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The word sovereignty was derived from the Latin term superanus through the French term souverainete which is meant to be a
supreme power; the word sovereign was used to describe the French kings and
French independent institutions in the middle ages. It refers to the ultimate
source of authority in society and the highest decision making power within a
community. This research paper aims to understand the full meaning of
sovereignty through all the dimensions which are the (history and the internal
and external, legal and political dimensions of sovereignty). The definition
and concept of sovereignty has changed over the years, the notion of understanding
sovereignty now are the territory, authority, population and recognition
aspects. A lot of philosophers have different opinion about sovereignty like
the French theorist jean boding and Thomas argument about sovereignty residing
in a single individual and both of them conceived that sovereign is being above
the law and Alan James argument about sovereignty can only be either present or
absent, and cannot exit partially, philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and many
other political thinkers argument, this research paper aim to discourse jean – Jacques
Rousseau account on sovereignty, social contract theory and many other philosophers.


   First of all, what
is the idea of sovereignty? As it is said in the abtract, it is the quality of
having a supreme independent authority over a territory, which means a state’s
decision cannot be overrule by any state or entity outside of that state, for a
state to be sovereign it most have the it population, territory, authority and
recognition. The term sovereign was referring to the French kings in the middle
ages which supreme authority was held by them because they were the holders of
sovereignty. In the middle ages kings held the power to direct and be followed,
a king’s word is law which derived of some sources of legitimacy like the
hereditary law and natural law. In the middle ages theorist like Thomas hobbes
and jean bodin believed sovereign as being above the law and it must reside in
a single individual but a lot of theorist have their own view and a different
believed about sovereignty. sovereignty
was developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries after a war that did a
lot of damage to Europe, the treaties and the peace of Westphalia in 1614 came to existence
as a settlement to those wars which gave independence to states and territorial
independence and it is at the peace of Westphalia that the thirty years’ war
between the Catholics and protestants in the northern Europe from 1618 to 1648
came to an end. states became supreme, the authority of states became more powerful
that covers and applies to every individual citizen, define territorial boundaries
usually held by monarchs. in the middle ages churches, bishops had all the
authority and powers over Europe but with the emergence of sovereignty that
authority was challenged, and they can no longer challenged any states
sovereignty. sovereignty became more important in political science field following
the works of philosophers like Machiavelli, Thomas hobbes, jean bodin, john Locke,
and jean Jacques Rousseau, but not every philosopher agree that Westphalia deserve
its founding moment status like Osiander argued that “imperative components of
statehood were around way before Westphalia”. (osiander 1994)



The state has been the central spot of external sovereignty dating back
to the Westphalia treaty of sixteen forty eight/ .”external sovereignty is a
constitutional independence of a state, he also conceives external sovereignty
as a freedom of states from other states control and influence upon it basic rights
and entitlements… external sovereignty is subject to recognition by foreign
states, if a state is not recognized by foreign countries that state don’t have
immunity from interference on it activities from foreign powerful states.(
James 1999)  External sovere?gnty ?s when
a state ?s recogn?zed as a free state, free from external control and free from
interference from foreign states as an independent state. An external sovereignty
must have the status of legal independence of a state, self-government against
imperial or colonial powers, legal personality, territorial integration,
diplomatic immunities, jurisdiction over territorial waters, airspace and
citizens, and the ability to become a member of international organization and
the power to make treaty laws also. Internal sovereignty on the other hand, is
the supreme legal and political authority over and within a specific boundaries
of a state. It refers to the internal affair of a state and describes
competences and power of the state through it institution. The citizens of
state on this matter has popular legitimacy and elect their government
officials to enforce order and peace, a law created is abiding to every
institution and individual within the state and sanctions also are enforce to
the citizens that violates the laws of the states like in cases of rebel
groups. There is some argument of who the holder of the internal sovereignty
should be, a monarch, the people and even the constitution can protect and
represent a state without or within borders.

