Sovereignty is the full right and power of a governing body over itself, without any interference from outside sources or bodies. In political theory, sovereignty is a substantive term designating supreme authority over some polity.
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".
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:
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:
Ulpian was expressing the idea that the Emperor exercised a rather absolute form of sovereignty, that originated in the people, although he did not use the term expressly.
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 custom.
A later English Arthurian romance, The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell (c. 1450), uses many of the same elements of the Wife of Bath's tale, yet changes the setting to the court of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The story revolves around the knight Sir Gawain granting to Dame Ragnell, his new bride, what is purported to be wanted most by women: sovereignty.
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 Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell (c. 1450), 
Sovereignty reemerged as a concept in the late 16th century, a time when civil wars had created a craving for stronger central authority, when monarchs had begun to gather power onto their own hands at the expense of the nobility, and the modern nation state was emerging. Jean Bodin, partly in reaction to the chaos of the French wars of religion, presented theories of sovereignty calling for strong central authority in the form of absolute monarchy. In his 1576 treatise Les Six Livres de la République ("Six Books of the Republic") Bodin argued that it is inherent in the nature of the state that sovereignty must be:
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.
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 United States and France, though also in Great Britain to a lesser extent.
Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan (1651) put forward a conception of sovereignty similar to Bodin's, which had just achieved legal status in the "Peace of Westphalia", but for different reasons. He created the first modern version of the social contract (or contractarian) theory, arguing that to overcome the "nasty, brutish and short" quality of life without the cooperation of other human beings, people must join in a "commonwealth" and submit to a "Soveraigne [sic] Power" that is able to compel them to act in the common good. This expediency argument attracted many of the early proponents of sovereignty. Hobbes strengthened the definition of sovereignty beyond either Westphalian or Bodin's, by saying that it must be:
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 contract.
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 Montesquieu are also key figures in the unfolding of the concept of sovereignty; their views differ with Rousseau and with Hobbes on this issue of alienability.
The second book of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Du Contrat Social, ou Principes du droit politique (1762) deals with sovereignty and its rights. Sovereignty, or the general will, is inalienable, for the will cannot be transmitted; it is indivisible, since it is essentially general; it is infallible and always right, determined and limited in its power by the common interest; it acts through laws. Law is the decision of the general will in regard to some object of common interest, but though the general will is always right and desires only good, its judgment is not always enlightened, and consequently does not always see wherein the common good lies; hence the necessity of the legislator. But the legislator has, of himself, no authority; he is only a guide who drafts and proposes laws, but the people alone (that is, the sovereign or general will) has authority to make and impose them.
Rousseau, in the Social Contract argued, "the growth of the State giving the trustees of public authority more and means to abuse their power, the more the Government has to have force to contain the people, the more force the Sovereign should have in turn in order to contain the Government," with the understanding that the Sovereign is "a collective being of wonder" (Book II, Chapter I) resulting from "the general will" of the people, and that "what any man, whoever he may be, orders on his own, is not a law" (Book II, Chapter VI) – and furthermore predicated on the assumption that the people have an unbiased means by which to ascertain the general will. Thus the legal maxim, "there is no law without a sovereign."
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.
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, 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.
State sovereignty is sometimes viewed synonymously with independence, however, sovereignty can be transferred as a legal right whereas independence cannot. A state can achieve de facto independence long after acquiring sovereignty, such as in the case of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Additionally, independence can also be suspended when an entire region becomes subject to an occupation such as when Iraq had been overrun by the forces to take part in the Iraq War of 2003, Iraq had not been annexed by any country, so its sovereignty during this period was not contested by any state including those present on the territory. Alternatively, independence can be lost completely when sovereignty itself becomes the subject of dispute. The pre-World War II administrations of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia maintained an exile existence (and considerable international recognition) whilst their territories were annexed by the Soviet Union and governed locally by their pro-Soviet functionaries. When in 1991 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia re-enacted independence, it was done so on the basis of continuity directly from the pre-Soviet republics. Another complicated sovereignty scenario can arise when regime itself is the subject of dispute. In the case of Poland, the People's Republic of Poland which governed Poland from 1945 to 1989 is now seen to have been an illegal entity by the modern Polish administration. The post-1989 Polish state claims direct continuity from the Second Polish Republic which ended in 1939. For other reasons however, Poland maintains its communist-era outline as opposed to its pre-World War II shape which included areas now in Belarus, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovakia and Ukraine but did not include some of its western regions that were then in Germany.
