1 Etymology 2 Concepts 3 History
3.1 Classical 3.2 Medieval 3.3 Reformation 3.4 Age of Enlightenment
4 Definition and types
4.1 Absoluteness 4.2 Exclusivity 4.3 De jure and de facto
4.4.1 Modern internal sovereignty
4.5 External 4.6 Shared and pooled 4.7 Nation-states 4.8 Federations
5 Acquisition 6 Justifications 7 Views 8 Relation to rule of law 9 See also 10 References 11 Further reading 12 External links
Etymology The term arises from the unattested Vulgar Latin's *superanus, (itself derived form of Latin super - "over") meaning "chief", "ruler". Its spelling, which varied from the word's first appearance in English in the fourteenth century, was influenced by the English "reign".
Concepts The concepts of sovereignty have been discussed throughout history, and are still actively debated. Its definition, concept, and application has changed throughout, especially during the Age of Enlightenment. The current notion of state sovereignty contains four aspects consisting of territory, population, authority and recognition. According to Stephen D. Krasner, the term could also be understood in four different ways:
Domestic sovereignty – actual control over a state exercised by an authority organized within this state, Interdependence sovereignty – actual control of movement across state's borders, assuming the borders exist, International legal sovereignty – formal recognition by other sovereign states, Westphalian sovereignty – lack of other authority over state other than the domestic authority (examples of such other authorities could be a non-domestic church, a non-domestic political organization, or any other external agent). Often, these four aspects all appear together, but this is not necessarily the case – they are not affected by one another, and there are historical examples of states that were non-sovereign in one aspect while at the same time being sovereign in another of these aspects. According to Immanuel Wallerstein, another fundamental feature of sovereignty is that it is a claim that must be recognised by others if it is to have any meaning:
The Roman jurist
The people transferred all their imperium and power to the Emperor.
Cum lege regia, quae de imperio eius lata est, populus ei et in eum
omne suum imperium et potestatem conferat (Digest I.4.1)
The emperor is not bound by the laws. Princeps legibus solutus est
A decision by the emperor has the force of law. Quod principi placuit
legis habet vigorem. (Digest I.4.1)
Ulpian's statements were known in medieval Europe, but sovereignty was
an important concept in medieval times. Medieval monarchs
were not sovereign, at least not strongly so, because they were
constrained by, and shared power with, their feudal
aristocracy. Furthermore, both were strongly constrained by
.mw-parser-output .templatequote overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px .mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0 We desire most from men, From men both lund and poor, To have sovereignty without lies. For where we have sovereignty, all is ours, Though a knight be ever so fierce, And ever win mastery. It is our desire to have master Over such a sir.
Such is our purpose.— The Wedding of
Absolute: On this point he said that the sovereign must be hedged in with obligations and conditions, must be able to legislate without his (or its) subjects' consent, must not be bound by the laws of his predecessors, and could not, because it is illogical, be bound by his own laws. Perpetual: Not temporarily delegated as to a strong leader in an emergency or to a state employee such as a magistrate. He held that sovereignty must be perpetual because anyone with the power to enforce a time limit on the governing power must be above the governing power, which would be impossible if the governing power is absolute. Bodin rejected the notion of transference of sovereignty from people to the ruler (also known as the sovereign); natural law and divine law confer upon the sovereign the right to rule. And the sovereign is not above divine law or natural law. He is above (ie. not bound by) only positive law, that is, laws made by humans. He emphasized that a sovereign is bound to observe certain basic rules derived from the divine law, the law of nature or reason, and the law that is common to all nations (jus gentium), as well as the fundamental laws of the state that determine who is the sovereign, who succeeds to sovereignty, and what limits the sovereign power. Thus, Bodin’s sovereign was restricted by the constitutional law of the state and by the higher law that was considered as binding upon every human being. The fact that the sovereign must obey divine and natural law imposes ethical constraints on him. Bodin also held that the lois royales, the fundamental laws of the French monarchy which regulated matters such as succession, are natural laws and are binding on the French sovereign. Despite his commitment to absolutism, Bodin held some moderate opinions on how government should in practice be carried out. He held that although the sovereign is not obliged to, it is advisable for him, as a practical expedient, to convene a senate from whom he can obtain advice, to delegate some power to magistrates for the practical administration of the law, and to use the Estates as a means of communicating with the people. Bodin believed that “the most divine, most excellent, and the state form most proper to royalty is governed partly aristocratically and partly democratically”. With his doctrine that sovereignty is conferred by divine law, Bodin predefined the scope of the divine right of kings.
Age of Enlightenment
During the Age of Enlightenment, the idea of sovereignty gained both
legal and moral force as the main Western description of the meaning
and power of a State. In particular, the "Social contract" as a
mechanism for establishing sovereignty was suggested and, by 1800,
widely accepted, especially in the new
Absolute: because conditions could only be imposed on a sovereign if
there were some outside arbitrator to determine when he had violated
them, in which case the sovereign would not be the final authority.
