(covers information from several alternate timelines)
The United Federation of Planets (abbreviated as UFP and commonly referred to as the Federation) was an interstellar federal republic, composed of planetary governments that agreed to exist semi-autonomously under a single central government based on the principles of universal liberty, rights, and equality, and to share their knowledge and resources in peaceful cooperation, scientific development, space exploration and defensive purposes. (TOS: "Arena", "A Taste of Armageddon"; DS9: "Battle Lines"; VOY: "Innocence"; Star Trek: First Contact)
Unlike its imperial rivals, who derived power from a single species subjugating other races, (TOS: "Errand of Mercy", "A Private Little War"; Star Trek Nemesis; ENT: "United") the Federation's various member worlds joined willingly (TNG: "Attached"; DS9: "Emissary", "Rapture"; VOY: "The Void") and were equals in the Federation's democratic society. (DS9: "Paradise Lost"; VOY: "Author, Author") The Federation Starfleet was incorporated to maintain exploratory, scientific, diplomatic, and defense functions. (TOS: "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Journey to Babel")
- Main article: Federation history
The Federation was founded in San Francisco, Earth in 2161. (TNG: "The Outcast"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "These Are the Voyages...") The seeds of the Federation were planted during the Babel Crisis of 2154, during which a temporary alliance was formed to search for a Romulan drone ship preying on local vessels. It was this that first brought together the species that founded the Federation: Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, and Tellarites. (ENT: "United") Sometime around January 2155, these four species as well as others, including the Denobulans, the Rigellians, and the Coridanites, began talks to create what was later considered a direct precursor to the Federation: the Coalition of Planets. (ENT: "Demons") The Earth-Romulan War, which broke out in 2156 and was won by an alliance of forces from Earth, Andoria, Vulcan, and Tellar in 2160, immediately preceded the foundation of the Federation, which took place in San Francisco the following year between dignitaries of these four planets. (ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", "These Are the Voyages...")
Although the Federation's intentions were peaceful, around it were other, more belligerent powers such as the Klingon and Romulan Empires. As it expanded through the admittance of more and more worlds, it came into conflict with these powers. In the 23rd century, its main adversary was the Klingon Empire, with war briefly erupting between the two in 2267, before being halted by the Organians. (TOS: "Errand of Mercy") However, tensions eased considerably towards the end of the century, with the Khitomer Conference of 2293 being a substantial turning point. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) This conference saw the signing of the Khitomer Accords, which effectively ended hostile relations.
At the start of the 24th century, the Federation began an unprecedented period of peaceful exploration of the galaxy, free of major conflicts, as its main adversary of the previous century, the Klingon Empire, was now at peace with it. However, relations with the Romulans remained hostile, albeit at a low, 'cold war' level. There was also a series of local conflicts in the late 2340s, as the Federation came into contact with other militant races, such as the Cardassians, the Talarians, the Tholians and the Tzenkethi.
In the alternate timeline created by the disappearance of the USS Enterprise-C into a temporal rift, the Federation became embroiled in a war with the Klingon Empire that lasted until at least 2366. (TNG: "Yesterday's Enterprise")
Then, however, the period of peaceful exploration came to an abrupt end. In 2365, the Federation encountered its single worst threat, in the cybernetic pseudo-race known as the Borg. One of the most powerful and destructive forces in the entire galaxy, the Borg invaded the Federation twice within less than a decade. They were unlike anything the Federation had ever encountered, and were only foiled by chance and resourcefulness. The Federation was thus schooled in the fact that, in the vast, unexplored reaches of the galaxy beyond what they knew, there were threats that they could not even imagine. (TNG: "Q Who", "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II"; Star Trek: First Contact)
