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A sovereign state is a
political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social relation, social relations, and have a capacity to mobilize resource ...
represented by one
centralized government#REDIRECT Centralized government A centralized government (also united government) is one in which both executive and legislative power is concentrated centrally at the higher level as opposed to it being more distributed at various lower level g ...
that has
sovereignty Sovereignty is the supreme authority within a territory. Sovereignty entails hierarchy within the state, as well as external autonomy for states. In any state, sovereignty is assigned to the person, body, or institution that has the ultimate au ...
over a geographic area.
International law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is independent. According to the declarative theory of statehood, a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states.Thomas D. Grant, ''The recognition of states: law and practice in debate and evolution'' (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 1999), chapter 1. Unrecognised states will often find it difficult to exercise full treaty-making powers or engage in
diplomatic relations Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the int ...

diplomatic relations
with other sovereign states.


History

Since the end of the 19th century, almost the entire globe has been divided into sections (countries) with more or less defined borders assigned to different states. Previously, quite large plots of land were either unclaimed or deserted, or inhabited
nomadic people A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation which regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads (owning livestock), and tink ...
s that were not organized into states. However, even in modern states, there are large remote areas, such as the
Amazon's tropical forests
Amazon's tropical forests
, that are either uninhabited or inhabited exclusively or mainly by
indigenous people Indigenous peoples, also referred to as first peoples, first nations, aboriginal peoples, native peoples (with these terms often capitalized when referred to relating to specific countries), or autochthonous peoples, are culturally distinct et ...

indigenous people
(and some of them are still not in constant contact). There are also States that do not exercise de facto control over their entire territory, or where this control is disputed. Currently, the
international community The international community is a vague phrase used in geopolitics Geopolitics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...
includes more than 200 sovereign states, most of which are represented in the
United Nations The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and international security, security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for har ...

United Nations
. These states exist in a system of international relations, where each state takes into account the policies of other states by making its own calculations. From this point of view, States are integrated into the international system of special internal and external security and legitimization of the dilemma. Recently, the concept of the international community has been formed to refer to a group of States that have established rules, procedures and institutions for the implementation of relations. Thus, the foundation for
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
,
diplomacy Diplomacy is the practice of influencing the decisions and conduct of foreign governments or organizations through dialogue, negotiation, and other nonviolent means. Diplomacy usually refers to international relations carried out through the inte ...

diplomacy
between officially recognized sovereign states, their organizations and formal regimes has been laid.


Westphalian sovereignty

Westphalian sovereignty is the concept of
nation-state A nation state is a political unit where the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newsp ...
sovereignty based on territoriality and the absence of a role for external agents in domestic structures. It is an international system of states,
multinational corporation A multinational company (MNC) is a corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Nat ...
s, and organizations that began with the
Peace of Westphalia The Peace of Westphalia (german: Westfälischer Friede, ) is the collective name for two peace treaties signed in October 1648 in the Westphalian cities of Osnabrück Osnabrück (; wep, Ossenbrügge; archaic ''Osnaburg'') is a city in the ...
in 1648. Sovereignty is a term that is frequently misused. Up until the 19th century, the radicalised concept of a "standard of civilization" was routinely deployed to determine that certain people in the world were "uncivilized", and lacking organised societies. That position was reflected and constituted in the notion that their "sovereignty" was either completely lacking or at least of an inferior character when compared to that of the "civilized" people."
Lassa Oppenheim Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim (March 30, 1858 – October 7, 1919) was a renowned German jurist. He is regarded by many as the father of the modern discipline of international law International law, also known as public international law an ...
said, "There exists perhaps no conception the meaning of which is more controversial than that of sovereignty. It is an indisputable fact that this conception, from the moment when it was introduced into political science until the present day, has never had a meaning, which was universally agreed upon." In the opinion of H. V. Evatt of the
High Court of Australia The High Court of Australia is Australia's . It exercises and on matters specified within . The High Court was established following passage of the '. It derives its authority from Chapter III of the Australian Constitution, which vests it ...

