A confederate government is a group of states, nations or territories that are joined together by a central government that has limited powers of authority. With a weaker central government, the individual state or nation governments retain a strong sense of independence.
During the first years of the United States, the central government was a confederation governed by the Articles of Confederation. During the Civil War, the slave states broke away from the union and formed their own confederate government, the Confederate States of America. An example of a current confederation is Canada, which is a confederation of 12 provinces.