“Join, or die.” by mclanea is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Back in my high school civics class — remember “civics class”? — we were taught the distinction between a “federation” and a “confederation”, with an eye toward understanding the difference between the American states before and after 1789. The take-away from all this was that a functional Federal government was necessary to preserve both the relative autonomy of the individual states and a means by which they could act together to preserve the…