High Court of Australia
, "sovereignty is neither a question of fact, nor a question of law, but a question that does not arise at all." Sovereignty has taken on a different meaning with the development of the principle of
self-determination The right of a people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a cultu ...
and the prohibition against the threat or use of force as ''
jus cogens Jus may refer to: Law * Jus (law) __NOTOC__ ''Ius'' or ''Jus'' (Latin, plural ''iura'') in ancient Rome was a right to which a citizen (''civis'') was entitled by virtue of his citizenship (''civitas''). The ''iura'' were specified by laws, so ...
'' norms of modern
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
. The
United Nations Charter The Charter of the United Nations (also known as the UN Charter) is the foundational treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public internation ...

United Nations Charter
, the
Draft Declaration on Rights and Duties of States Draft, The Draft, or Draught may refer to: Watercraft dimensions * Draft (hull) The draft or draught of a ship's Hull (watercraft), hull is the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull (keel). Draft determines the mini ...
, and the charters of regional international organizations express the view that all states are juridically equal and enjoy the same rights and duties based upon the mere fact of their existence as persons under international law. The right of nations to determine their own political status and exercise permanent sovereignty within the limits of their territorial jurisdictions is widely recognized. In political science, sovereignty is usually defined as the most essential attribute of the state in the form of its complete self-sufficiency in the frames of a certain territory, that is its supremacy in the domestic policy and independence in the foreign one. Named after the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, the Westphalian System of state sovereignty, which according to Bryan Turner is "made a more or less clear separation between religion and state, and recognized the right of princes 'to confessionalize' the state, that is, to determine the religious affiliation of their kingdoms on the pragmatic principle of ''cuius regio eius religio'' ." Before 1900 sovereign states enjoyed
absolute immunity In Law of the United States, United States law, absolute immunity is a type of sovereign immunity for government officials that confers complete legal immunity, immunity from criminal prosecution and suits for damages, so long as officials are actin ...
from the judicial process, derived from the concepts of sovereignty and the Westphalian
equality of states Equality may refer to: Society * Political equality, in which all members of a society are of equal standing ** Consociationalism, in which an ethnically, religiously, or linguistically divided state functions by cooperation of each group's elit ...
. First articulated by
Jean Bodin Jean Bodin (; c. 1530 – 1596) was a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement of Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of Franc ...

Jean Bodin
, the powers of the state are considered to be ''suprema potestas'' within territorial boundaries. Based on this, the jurisprudence has developed along the lines of affording immunity from prosecution to foreign states in domestic courts. In '' The Schooner Exchange v. M'Faddon'', Chief Justice
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...

John Marshall
of the
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a cou ...

United States Supreme Court
wrote that the "perfect equality and absolute independence of sovereigns" has created a class of cases where "every sovereign is understood to waive the exercise of a part of that complete exclusive territorial jurisdiction, which has been stated to be the attribute of every nation". Absolute sovereign immunity is no longer as widely accepted as it has been in the past, and some countries, including the United States,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of . Its extend from the to the and northward into the , covering , making it the world's . Its southern and western , stretching , is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital ...

Canada
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a island in . It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the , off the southern tip of the , bordering the to the west, the () to the south, and the to the east. The country' ...

Singapore
,
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
,
Pakistan Pakistan, . Pronounced variably in English as , , , and . officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, e ...

Pakistan
and
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities ...

South Africa
, have introduced restrictive immunity by statute, which explicitly limits jurisdictional immunity to public acts, but not private or commercial ones, though there is no precise definition by which public acts can easily be distinguished from private ones.


Recognition

State recognition signifies the decision of a sovereign state to treat another entity as also being a sovereign state. Recognition can be either expressed or implied and is usually retroactive in its effects. It does not necessarily signify a desire to establish or maintain diplomatic relations. No definition is binding on all the members of the community of nations on the criteria for statehood. In actual practice, the criteria are mainly political, not legal. L.C. Green cited the recognition of the unborn
Polish Polish may refer to: * Anything from or related to Poland Poland ( pl, Polska ), officially the Republic of Poland ( pl, Rzeczpospolita Polska, links=no ), is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Pol ...