Indivisible: The sovereign is the only final authority in his
territory; he does not share final authority with any other entity.
Hobbes held this to be true because otherwise there would be no way of
resolving a disagreement between the multiple authorities.
Hobbes' hypothesis—that the ruler's sovereignty is contracted to him
by the people in return for his maintaining their physical
safety—led him to conclude that if and when the ruler fails, the
people recover their ability to protect themselves by forming a new
Hobbes's theories decisively shape the concept of sovereignty through
the medium of social contract theories. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's
(1712–1778) definition of popular sovereignty (with early
antecedents in Francisco Suárez's theory of the origin of power),
provides that the people are the legitimate sovereign. Rousseau
considered sovereignty to be inalienable; he condemned the distinction
between the origin and the exercise of sovereignty, a distinction upon
which constitutional monarchy or representative democracy is founded.
John Locke, and
Definition and types .mw-parser-output .quotebox background-color:#F9F9F9;border:1px solid #aaa;box-sizing:border-box;padding:10px;font-size:88%;max-width:100% .mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft margin:0.5em 1.4em 0.8em 0 .mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright margin:0.5em 0 0.8em 1.4em .mw-parser-output .quotebox.centered margin:0.5em auto 0.8em auto .mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatleft p,.mw-parser-output .quotebox.floatright p font-style:inherit .mw-parser-output .quotebox-title background-color:#F9F9F9;text-align:center;font-size:larger;font-weight:bold .mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:before font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" “ ";vertical-align:-45%;line-height:0 .mw-parser-output .quotebox-quote.quoted:after font-family:"Times New Roman",serif;font-weight:bold;font-size:large;color:gray;content:" ” ";line-height:0 .mw-parser-output .quotebox .left-aligned text-align:left .mw-parser-output .quotebox .right-aligned text-align:right .mw-parser-output .quotebox .center-aligned text-align:center .mw-parser-output .quotebox cite display:block;font-style:normal @media screen and (max-width:360px) .mw-parser-output .quotebox min-width:100%;margin:0 0 0.8em!important;float:none!important 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. Lassa Oppenheim (30-03-1858 – 07-10-1919), an authority on international law
Absoluteness An important factor of sovereignty is its degree of absoluteness. A sovereign power has absolute sovereignty when it is not restricted by a constitution, by the laws of its predecessors, or by custom, and no areas of law or policy are reserved as being outside its control. International law; policies and actions of neighboring states; cooperation and respect of the populace; means of enforcement; and resources to enact policy are factors that might limit sovereignty. For example, parents are not guaranteed the right to decide some matters in the upbringing of their children independent of societal regulation, and municipalities do not have unlimited jurisdiction in local matters, thus neither parents nor municipalities have absolute sovereignty. Theorists have diverged over the desirability of increased absoluteness.
Exclusivity A key element of sovereignty in a legalistic sense is that of exclusivity of jurisdiction. Specifically, the degree to which decisions made by a sovereign entity might be contradicted by another authority. Along these lines, the German sociologist Max Weber proposed that sovereignty is a community's monopoly on the legitimate use of force; and thus any group claiming the same right must either be brought under the yoke of the sovereign, proven illegitimate, or otherwise contested and defeated for sovereignty to be genuine. International law, competing branches of government, and authorities reserved for subordinate entities (such as federated states or republics) represent legal infringements on exclusivity. Social institutions such as religious bodies, corporations, and competing political parties might represent de facto infringements on exclusivity.
De jure and de facto De jure, or legal, sovereignty concerns the expressed and institutionally recognised right to exercise control over a territory. De facto, or actual, sovereignty is concerned with whether control in fact exists. Cooperation and respect of the populace; control of resources in, or moved into, an area; means of enforcement and security; and ability to carry out various functions of state all represent measures of de facto sovereignty. When control is practiced predominantly by military or police force it is considered coercive sovereignty.
Internal sovereignty is the relationship between a sovereign power and
the political community. A central concern is legitimacy: by what
right does a government exercise authority? Claims of legitimacy might
refer to the divine right of kings, or to a social contract (i.e.
popular sovereignty).
Modern internal sovereignty Within the modern governmental system, internal sovereignty is usually found in states that have public sovereignty and rarely found within a state controlled by an internal sovereign. A form of government that is a little different from both is the UK parliament system. John Austin argued that sovereignty in the UK was vested neither in the Crown nor in the people but in the "Queen-in-Parliament". This is the origin of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty and is usually seen as the fundamental principle of the British constitution. With these principles of parliamentary sovereignty majority control can gain access to unlimited constitutional authority, creating what has been called "elective dictatorship" or "modern autocracy". Public sovereignty in modern governments is a lot more common with examples like the USA, Canada, Australia and India where government is divided into different levels.
