also less formally used of a connection for mutual benefit between other bodies, organized or not.

  • a defensive alliance
  • an alliance between producers and consumers

League though often used without distinction from alliance typically suggests a more formal compact or more definite object and may frequently (unlike alliance) be taken in a bad sense.

  • the Solemn League and Covenant
  • to be in league with the powers of darkness

Coalition refers to a temporary alliance of otherwise opposing interests, parties, or factions.

  • Mr. Fox, and his famous coalition with Lord North
  • a coalition government

Fusion is a coalition of political parties for the purpose of defeating another party in an election.

  • a fusion of Republicans and independent Democrats in New York City opposed the Tammany Democratic ticket

Confederacy and confederation apply specifically to a union by compact or treaty of independent states under a government to which powers are delegated for dealing primarily with common external relations.

  • the Southern Confederacy
  • the Articles of Confederation
  • the German Confederation

Federation in its broad sense includes any union under the terms of a league or covenant but specifically it designates a sovereign state or city formed by the union of other states or cities with a central general government and several local governments.

  • the Federation of Labor
  • the United States of America constitutes a. federation
  • federation was the name given to the scheme for blending the Five Towns into one town
  • the Federation of Malaysia