Polish
and
Czechoslovak , , yi, טשעכאסלאוואקיי, , common_name = Czechoslovakia , life_span = 1918–19391945–1992 , p1 = Austria-Hungary , flag_p1 = Flag of Austria-Hungary 1869-1918.svg , s1 = Czech Republic , flag_s1 = Flag of the Czech Republic.s ...

Czechoslovak
states in World War I and explained that "since recognition of statehood is a matter of discretion, it is open to any existing State to accept as a state any entity it wishes, regardless of the existence of territory or of an established government." In
international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relations between nations. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptual framework to guide ...
, however, there are several theories of when a state should be recognised as sovereign.


Constitutive theory

The constitutive theory of statehood defines a state as a
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic by Logical consequence, drawing conclusions from new or existing information, with the ...
of international law if, and only if, it is recognised as sovereign by at least one other state. This theory of recognition was developed in the 19th century. Under it, a state was sovereign if another sovereign state recognised it as such. Because of this, new states could not immediately become part of the international community or be bound by international law, and recognised nations did not have to respect international law in their dealings with them. In 1815, at the
Congress of Vienna The Congress of Vienna (, ) of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I Napoléon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) wa ...

Congress of Vienna
, the Final Act recognised only 39 sovereign states in the European diplomatic system, and as a result, it was firmly established that in the future new states would have to be recognised by other states, and that meant in practice recognition by one or more of the great powers. One of the major criticisms of this law is the confusion caused when some states recognise a new entity, but other states do not. Hersch Lauterpacht, one of the theory's main proponents, suggested that a state must grant recognition as a possible solution. However, a state may use any criteria when judging if they should give recognition and they have no obligation to use such criteria. Many states may only recognise another state if it is to their advantage. In 1912,
L. F. L. Oppenheim Lassa Francis Lawrence Oppenheim (March 30, 1858 – October 7, 1919) was a renowned Germany, German jurist. He is regarded by many as the father of the modern discipline of international law, especially the hard legal positivist school of thought ...
said the following, regarding constitutive theory:


Declarative theory

By contrast, the declarative theory of statehood defines a state as a person in international law if it meets the following criteria: 1) a defined territory; 2) a permanent population; 3) a government and 4) a capacity to enter into relations with other states. According to declarative theory, an entity's statehood is independent of its recognition by other states, as long as the sovereignty was not gained by military force. The declarative model was most famously expressed in the 1933
Montevideo Convention The Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States is a treaty signed at Montevideo, Uruguay, on December 26, 1933, during the Seventh International Conference of American States. The Convention codifies the declarative theory of statehoo ...
. A 'territory' in the international law context consists of land territory, internal waters, territorial sea, and air space above the territory. There is no requirement on strictly delimited borders or minimum size of the land, but artificial installations and uninhabitable territories cannot be considered as territories sufficient for statehood. The term 'permanent population' defines the community that has the intention to inhabit the territory permanently and is capable to support the superstructure of the State, though there is no requirement of a minimum population. The government must be capable of exercising effective control over a territory and population (the requirement known in legal theory as 'effective control test') and guarantee the protection of basic human rights by legal methods and policies. The 'capacity to enter into relations with other states' reflects the entity's degree of independence. Article 3 of the Montevideo Convention declares that political statehood is independent of recognition by other states, and the state is not prohibited from defending itself. In contrast, recognition is considered a requirement for statehood by the constitutive theory of statehood. An important part of the convention was Article 11 that prohibits using military force to gain sovereignty. A similar opinion about "the conditions on which an entity constitutes a state" is expressed by the
European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) was a regional organization and Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece ...

European Economic Community
''Opinions of the
Badinter Arbitration CommitteeThe Arbitration Commission of the Conference on Yugoslavia (commonly known as Badinter Arbitration Committee) was an arbitration body set up by the Council of Ministers of the European Economic Community (EEC) on 27 August 1991 to provide the Con ...
'', which found that a state was defined by having a territory, a population, government, and capacity to enter into relations with other states.