At the opposite end of the scale, there is no dispute regarding the self-governance of certain self-proclaimed states such as Republic of Abkhazia, Republic of South Ossetia or the Republic of Kosovo (see List of states with limited recognition) since their governments neither answer to a bigger state, nor is their governance subjected to supervision. The sovereignty (i.e. legal right to govern) however, is disputed in all three cases as the first two entities are claimed by Georgia and the third by Serbia.
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).
With Sovereignty meaning holding supreme, independent authority over a region or state, Internal Sovereignty refers to the internal affairs of the state and the location of supreme power within it. A state that has internal sovereignty is one with a government that has been elected by the people and has the popular legitimacy. Internal sovereignty examines the internal affairs of a state and how it operates. It is important to have strong internal sovereignty in relation to keeping order and peace. When you have weak internal sovereignty, organisations such as rebel groups will undermine the authority and disrupt the peace. The presence of a strong authority allows you to keep agreement and enforce sanctions for the violation of laws. The ability for leadership to prevent these violations is a key variable in determining internal sovereignty. The lack of internal sovereignty can cause war in one of two ways: first, undermining the value of agreement by allowing costly violations; and second, requiring such large subsidies for implementation that they render war cheaper than peace. Leadership needs to be able to promise members, especially those like armies, police forces, or paramilitaries will abide by agreements. The presence of strong internal sovereignty allows a state to deter opposition groups in exchange for bargaining. It has been said that a more decentralized authority would be more efficient in keeping peace because the deal must please not only the leadership but also the opposition group. While the operations and affairs within a state are relative to the level of sovereignty within that state, there is still an argument between who should hold the authority in a sovereign state.
This argument between who should hold the authority within a sovereign state is called the traditional doctrine of public sovereignty. This discussion is between an internal sovereign or an authority of public sovereignty. An internal sovereign is a political body that possesses ultimate, final and independent authority; one whose decisions are binding upon all citizens, groups and institutions in society. Early thinkers believe sovereignty should be vested in the hands of a single person, a monarch. They believed the overriding merit of vesting sovereignty in a single individual was that sovereignty would therefore be indivisible; it would be expressed in a single voice that could claim final authority. An example of an internal sovereign or monarch is Louis XIV of France during the seventeenth century; Louis XIV claimed that he was the state. Jean-Jacques Rousseau rejected monarchical rule in favor of the other type of authority within a sovereign state, public sovereignty. Public Sovereignty is the belief that ultimate authority is vested in the people themselves, expressed in the idea of the general will. This means that the power is elected and supported by its members, the authority has a central goal of the good of the people in mind. The idea of public sovereignty has often been the basis for modern democratic theory.
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.
External sovereignty concerns the relationship between a sovereign power and other states. For example, the United Kingdom uses the following criterion when deciding under what conditions other states recognise a political entity as having sovereignty over some territory;
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 in 1648 established the notion of territorial sovereignty as a norm of noninterference in the affairs of other nations, so-called Westphalian sovereignty, even though the actual treaty itself reaffirmed the multiple levels of sovereignty of the Holy Roman Empire. This resulted as a natural extension of the older principle of cuius regio, eius religio (Whose realm, his religion), leaving the Roman Catholic Church with little ability to interfere with the internal affairs of many European states. It is a myth, however, that the Treaties of Westphalia created a new European order of equal sovereign states.
In international law, sovereignty means that a government possesses full control over affairs within a territorial or geographical area or limit. Determining whether a specific entity is sovereign is not an exact science, but often a matter of diplomatic dispute. There is usually an expectation that both de jure and de facto sovereignty rest in the same organisation at the place and time of concern. Foreign governments use varied criteria and political considerations when deciding whether or not to recognise the sovereignty of a state over a territory. Membership in the United Nations requires that "[t]he admission of any such state to membership in the United Nations will be effected by a decision of the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council."