  Legal sovereignty

The body which has the ability to issue last summons as laws is
the lawful sovereign in a state. This power might be vested in one individual
or an assortment of people. It might be a lord or despot or parliament. Under
total governments, it was the ruler who was vested with the energy of making


An authoritarian makes laws under a tyranny just like the case
before the war in Germany and Italy. The courts perceive just such laws as are
made by a sovereign. In England, Parliament is the legitimate sovereign which
has boundless forces of law making. three characteristics of legal sovereignty



1.A legitimate sovereign is unequivocal and determinate. It might
be a man as on account of a single rule government or a group of people as on
account of the Parliament in Britain


2. Legitimate sovereignty is unquestionably composed and re-sorted
out by established law.


3. Legitimate sovereign alone has the ability to pronounce in
lawful terms the will of the state.( 2018)




Along these
lines the political sovereign truly shows itself by voting, by the press, by
addresses, by keen discussions and by different ways, which can’t be
effectively depicted. It doesn’t straightforwardly make the legislations, yet it
sets out the conditions and requirements inside which they should be made by
the lawful sovereign. To put it plainly, however the political sovereign is
lawfully obscure, chaotic and unequipped for communicating the will of the
State as laws, yet the legitimate sovereign will bow to him by and by and will
express it at last.(, 2018)



“Rousseau depicts the perfect type of
this social contract and furthermore clarifies its philosophical underpinnings.
To Rousseau, the aggregate gathering surprisingly who by their assent go into a
common society is known as the sovereign, and this sovereign might be thought
of, figuratively at any rate, as a distinct individual with a bound together
will. This rule is imperative, for while genuine people may normally hold
diverse assessments and needs as per their individual conditions, the sovereign
all in all communicates the general will of the considerable number of
individuals. Rousseau characterizes this general will as the aggregate need of
all to accommodate the benefit of everyone of all” (, 2018). Rousseau composes that this
administration may take diverse structures, including government, gentry, and
democracy government, as per the size and attributes of the state, and that
every one of these structures convey distinctive excellences and downsides. He
asserts that government is dependably the most grounded, is especially
appropriate to hot atmospheres, and might be vital in all states in the midst
of emergency. He guarantees that privileged, or govern by the few, is steadiest,
be that as it may, and in many states is the ideal shape.


Rousseau recognizes that the
sovereign and the legislature will frequently have a frictional relationship,
as the administration is at times at risk to conflict with the general will of
the general population of the people. Rousseau expresses that to keep up
familiarity with the general will, the sovereign must meet in normal,
intermittent congregations to decide the general will, and soon thereafter it
is basic that individual people of a state vote not as per their very own
advantages but rather as per their origination of the general will of the
considerable number of individuals right then and there. In that capacity, in a
solid state, for all intents and purposes all gathering votes should approach
unanimity, as the general population will all perceive their regular
advantages. Besides, Rousseau clarifies, it is critical that each and every
citizen of the state population practice their sovereignty by going to such
gatherings, for at whatever point individuals quit doing as such, or choose representative
to do as such in their place, their sovereignty is lost. Predicting that the
contention between the sovereign and the legislature may on occasion be
petulant, Rousseau likewise advocates for the presence of a tribunate, or
court, to intercede in all contentions between the sovereign and the
administration or in clashes between unique individuals




