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Federation founding ceremony, 2161

The signing of the Charter in 2161

Federation Charter

The Federation Charter, as seen aboard the USS Voyager

"The Federation is based on mutual cooperation, the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts."
– Kathryn Janeway, 2377 ("The Void")

The Charter of the United Federation of Planets (or Federation Charter for short) was the document that was ratified by the original members of the United Federation of Planets at its founding in 2161. Jonathan Archer was one of the signers of the charter. (TNG: "The Outcast"; ENT: "Zero Hour", "These Are the Voyages...")

In 2372, Benjamin Sisko pointed out to Akorem Laan that if Akorem, as Emissary of the Prophets, guided the people of Bajor towards using the D'jarra caste system, it would prevent them from joining the Federation, as caste-based discrimination went against the Federation Charter. (DS9: "Accession")

In 2375, after discovering Luther Sloan's plan to interfere with the selection of a new member to the Romulan Continuing Committee, Julian Bashir pointed out that the Federation Charter explicitly forbade interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. (DS9: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges")

While trapped in the Void in 2377, USS Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway used the Federation Charter as an example to form the basis of a multi-species alliance to help many other trapped ships escape the Void. She described it as being a statement of principles, rather than a practical document. (VOY: "The Void")


One excerpt from the Charter:

"We the lifeforms of the United Federation of Planets determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to reaffirm faith in the fundamental rights of sentient beings, in the dignity and worth of all lifeforms, in the equal rights of members of planetary systems large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of interstellar law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of living on all worlds, and for these ends, to practice toleration and live together in peace with one another, and to unite our strength to maintain interstellar peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institutions of methods, that weapons of destruction shall not be used, save in the common interest, and to employ interstellar resources for the promotion…"

The text is as seen in VOY: "The Void". The remainder was not displayed.

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Background information[]

The above text is a rewording of the United Nations charter, altered via the use of more expansive and inclusive words in place of Human- and Earth-centric terms.

A comment Deanna Troi voices in "These Are the Voyages...", in which she wishes she could inform those viewing the founding ceremony that the alliance being formed would "give birth to the Federation," would seem to suggest that the ceremony was not the signing of the Federation Charter, but the charter for an earlier interspecies alliance such as the Coalition of Planets. However, this could be seen to contradict a comment by Daniels in ENT: "Zero Hour", in which he specifically said the ceremony had Archer and the other planetary representatives signing the Federation Charter. It is possible that Troi's comment meant either the alliance would grow from merely an alliance to a political body, or that Daniels referred to a different ceremony. Alternatively, Troi's remark may simply be referring to the contemporary, 24th century, Federation which is a far larger, more developed galactic union than the one being born and depicted here. From this point of view, Troi is fascinated by the fact that such a relatively small alliance grows into the Federation she knows.

A clipping in Captain Picard's photo album (seen in Star Trek Generations) suggests the Federation Charter was signed on October 11, 2161. This, however, is not considered canon, as the clipping was not visible on-screen.

The relationship between the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets and the Charter of the United Federation of Planets is unclear. Both contain rights for individuals, as Sisko put it in DS9: "Accession", when he remarked, "Caste-based discrimination goes against the Federation Charter." It is most likely that the Charter describes the requirements for entry of a planet into the Federation (e.g., no entry if caste-based discrimination is in place), while the Constitution describes the principles, governing structure, and citizen rights once becoming a member (e.g., rights against self-incrimination).

The Star Fleet Technical Manual features the "Articles of Federation", a Federation charter. Just as was the case for "The Void", Franz Joseph too revised the UN Charter text with a more galactic sensibility and noun set, but retained the much longer phrasings of the UN original. In fact, the eventual canon text is remarkably similar in reflecting the root document, differing only in its use of shorter, more succinct phrases and sentences.

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