"Sovereignty." A government which exercises de facto administrative control over a country and is not subordinate to any other government in that country or a foreign sovereign state. (The Arantzazu Mendi,  A.C. 256), Stroud's Judicial Dictionary
External sovereignty is connected with questions of international law
– such as: when, if ever, is intervention by one country into
another's territory permissible?
Following the Thirty Years' War, a European religious conflict that
embroiled much of the continent, the
Peace of Westphalia
Shared and pooled
Just as the office of head of state can be vested jointly in several
persons within a state, the sovereign jurisdiction over a single
political territory can be shared jointly by two or more consenting
powers, notably in the form of a condominium.
Likewise the member states of international organizations may
voluntarily bind themselves by treaty to a supranational organization,
such as a continental union. In the case of the European Union members
states this is called "pooled sovereignty".
Another example of shared and pooled sovereignty is the Acts of Union
1707 which created the unitary state now known as the United
Kingdom. It was a full economic
union, meaning the Scottish and English systems of currency, taxation
and laws regulating trade were aligned. Nonetheless,
Scotland and England never fully surrendered or pooled all of their
governance sovereignty; they retained many of their previous national
institutional features and characteristics, particularly relating to
their legal, religious and educational systems. In 2012,
the Scottish Government, created in 1998 through devolution in the
United Kingdom, negotiated terms with the
Nation-states A community of people who claim the right of self-determination based on a common ethnicity, history and culture might seek to establish sovereignty over a region, thus creating a nation-state. Such nations are sometimes recognised as autonomous areas rather than as fully sovereign, independent states.
In a federal system of government, sovereignty also refers to powers
which a constituent state or republic possesses independently of the
national government. In a confederation constituent entities retain
the right to withdraw from the national body, but in a
federation member states or republics do not
hold that right.[dubious – discuss]
Different interpretations of state sovereignty in the
Acquisition Main article: Acquisition of sovereignty A number of modes for acquisition of sovereignty are presently or have historically been recognized by international law as lawful methods by which a state may acquire sovereignty over another territory. The classification of these modes originally derived from Roman property law and from the 15th and 16th century with the development of international law. The modes are:
Cession is the transfer of territory from one state to another usually by means of treaty; Occupation is the acquisition of territory that belongs to no state, or terra nullius; Prescription is the effective control of territory of another acquiescing state; Operations of nature is the acquisition of territory through natural processes like river accretion or volcanism; Creation is the process by which new land is reclaimed from the sea such as in the Netherlands. Adjudication and Conquest
Limits of national jurisdiction and sovereignty
national airspace territorial waters airspace contiguous zone airspace international airspace
land territory surface internal waters surface territorial waters surface contiguous zone surface Exclusive Economic Zone surface international waters surface
internal waters territorial waters Exclusive economic zone international waters
land territory underground
international seabed surface
full national jurisdiction and sovereignty
restrictions on national jurisdiction and sovereignty
international jurisdiction per common heritage of mankind
There exist vastly differing views on the moral basis of sovereignty.
A fundamental polarity is between theories that assert that
sovereignty is vested directly in the sovereigns by divine or natural
right and theories that assert it originates from the people. In the
latter case there is a further division into those that assert that
the people transfer their sovereignty to the sovereign (Hobbes), and
those that assert that the people retain their sovereignty
During the brief period of absolute monarchies in Europe, the divine
right of kings was an important competing justification for the
exercise of sovereignty. The
Mandate of Heaven
Classical liberals such as Stuart Mill consider every individual as
Realists view sovereignty as being untouchable and as guaranteed to
legitimate nation-states.
Rationalists see sovereignty similarly to realists. However,
rationalism states that the sovereignty of a nation-state may be
violated in extreme circumstances, such as human rights
Internationalists believe that sovereignty is outdated and an
unnecessary obstacle to achieving peace, in line with their belief of
a 'global community'. In the light of the abuse of power by sovereign
states such as Hitler's
Relation to rule of law Another topic is whether the law is held to be sovereign, that is, whether it is above political or other interference. Sovereign law constitutes a true state of law, meaning the letter of the law (if constitutionally correct) is applicable and enforceable, even when against the political will of the nation, as long as not formally changed following the constitutional procedure. Strictly speaking, any deviation from this principle constitutes a revolution or a coup d'état, regardless of the intentions.
Mandate of Heaven
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Further reading Benton, Lauren (2010). A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400–1900. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-88105-0. Philpott, Dan (2016). Sovereignty. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Prokhovnik, Raia (2007). Sovereignties: contemporary theory and practice. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire New York, N.Y: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9781403913234. Prokhovnik, Raia (2008). Sovereignty: history and theory. Exeter, UK Charlottesville, VA: Imprint Academic. ISBN 9781845401412. Thomson, Janice E. (1996). Mercenaries, pirates, and sovereigns: state-building and extraterritorial violence in early modern Europe. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02571-1. External links
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