  Rousseau’s, Hobbes’s and Locke’s distinctive
account on popular sovereignty

as indicated by Rousseau,
was the development of private property, which constituted the vital minute in mankind’s
development out of a basic, unadulterated state into one, described by greed,
competition, vanity, in equally, and bad habit. For Rousseau the creation of
property constitutes mankind’s ‘transgress’ out of the State of Nature. For this
purpose, they surrendered their rights not to a solitary individual but rather
to the community in general which Rousseau named as ‘general will’. As
indicated by Rousseau, the first ‘liberty, equality, satisfaction, fairness and
freedom’ which existed in crude social orders preceding the social contract was
lost in the modern civilization. Through Social Contract, another type of
social association the state was framed to guarantee and assurance rights,
freedoms and equality, opportunity and correspondence. The embodiment of the
Rousseau’s hypothesis of General Will is that State and Law were the result of
General Will of the general population of an individual of a state. as indicated by hobbes man lived in
the state of nature, man has a characteristic desire to for security and
request, so as to secure self-preservation and self-safeguarding and to
maintain a strategic distance from torment and wretchedness, man went into a
contract. This thought of self-safeguarding and self-security are innate in man’s
inclination and with a specific end goal to accomplish this, they deliberately
surrendered every one of their rights and opportunities to some experts or
authorities by this agreement who must command obedience. Because of this
agreement, the mightiest expert is to ensure and safeguard their lives and property.
This prompted the rise of the foundation of the “monarch” or
“ruler”, who should have the total authority and be the absolute
ruler. Subjects had no rights against the ultimate ruler or the sovereign and
he is to be obeyed in every manner however awful or unworthy he may be. Be that
as it may, Hobbes set moral obligations on the sovereign who might be bound by
regular natural law. Henceforth, it can be reasoned that, Hobbes was the
supporter of absolutism. In the assessment of Hobbes, ” law is reliant
upon the endorse of the sovereign and the Government without sword are however
words and of no quality to secure a man by any stretch of the imagination “.
He in this way, emphasized common law is the genuine law since it is commanded
and implemented by the sovereign. In this manner, he maintained the guideline
of ” Might is always Right “. Hobbes in this way induces from his
unthinking hypothesis of human instinct that people are necessarily and only
self-intrigued. All men seek after just what they perceive to be in their own
particular independently thought to be best advantages. They respond
mechanistically by being attracted to what they want and repulsed by that to
which they are loath. Notwithstanding being only self-intrigued, Hobbes also
argues that individuals are sensible. They have in them the normal limit to
pursue their wants as effectively and maximally as could reasonably be expected.
From these premises of human instinct, Hobbes goes ahead to build a provocative
and convincing contention for which they should will to submit themselves to
political authority. He states this by envisioning people in a circumstance
before the foundation of society, the State of Nature. Hobbes incites subjects
to surrender every one of their rights and vest all freedoms in the sovereign
for protection of peace, life and success of the subjects. It is in this way
the common law turned into an ethical guide or order to the sovereign for
preservation of the normal privileges of the subjects. For Hobbes all law is
needy upon the endorse of the sovereign. All genuine law is respectful law, the
law ordered and authorize by the sovereign and brought into the world for
pretty much just to restrain the normal freedom of specific men, in such a way,
as they won’t not hurt but rather to help each other and join against a typical
enemy. he pushed for a built up arrange. consequently, independence, realism,
utilitarianism and vindications are between woven in the hypothesis of hobbes.
John Locke hypothesis of Social
Contract is not the same as that of Hobbes and Rousseau. Concurring to him, man
lived in the State of Nature, however his idea of the State of Nature is distinctive
as examined by Hobbesian hypothesis. Locke’s view about the condition of state
of nature isn’t as hopeless as that of Hobbes. It was sensibly great and
charming, in any case, the property was not secure. He considered State of
Nature as a “golden Age”. It was a condition of “peace,
altruism, shared help, and safeguarding”. In that state of nature, men had
every one of the rights which nature could give them. Locke justifies this by
saying that in the State of Nature, the common state of humankind was a condition
of impeccable and finish freedom to lead one’s life as one best observes fit.
It was free from the obstruction of others. In that condition of nature, all
were equivalent and independent. This does not mean, be that as it may, that it
was a condition of permit. It was a per cannot allowed to do anything at all
one satisfies, or notwithstanding anything that one judges to be in one’s
advantage. The Province of Nature, in spite of the fact that a state wherein
there was no civil authority or government to rebuff individuals for
transgressions against laws, was not a state without profound quality. The
State of Nature was pre-political; however, it was not pre-moral. People are
thought to be equivalent to each other in such a state, and therefore equally
equipped for finding and being bound by the Law of Nature. In this way, the
State of Nature was a condition of liberty; where people are allowed to seek
after their own particular interests and plans, free from impedance and, as a
result of the Law of Nature and the restrictions that it forces upon people, it
is moderately tranquil. Property assumes a basic part in Locke’s contention for
common government and the get that sets up it. As indicated by Locke, private
property is made when person blends his work with the crude materials of
nature. Given the ramifications of the Law of Nature, there are confines in the
matter of how much property one can claim (Elahi, 2018)





In conclusion,
sovereignty is the when a state with a territorial border, population, and
system of government within a geographical location is free of external
control, interference from foreign states and also recognize by the international
society. Sovereignty is the ability for a ruler to exercise control and authority
over a territorial location, make decisions, to enforce laws within that
territory and have the power to conduct international relations. In this paper,
we illustrated many aspect of sovereignty like the absoluteness of sovereignty,
internal and external sovereignty and legal and political sovereignty also. A lot
of philosophers had commented on sovereignty like Machiavelli, Thomas hobbes, jean
bodin, john Locke, and jean Jacques Rousseau, but we chose to discuss more on jean Jacques Rousseau, his argument
compared with the other theorist I personally my opinion think his idea can
work in this world of today full of betrayal and corruption, although the
increasing population might make it impossible, but his ideas on equality can
be use.


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