Then, in 2370, contact was made with the Dominion, the predominant ruling power over much of the Gamma Quadrant. After numerous skirmishes, misfortunes suffered by the Cardassian Union allowed for their eventual incorporation into the Dominion, and the subsequent Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant. The Dominion/Cardassian forces were also joined by the reclusive but immensely powerful race known as the Breen. The ensuing war was the greatest crisis to be faced by the Federation, with the Federation forming an alliance with the Klingons and Romulans to defeat the Dominion. Although the Alliance eventually emerged victorious, many of the Federation's important member worlds, such as Betazed, Coridan, and Benzar, had been temporarily occupied before the Dominion's offensive could be turned back. Thousands of Federation Starfleet vessels and millions of lives were lost, in what turned out be, as of the late 24th century, the bloodiest conflict in Federation history. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light", et al.) The most devastating and demoralizing offensive occurred in 2375, when the Breen hit the Federation at its heart, with a surprise attack on Starfleet Headquarters on Earth. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil")
However, the aftermath of the Dominion and Borg invasions allowed the Federation to establish new relations with many of its former adversaries, the Romulans in particular. In 2379, cooperation took place between the crew of a Federation Starfleet vessel, the USS Enterprise-E, and Romulan forces to defeat the Reman Praetor Shinzon, whose actions would have destroyed both Earth and the Romulan Star Empire. It was hoped that this would mark the beginning of an end to hostility between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire, marking the beginnings of détente with a traditional enemy of the Federation. (Star Trek Nemesis)
In at least one version of the 26th century, the Klingon Empire and races such as the Ithenites and Xindi joined the Federation. In the 2550s of this timeline, the Federation proved instrumental in halting an invasion of the galaxy by a power known as the Sphere-Builders. This action caused the Sphere-Builders to try to stop the Federation from ever being formed by manipulating the Xindi into attempting to destroy Earth in 2153. (ENT: "Azati Prime") By the timeline's 31st century, the Federation had become embroiled in the Temporal Cold War, attempting to maintain the integrity and outcome of its subjective history. (ENT: "Storm Front", "Storm Front, Part II")
Location and SizeEdit
Federation space was located approximately thirty thousand light years from the core region of the galaxy. (TNG: "The Nth Degree") Earth, the capital planet of the Federation, was located less than ninety light years from the Beta Quadrant. (ENT: "Broken Bow", "Two Days and Two Nights"; Star Trek Into Darkness)
By 2373, the Federation's territory was spread across 8,000 light years, with a membership of over 150 worlds. (DS9: "Battle Lines"; VOY: "Innocence"; Star Trek: First Contact) Its major neighboring powers were the Klingon Empire, the Romulan Star Empire, the Cardassian Union, and the Ferengi Alliance. Other near-by powers included the First Federation, the Sheliak Corporate, the Son'a, the Talarians, the Tzenkethi, the Tholian Assembly, the Breen Confederacy, and the Xindi.
In 2377 and 2378, the location of the Federation was labeled in a map of the Milky Way Galaxy, that depicted the flight plan of the USS Voyager. In the chart, the Federation was located in the Orion Arm, next to the Alpha-Beta border. (Star Trek: Voyager, Season 7 production art )
The Federation's government was structured as that of a representative republic, with its capital located on Earth. (TOS: "Amok Time"; DS9: "Rapture"; VOY: "In the Flesh"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
The Executive BranchEdit
The executive branch was responsible for the day-to-day management of the Federation. The democratically-elected Federation President was the head of this branch. (DS9: "Paradise Lost"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) The Federation President served as both the head of state and head of government; as chief executive officer of the government, the President determined most of the Federation's foreign policy, managed budgetary concerns, and served as supreme commander of the Federation's military forces. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) The President's office was located in the Earth city of Paris on the European continent. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
The Federation also maintained a number of executive agencies that assisted in the administration of its affairs:
- Central Bureau of Penology
- Department of Cartography
- Department of Temporal Investigations
- Earth Broadcasting Company
- Federation Archaeology Council
- Federation Astronomical Committee
- Federation Bureau of Industrialization
- Federation Bureau of Planetary Treaties
- Federation Central
- Federation Naval Patrol
- Federation News Network
- Federation News Service
- Federation Science Bureau
- Federation Science Council
- Federation Standards Measurement Bureau
- Solar News Network
- Starfleet – see below.
