Terran Colonial Authority
Indirect Democracy 2200.01.01
In 2160 CE, Human society is composed of six independent worlds (of which Earth is one), and each world is divided into many independent nations, so there’s no one centralized government representing all of Humanity. The next best thing is the Terran Colonial Authority (TCA), a treaty organization which oversees interstellar issues, manages the colonial process, and provides for the common defense of Humanity through the military (Colonial Fleet) and exploration (Scout Corps) arms. The TCA is run by a council of delegates from the six worlds, but in practice, its policies tend to be dominated by Earth’s interests. Which is not terribly unfair, considering that the vast majority of Humanity still reside on Earth.
The TCA was founded in 2107 to replace the hodgepodge of competing colonial organizations that had handled the earlier colonizations of the Alpha Centauri system, in the hope of preventing juridisctional disputes during the scramble to colonize Tau Ceti II (Aldea). The Scout Corps was formed out of the best of the existing exploratory teams of that early period. The military Colonial Fleet was authorized in 2115 to prevent armed conflict between the competing interests on Aldea.
The TCA is somewhere in between NATO and the US Federal Government in the scope of its powers, run by a delegation of member states and a federal bureaucracy. No doubt the large Earth nations will require some special concessions to sit down at the same table with tiny colonial nations, perhaps in the form of veto power or something like the bicameral system of the US Senate and Congress, but the details aren’t terribly important in story terms.
An important thing to consider when thinking about the colonies is that each colony world is not going to be a monolithic entity; each world may have dozens of independent colonies, set up under different charters. Some will be on friendly terms and may cooperate to form a planetwide meta-government, and some may be on unfriendly or even hostile terms with each other. At the current time, there are no major hostilities between the various nation-states, and those that are unfriendly have temporarily set aside their disagreements in view of the greater mutual threat.
When a colony is first chartered, it is probably not yet recognized as an independent nation, and will probably need a sponsor, which will be an existing (usually Earth) nation-state, a corporation, or occasionally the TCA itself. The goals that the colony needs to reach will be explicitly specified in the charter. A colony that has not yet earned statehood will probably have a TCA governor, who might be appointed or elected, but who probably has to be approved by the TCA.
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