In this paper, we generalize the idea of the free-body diagram for analytical mechanics for representations of mechanical systems in configuration space. The configuration space is characterized locally by an Euclidean tangent space. A key element in this work relies on the relaxation of constraint conditions. A new set of steps is proposed to treat constrained systems. According to this, the analysis should be broken down to two levels: (1) the specification of a transformation via the relaxation of the constraints; this defines a subspace, the space of constrained motion; and (2) specification of conditions on the motion in the space of constrained motion. The formulation and analysis associated with the first step can be seen as the generalization of the idea of the free-body diagram. This formulation is worked out in detail in this paper. The complement of the space of constrained motion is the space of admissible motion. The parametrization of this second subspace is generally the task of the analyst. If the two subspaces are orthogonal then useful decoupling can be achieved in the dynamics formulation. Conditions are developed for this orthogonality. Based on this, the dynamic equations are developed for constrained and admissible motions. These are the dynamic equilibrium equations associated with the generalized free-body diagram. They are valid for a broad range of constrained systems, which can include, for example, bilaterally constrained systems, redundantly constrained systems, unilaterally constrained systems, and nonideal constraint realization.

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