Sovereignty may be recognized even when the sovereign body possesses no territory or its territory is under partial or total occupation by another power. The Holy See was in this position between the annexation in 1870 of the Papal States by Italy and the signing of the Lateran Treaties in 1929, a 59-year period during which it was recognised as sovereign by many (mostly Roman Catholic) states despite possessing no territory – a situation resolved when the Lateran Treaties granted the Holy See sovereignty over the Vatican City. Another case, sui generis, is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the third sovereign entity inside Italian territory (after San Marino and the Vatican City State) and the second inside the Italian capital (since in 1869 the Palazzo di Malta and the Villa Malta receive extraterritorial rights, in this way becoming the only "sovereign" territorial possessions of the modern Order), which is the last existing heir to one of several once militarily significant, crusader states of sovereign military orders. In 1607 its Grand masters were also made Reichsfürst (princes of the Holy Roman Empire) by the Holy Roman Emperor, granting them seats in the Reichstag, at the time the closest permanent equivalent to a UN-type general assembly; confirmed 1620). These sovereign rights were never deposed, only the territories were lost. 100 modern states still maintain full diplomatic relations with the order (now de facto "the most prestigious service club"), and the UN awarded it observer status.
The governments-in-exile of many European states (for instance, Norway, Netherlands or Czechoslovakia) during the Second World War were regarded as sovereign despite their territories being under foreign occupation; their governance resumed as soon as the occupation had ended. The government of Kuwait was in a similar situation vis-à-vis the Iraqi occupation of its country during 1990–1991. The government of Republic of China was recognized as sovereign over China from 1911 to 1971 despite that its mainland China territory became occupied by Communist Chinese forces since 1949. In 1971 it lost UN recognition to Chinese Communist-led People's Republic of China and its sovereign and political status as a state became disputed and it lost its ability to use "China" as its name and therefore became commonly known as Taiwan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is commonly mistaken to be sovereign. It has been granted various degrees of special privileges and legal immunities in many countries, that in cases like Switzerland are considerable, The Committee is a private organisation governed by Swiss law.
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 Government of the United Kingdom for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014 which resulted in the people of Scotland deciding to continue the pooling of its sovereignty with the rest of the United Kingdom.
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.
Different interpretations of state sovereignty in the United States of America, as it related to the expansion of slavery and fugitive slave laws, led to the outbreak of the American Civil War. Depending on the particular issue, sometimes both northern and southern states justified their political positions by appealing to state sovereignty. Fearing that slavery would be threatened by results of the 1860 presidential election, eleven slave states declared their independence from the federal Union and formed a new confederation. The United States government rejected the secessions as rebellion, declaring that secession from the Union by an individual state was unconstitutional, as the states were part of an indissolvable federation.
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:
|Outer space (including Earth orbits; the Moon and other celestial bodies, and their orbits)|
|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||Continental shelf surface||extended continental shelf surface||international seabed surface|
|Continental shelf underground||extended continental shelf underground||international seabed underground|
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 (Rousseau).
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 had some similar implications in China.
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, retain sovereignty over the government and where offices of state are not granted through heritage. A common modern definition of a republic is a government having a head of state who is not a monarch.
Democracy is based on the concept of popular sovereignty. In a direct democracy the public plays an active role in shaping and deciding policy. Representative democracy permits a transfer of the exercise of sovereignty from the people to a legislative body or an executive (or to some combination of legislature, executive and Judiciary). Many representative democracies provide limited direct democracy through referendum, initiative, and recall.
Parliamentary sovereignty refers to a representative democracy where the parliament is ultimately sovereign and not the executive power nor the judiciary.
According to Matteo Laruffa "sovereignty resides in every public action and policy as the exercise of executive powers by institutions open to the participation of citizens to the decision-making processes"
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.
The Gibraltar sovereignty referendum of 1967 was held on 10 September 1967, in which Gibraltarian citizens were asked whether they wished to pass under Spanish sovereignty, with Gibraltarians keeping their British citizenship and a special status for Gibraltar within Spain; or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government.Condominium (international law)
In international law, a condominium (plural either condominia, as in Latin, or condominiums) is a political territory (state or border area) in or over which multiple sovereign powers formally agree to share equal dominium (in the sense of sovereignty) and exercise their rights jointly, without dividing it into "national" zones.
Although a condominium has always been recognized as a theoretical possibility, condominia have been rare in practice. A major problem, and the reason so few have existed, is the difficulty of ensuring co-operation between the sovereign powers; once the understanding fails, the status is likely to become untenable.
The word is recorded in English since c. 1714, from Modern Latin, apparently coined in Germany c. 1700 from Latin com- "together" + dominium "right of ownership" (compare domain). A condominium of three sovereign powers is sometimes called a tripartite condominium or tridominium.Country
A country is a region that is identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or part of a larger state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people with distinct political characteristics. Regardless of the physical geography, in the modern internationally accepted legal definition as defined by the League of Nations in 1937 and reaffirmed by the United Nations in 1945, a resident of a country is subject to the independent exercise of legal jurisdiction. There is no hard and fast definition of what regions are countries and which are not.