State recognition

State practice relating to the recognition of states typically falls somewhere between the declaratory and constitutive approaches. International law does not require a state to recognise other states. Recognition is often withheld when a new state is seen as illegitimate or has come about in breach of international law. Almost universal non-recognition by the international community of
Rhodesia Rhodesia (, ), officially from 1970 the Republic of Rhodesia, was an unrecognised state in Southern Africa Southern Africa is the southernmost region of the African continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Gene ...

Rhodesia
and
Northern Cyprus Northern Cyprus ( tr, Kuzey Kıbrıs), officially the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC; tr, Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti, ''KKTC''), is a ''de facto'' state that comprises the northeastern portion of the Geography of Cyprus, isl ...
are good examples of this, the former only having been recognized by
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital cities ...

South Africa
, and the latter only recognized by
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and ...

Turkey
. In the case of Rhodesia, recognition was widely withheld when the white minority seized power and attempted to form a state along the lines of
Apartheid South Africa The Union of South Africa ( nl, Unie van Zuid-Afrika; af, Unie van Suid-Afrika ) is the historical predecessor to the present-day Republic of South Africa. It came into being on 31 May 1910 with the unification of the Cape Colony The Cap ...
, a move that the
United Nations Security Council The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the Organs of the United Nations, six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international security, international peace and security, recommending the admission ...

United Nations Security Council
described as the creation of an "illegal racist minority régime". In the case of Northern Cyprus, recognition was withheld from a state created in Northern Cyprus. International law contains no prohibition on declarations of independence, and the recognition of a country is a political issue. As a result,
Turkish Cypriots Turkish Cypriots or Cypriot Turks ( tr, Kıbrıs Türkleri or ''Kıbrıslı Türkler''; el, Τουρκοκύπριοι, Tourkokýprioi) are mostly ethnic Turks originating from Cyprus. Following the Ottoman conquest of the island in 1571, about ...
gained "observer status" in the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Image:PACE logo 75ppi.png, The emblem of the PACE The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is the parliamentary arm of the Council of Europe, a 47-nation international organisation dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy ...
, and their representatives are elected in the Assembly of Northern Cyprus; and Northern Cyprus became an observer member of the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC; ar, منظمة التعاون الإسلامي, Munaẓẓama at-Taʿāwun al-ʾIslāmiyy; french: Organisation de la coopération islamique), formerly the Organisation of the Islamic Conference ...
and the
Economic Cooperation Organization The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is an Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and Northern Hemisphere, Northern Hemisphere of the Earth, Hemispheres. It ...

Economic Cooperation Organization
.


''De facto'' and ''de jure'' states

Most sovereign states are both ''
de jure In law and government, ''de jure'' ( ; , "by law") describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality. In contrast, ("in fact") describes situations that exist in reality, even if not legally ...
'' and ''
de facto ''De facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws. It is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with ''de jure'' ("by law"), which refers to th ...
'' (i.e., they exist both in law and in reality). However, states which are only ''de jure'' states are sometimes recognised as being the legitimate government of a territory over which they have no actual control. For example, during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
, governments-in-exile of several states continued to enjoy diplomatic relations with the
Allies An alliance is a relationship among people, groups, or sovereign state, states that have joined together for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out among them. Members of an alli ...
, notwithstanding that their countries were under occupation by Axis powers. The
PLO The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO; ar, منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية, ) is an organization founded in 1964 with the purpose of the "liberation of Palestine" through armed struggle, with much of its violence aimed ...
and
Palestinian Authority The Palestinian National Authority (PA or PNA; ar, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية ') is the interim self-government body that exercises partial civil control over the Gaza Strip and West Bank bantustans, 167 islands in the Wes ...