- Starfleet Broadcasting
- Terraform Command
- UFP News
- United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) (existed from the 21st and at least into the 23rd century)
The Federation Council was the unicameral legislative body of the Federation. (TOS: "Amok Time") Composed of representatives from the various member worlds, the Federation Council held the power to create, amend, and ratify Federation law. (DS9: "Rapture"; TNG: "Force of Nature", "Journey's End"; Star Trek: Insurrection) The Federation Council also held a great deal of influence over the operations of the Federation's military service, Starfleet. It sometimes served as the judging body of specially-convened courts-martial, and on occasion issued operational orders to Starfleet. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; TNG: "The Defector") The Council also held influence over the making of Federation foreign policy. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "For the Cause") The Council's meeting chamber was in the Earth city of San Francisco, on the west coast of the North American continent.
The judiciary was the branch of government responsible for resolving legal disputes. It consisted of a hierarchy of courts, with the Federation Supreme Court at its apex. (DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume") Federation courts sometimes relied on panels of citizens known as juries. The Federation Grand Jury heard testimony as part of criminal investigations, while the Federation Special Jury tried war criminals. (DS9: "The Ascent", "Waltz") Alongside the civilian courts, Starfleet had its own system of courts martial. (TOS: "Court Martial"; TNG: "The Pegasus"; DS9: "For the Uniform", "Time's Orphan"; Star Trek: Insurrection)
- Main article: Federation law
The fundamental political principles and laws of the Federation derived from two important documents:
- The Charter of the United Federation of Planets was the document ratified by the original members of the United Federation of Planets at the organization's founding in 2161. Caste-based discrimination was prohibited under the Charter. (TNG: "The Outcast"; DS9: "Accession"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "These Are the Voyages...")
- The Constitution of the United Federation of Planets incorporated a series of enumerated rights to which all sentient beings were regarded as being entitled, collectively referred to as the Guarantees. The Seventh Guarantee of the Federation Constitution protected individuals from self-incrimination, while the Twelfth Guarantee protected the rights of artists. (TNG: "The Drumhead", "The Perfect Mate"; VOY: "Author, Author")
Other rights and responsibilities for citizens derived from:
- Starfleet Charter
- The Federation Judicial Code, which provided guidelines and regulations related to legal issues.
- Starfleet General Orders and Regulations, a series of guidelines used to instruct members of Starfleet on the proper etiquette and policy in a situation that requires consultation for a resolution.
- The Federation Uniform Code of Justice, which formed the legal basis of Starfleet court martial proceedings.
Exploration and DefenseEdit
- Main article: Starfleet
Starfleet was the deep-space exploratory and defensive service maintained by the United Federation of Planets. Its principal functions were the advancement of Federation knowledge about the galaxy, the advancement of Federation knowledge of science and technology, and the defense of the Federation. In addition, it also played a significant diplomatic role. As per its mandate of deep-space exploration, its personnel were frequently brought into contact with cultures and sentient species whose existences were previously unknown to the Federation. Federation Starfleet officers therefore acted as official representatives of the Federation in these cases. Also, Federation Starfleet vessels were frequently used to ferry ambassadors on diplomatic missions. (TNG: "The Last Outpost"; TOS: "Journey to Babel"; ENT: "United"; ENT: "Babel One")
By the founding of the Federation in the 22nd century capitalism was no longer the economic system of Earth, being replaced by the New World Economy. According to Tom Paris, it was around this time that "money went the way of the dinosaur." (VOY: "Dark Frontier")
Under the New World Economy material needs and money no longer existed and humanity had grown out of its infancy. People were no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things, effectively eliminating hunger and want and the need for possessions. The challenge and driving force then were to self-improvement, self-enrichment, and the betterment of all humanity. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, TNG: "The Neutral Zone", "The Price", "Time's Arrow, Part II", Star Trek: First Contact)
Although most items and services were provided by the Federation, some luxury items and services could still be requisitioned as late as the 24th century using Federation credits, the Federation continued to deal with other cultures which had money-based economies, and private businesses from other races such as the Ferengi were sometimes permitted on Federation stations such as Deep Space 9, despite being scornful of the Federation's disregard for currency. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint", "The Price"; VOY: "Caretaker"; DS9: "In the Cards", "Who Mourns for Morn?")