Palestinian Authority
claim that the
State of Palestine Palestine ( ar, فلسطين, Filasṭīn), officially the State of Palestine ( ar, دولة فلسطين, Dawlat Filasṭīn) is a ''de jure'' sovereign state in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmos ...
is a sovereign state, a claim which has been recognised by most states, though most of the territory it claims is under the ''de facto'' control of
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
. Other entities may have ''de facto'' control over a territory but lack international recognition; these may be considered by the
international community The international community is a vague phrase used in geopolitics Geopolitics (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country lo ...
to be only ''de facto'' states. They are considered ''de jure'' states only according to their own law and by states that recognise them. For example,
Somaliland Somaliland ( so, Soomaaliland; ar, صوماليلاند ', '), officially the Republic of Somaliland ( so, Jamhuuriyadda Soomaaliland, ar, جمهورية صوماليلاند ''Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd''), is a de facto sovereign s ...

Somaliland
is commonly considered to be such a state. For a list of entities that wish to be universally recognised as sovereign states, but do not have complete worldwide
diplomatic recognition Diplomatics (in American English, and in most anglophone countries), or diplomatic (in British English), is a scholarly discipline centred on the critical analysis of documents: especially, historical documents. It focuses on the conventions, p ...
, see the
list of states with limited recognition A number of polity, polities have declared independence and sought diplomatic recognition from the international community as ''de jure'' sovereign states, but have not been universally recognised as such. These entities often have ''de facto ...
.


Relationship between state and government

Although the terms "state" and "government" are often used interchangeably, international law distinguishes between a non-physical state and its government; and in fact, the concept of "
government-in-exile A government in exile (abbreviated as GiE) is a political group which claims to be a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or ...
" is predicated upon that distinction. States are non-physical juridical entities, and not organisations of any kind. However, ordinarily, only the government of a state can obligate or bind the state, for example by treaty.


State extinction

Generally speaking, states are durable entities, though they can become extinguished, either through voluntary means or outside forces, such as military conquest. Violent state abolition has virtually ceased since the end of World War II. Because states are non-physical juridical entities, it has been argued their extinction cannot be due to physical force alone. Instead, the physical actions of the military must be associated with the correct social or judiciary actions in order to abolish a state.


Ontological status of the state

The
ontological Ontology is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Ph ...

ontological
status of the state has been the subject of debate, especially, whether or not the state, being an object that no one can see, taste, touch, or otherwise detect, actually exists.


The state as "quasi-abstract"

It has been argued that one potential reason as to why the existence of states has been controversial is because states do not have a place in the traditional Platonist duality of the concrete and the abstract. Characteristically, concrete objects are those that have a position in time and space, which states do not have (though their territories have a spatial position, states are distinct from their territories), and abstract objects have a position in neither time nor space, which does not fit the supposed characteristics of states either, since states do have a temporal position (they can be created at certain times and then become extinct at a future time). Therefore, it has been argued that states belong to a third category, the quasi-abstract, that has recently begun to garner philosophical attention, especially in the area of documentality, an ontological theory that seeks to understand the role of documents in understanding all of social reality. Quasi-abstract objects, such as states, can be brought into being through document acts, and can also be used to manipulate them, such as by binding them by treaty or surrendering them as the result of a war. Scholars in international relations can be broken up into two different practices, realists and pluralists, of what they believe the ontological state of the state is. Realists believe that the world is one of only states and interstate relations and the identity of the state is defined before any international relations with other states. On the other hand, pluralists believe that the state is not the only actor in international relations and interactions between states and the state is competing against many other actors.


The state as "spiritual entity"

Another theory of the ontology of the state is that the state is a spiritual, or "mystical entity" with its own being, distinct from the members of the state. The German
Idealist In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...

Idealist
philosopher
Georg Hegel Georg may refer to: * ''Georg'' (film), 1997 *Georg (musical) Georg may refer to: * Georg (film), ''Georg'' (film), 1997 *Georg (musical), Estonian musical * Georg (given name) * Georg (surname) * , a Kriegsmarine coastal tanker See also * Geor ...
(1770–1831) was perhaps the greatest proponent of this theory. The Hegelian definition of the state is "the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth".


Trends in the number of states

Since the end of World War II, the number of sovereign states in the international system has surged. Some research suggests that the existence of international and regional organisations, the greater availability of economic aid, and greater acceptance of the norm of self-determination have increased the desire of political units to secede and can be credited for the increase in the number of states in the international system. Harvard economist
Alberto Alesina Alberto Francesco Alesina (29 April 1957 – 23 May 2020) was an Italian political economist. According to Lawrence Summers, he was one of the leading political economists of his generation, publishing much-cited books and articles in major econo ...
and Tufts economist Enrico Spolaore argue in their book, ''Size of Nations,'' that the increase in the number of states can partly be credited to a more peaceful world, greater free trade and international economic integration, democratisation, and the presence of international organisations that co-ordinate economic and political policies.


See also

*
List of sovereign states The following is a list providing an overview of sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign s ...
*
Exclusive mandate An exclusive mandate is a government's assertion of its legitimate authority over a certain territory, part of which another government controls with stable, ''de facto In law and government, ''de facto'' ( ; , "in fact") describes practices that ...
*
Failed state A failed state is a political body that has disintegrated to a point where basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old ...
*
Federated state A federated state (which may also be referred to as a state, a , a region, a , a , a , an , an or a ) is a territorial and al community forming part of a . Such states differ from fully s, in that they do not have full sovereign powers, as th ...
*
List of former sovereign states A historical sovereign state is a state that once existed, but has since been dissolved due to conflict, war, rebellion, annexation, or uprising. This page lists sovereign states, country, countries, nations, or empires that have ceased to exist ...
*
List of sovereign states The following is a list providing an overview of sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign s ...
( by formation date) * List of sovereign states and dependent territories by continent *
List of states with limited recognition A number of polity, polities have declared independence and sought diplomatic recognition from the international community as ''de jure'' sovereign states, but have not been universally recognised as such. These entities often have ''de facto ...
*
List of historical unrecognized states and dependencies These lists of historical unrecognized or partially recognized ''states'' or ''governments'' give an overview of extinct Geopolitics, geopolitical entities that wished to be recognized as sovereign states, but did not enjoy worldwide diplomatic re ...
*
Nation-building Nation-building is constructing or structuring a national identity National identity is a person's identity or sense of belonging to one state or to one nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history ...
*
Rule according to higher law The rule according to a higher law is a statement which expresses that no law may be enforced by the government unless it conforms with certain universal principles (written or unwritten) of fairness, morality, and justice. Thus, ''the rule accor ...
*
Stateless society A stateless society is a society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, ...
*
Unitary state A unitary state is a State (polity), state governed as a single entity in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create (or abolish) administrative divisions (sub-national units). Such units exercise only ...
* Quasi-state *
Princely state A princely state, also called a native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a under a local or indigenous or regional ruler in a with the and after 1858 with the . Though the history of the pri ...
*
Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 is an international treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law ...

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations


References


Citations


Sources

*


Further reading

* * * Chen, Ti-chiang. ''The International Law of Recognition, with Special Reference to Practice in Great Britain and the United States''. London, 1951. * Crawford, James. ''The Creation of States in International Law''. Oxford University Press, 2005. , pp. 15–24. * * * * Raič, D. ''Statehood and the Law of Self-determination''. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2002. . p 29 (with reference to Oppenheim in International Law Vol. 1 1905 p110) * Schmandt, Henry J., and Paul G. Steinbicker. ''Fundamentals of Government'', "Part Three. The Philosophy of the State" (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1954 nd printing, 1956. 507 pgs. 23 cm. LOC classification: JA66 .S3
Fundamentals of government


External links



With cases and commentary. Nathaniel Burney, 2007.
What constitutes the sovereign state?
by Michael Ross Fowler and Julie Marie Bunck
Links to the best political risk websites, ipoliticalrisk.com
information on tracking, evaluating and managing sovereign risk for trade and permanent investment
Legal opinion by the Negotiations Support Unit in the Palestinian Authority on transitional sovereignty
{{DEFAULTSORT:Sovereign State International law Political geography