Admittance into the Federation was either by invitation or successful petition of a world or civilization desirous of joining. In the second case, membership was granted only upon satisfaction of certain requirements. Firstly, the government of the prospective member submitted an official petition to the Federation Council, outlining its desire to join. A lengthy, thorough investigation of the prospective member's culture followed. This investigation could take several years, and was done to ascertain whether or not the culture genuinely shared the values of the Federation: values of benevolence, peaceful co-existence and co-operation, the rule of law, and equal rights and justice. (DS9: "Rapture"; TNG: "The Measure Of A Man", "Attached") For example, the discovery on the petitioning planet, Angosia III, of enhanced soldiers being unjustly and indefinitely imprisoned without treatment in times of peace was considered unacceptable in Captain Jean-Luc Picard's official evaluation of the planet for the Federation. (TNG: "The Hunted")
Even before the investigation, the prospective member had to meet certain requirements. These were as follows:
- It had to have an "advanced level of technology." The Federation's baseline definition of this term was the capability for faster-than-light space travel. (TNG: "First Contact"; Star Trek: Insurrection)
- Its government should have achieved stable planetary political unity, demonstrating a resolution of social and political differences and a respect of the rights of the individual. Membership was still considered if there was an isolated faction present that did not want membership, but this was a rare case. (TNG: "The Hunted", "Attached")
- No form of caste discrimination was to be practiced. (DS9: "Accession")
Every ascending member had to go through the same admittance process, which included a specific timetable. In mid-2372, Bajoran First Minister Shakaar Edon successfully negotiated the admittance timetable for Bajor to be cut in half (DS9: "Crossfire"). Roughly one year later, in mid-2373, Bajor's petition for membership was accepted (DS9: "Rapture").
- See also: List of Federation members
Due to its size and history, the United Federation of Planets gained a reputation among the neighboring populations and and beyond. Some of that reputation was based on dissemination of factual information, and some was fabricated or exaggerated for various purposes or simply through negligence.
Klingon propaganda in the 23rd century claimed that the Federation committed atrocities against its prisoners, keeping them in death camps and torturing them for their scientific and military secrets. When beamed aboard the USS Enterprise in 2268, Mara reminded her husband Kang of these claims. Captain James T. Kirk remarked that she had much to learn about the Federation. (TOS: "Day of the Dove") In the aftermath of the so-called Genesis Incident, Klingon Ambassador Kamarag publicly referred to the Federation as behaving "like a gang of intergalactic criminals". (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). In the 2290s, the daughter of the Klingon Chancellor, Azetbur, called it a "Homo Sapiens only club" (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
In 2269, the Enterprise apprehended Lokai, a native of the planet Cheron, who was responsible for the theft of a Federation shuttlecraft from Starbase 4. Following his apprehension, and, upon his initial interrogation by Captain Kirk, Lokai stated that he had heard about the starship and the "United Fleet of Planets" to which it belonged. Kirk quickly corrected Lokai, stating the correct name of the Federation. (TOS: "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield")
Prior to the breakdown of relations between the Federation and Klingon Empire, which eventually led to the Klingon-Federation War, Kurn opposed the decision to break the treaty but was overruled in Klingon Council. He later stated to Worf, that the reason for his opposition was "because Gowron underestimates the Federation. He thinks they're soft, weak, but he is wrong. Sooner or later, there will be war." (DS9: "Sons of Mogh")
Many desired association with the Federation. In the 2360s, multiple governments requested membership in the United Federation of Planets. Among these were government of Angosia III and one of the two governments of Kesprytt III. (TNG: "The Hunted", "Attached") In 2369, the Bajoran Provisional Government chose to become affiliated with the Federation and entrusted much of the operation of Deep Space 9 to the Federation's Starfleet. (DS9: "Emissary")
Some had a rather nuanced view of the Federation. During the preparation for the First Battle of Deep Space 9, in 2372, Quark expressed to Garak the direness of being stuck on the station, stating that "the worst part is, my only hope for salvation is the Federation." Quark went on to introduce Garak to the Earth concoction of root beer, which Quark went on to describe as being "bubbly and cloying and happy. Just like the Federation," adding, "but you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you start to like it." Garak, who disliked the taste of the "vile" beverage, added too, that it was "insidious", to which Quark added, "just like the Federation." Garak finally takes a moment to embrace the Federation, inquiring to Quark if he thought they would "be able to save us?" The defeated Quark responded, "I hope so." (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")
While the Dominion's leaders considered themselves to be superior, they viewed the Federation as a threat. Following the Battle of the Omarion Nebula, which eliminated the threat of the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar, the Changeling posing as Colonel Lovok stated that "after today the only real threats to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt either of them will be a threat for much longer." (DS9: "The Die is Cast") As the Dominion cold war pressed on, Benjamin Sisko was told by Weyoun that "the Dominion has endured for over 2,000 years, and will continue to endure, until long after the Federation has crumbled into dust." (DS9: "To the Death")
Later, during the Dominion War, it was Weyoun's belief that for the Dominion to absorb the Federation, following their theoretical defeat, that "holding on to a prize as vast as the Federation isn't going to be easy. It's going to require an enormous number of ships, a massive occupation army and constant vigilance." Ultimately, Weyoun personally believed that "the key to holding the Federation is Earth. If there's going to be an organized resistance against us, its birthplace will be there." (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")
In 2375, Ru'afo, a Son'a who was working in conjunction with Starfleet Vice Admiral Matthew Dougherty, expressed his views of the Federation, describing it as "old," adding "in the last twenty four months, it's been challenged by every major power in the quadrant – the Borg, the Cardassians, the Dominion. They all smell the scent of death on the Federation." Ru'afo suggested to Dougherty that it was for that very reason why the Federation Council "embraced [the Son'a's] offer, because it will give your dear Federation new life." (Star Trek: Insurrection)
Related topics Edit
Background information Edit
In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Federation was depicted as a group with certain vulnerabilities. "If you look at the original series, it had the Federation with real strengths and weaknesses," Robert Hewitt Wolfe pointed out. "I think Gene [Roddenberry] wanted to show that in times of crises people can get reactionary and that's not necessarily a good thing." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 43)
The Federation was dealt with more on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine than on Star Trek: Voyager. Robert Wolfe commented, "There was a realization [for the DS9 writing staff] – it started [in the show's third season], with TNG off the air and Voyager in the Delta Quadrant – that all the fun stuff of the Federation was ours to play with." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 28)
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine veered away from depicting the Federation typically. Ira Steven Behr commented, "Anything where we can have Federation people acting in ways that the Federation doesn't advise or support is interesting to me." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 109) On the other hand, the series' portrayal of the organization had to somwhat adhere to certain confines (such as with the design of the USS Defiant). Said Behr, "Everything has to stay within the Federation and the Federation is not, if you asked Gene Roddenberry, a military organization. We're not the cops of the galaxy." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102)
The premise of Star Trek: Enterprise always implied that a big part of the series would explore how the Federation was initiated and how things would change as the organization came into being. When Manny Coto took over as showrunner of the series for its fourth season, he opted to focus on this aspect of the show. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 55, p. 15) Ever since then, exploring the origins of the Federation was important to him. "He very much wanted to see the laying of the foundation of the Federation," André Bormanis recalled. "How did the Federation come to be? Who were the original charter members of the Federation, the United Federation of Planets? Why was it important to create [...] this tremendous planetary alliance? Let's show how this United Federation of Planets came to be. Let's write that future history, and that was tremendously fun, and very much through the efforts of Manny Coto to take us in that direction." While Coto was planning to deal with the birth of the Federation in the fourth season, this concept led to the idea of hiring Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. "And Mike [Sussman] said, 'Well, Judy and Gar have written Federation, and so they've written 250 years of this history. Maybe, you know, they might be worth talking to,'" recounted Judith Reeves-Stevens. ("Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise, Part One: New Voices", ENT Season 4 Blu-ray special features) She clarified, "I think it was specifically because they were laying the groundwork for the Federation." (ENT: "Observer Effect" audio commentary, ENT Season 4 Blu-ray special features) Jonathan Archer actor Scott Bakula noted, "I would have loved to have been able to explore that journey to the Federation and their creation of it [...] to a greater extent. And I think that would have been, um, just more fun for the audience, [...] just better, longer storytelling." ("Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise, Part Four: End of an Era", ENT Season 4 Blu-ray special features)
The Federation seal was first shown in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It reappeared on a flag in ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", whose final draft script stipulated that the flag was to display "the early Federation seal (as seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture)."