Countries can refer both to sovereign states and to other political entities, while other times it can refer only to states. For example, the CIA World Factbook uses the word in its "Country name" field to refer to "a wide variety of dependencies, areas of special sovereignty, uninhabited islands, and other entities in addition to the traditional countries or independent states".[Note 1]Double Jeopardy Clause
The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: "[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." The four essential protections included are prohibitions against, for the same offense:
retrial after an acquittal;
retrial after a conviction;
retrial after certain mistrials; and
multiple punishmentJeopardy attaches in jury trial when the jury is empaneled and sworn in, in a bench trial when the court begins to hear evidence after the first witness is sworn in, or when a court accepts a defendant's plea unconditionally. Jeopardy does not attach in a retrial of a conviction that was reversed on appeal on procedural grounds (as opposed to evidentiary insufficiency grounds), in a retrial for which "manifest necessity" has been shown following a mistrial, and in the seating of another grand jury if the prior one refuses to return an indictment.Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute
Sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) is disputed by Argentina and the United Kingdom.
The British claim to sovereignty dates from 1690, and the United Kingdom has exercised de facto sovereignty over the archipelago almost continuously since 1833. Argentina has long disputed this claim, having been in control of the islands for a few years prior to 1833. The dispute escalated in 1982, when Argentina invaded the islands, precipitating the Falklands War.
Contemporary Falkland Islanders overwhelmingly prefer to remain British. They gained full British citizenship with the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, after British victory in the Falklands War.Handover of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong (or simply "the Handover", also "the Return" in mainland China and Hong Kong), was the transformation of control over the United Kingdom's then colony of Hong Kong, pursuant to which it ceased to be a British Dependent Territory and became instead a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China on 1 July 1997. The returned territory comprised Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, which were respectively ceded to Britain in 1842 and 1860, as well as the New Territories, which were leased for 99 years from 1898. The transfer was arranged to coincide with the expiration of this lease on the previous day, 30 June 1997.
This Handover marked the end of British rule in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was Britain's last substantial overseas territory, with a population of approximately 6.5 million in 1997, which represented approximately 97% of the population of the British Dependant Territories as a whole at that time (the next largest, Bermuda, having a 1997 population of approximately 62,000). Consequently, the Handover is regarded by some as the final act of the British Empire, with 1 July 1997 as being the end date of the British Empire.Hawaiian sovereignty movement
The Hawaiian sovereignty movement (Hawaiian: ke ea Hawaiʻi) is a grassroots political and cultural campaign to gain sovereignty, self-determination and self-governance for Hawaiians of whole or part Native Hawaiian ancestry with an autonomous or independent nation or kingdom. Some groups also advocate some form of redress from the United States for the 1893 overthrow of Queen Liliʻuokalani, and for what is described as a prolonged military occupation beginning with the 1898 annexation. The movement generally views both the overthrow and annexation as illegal. Palmyra Island and the Stewart Islands were annexed by the Kingdom in the 1860s and are regarded by the movement as being under illegal occupation along with the Hawaiian Islands. The Apology Resolution passed by the United States Congress in 1993 acknowledged that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893 was an illegal act.Sovereignty advocates have attributed problems plaguing native communities including homelessness, poverty, economic marginalization, and the erosion of native traditions to the lack of native governance and political self-determination. They have pursued their agenda through educational initiatives and legislative actions. Along with protests throughout the islands, at the capitol itself as well as the places and locations held as sacred to Hawaiian culture, sovereignty activists have challenged United States forces and law.Independence
Independence is a condition of a person, nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is the status of a dependent territory.List of sovereign states
The following is a list providing an overview of sovereign states around the world, with information on their status and recognition of their sovereignty.
The 206 listed states can be divided into three categories based on membership within the United Nations system: 193 member states, two observer states and 11 other states. The sovereignty dispute column indicates states whose sovereignty is undisputed (190 states) and states whose sovereignty is disputed (16 states, of which there are six member states, one observer state and nine other states).
Compiling a list such as this can be a difficult and controversial process, as there is no definition that is binding on all the members of the community of nations concerning the criteria for statehood. For more information on the criteria used to determine the contents of this list, please see the criteria for inclusion section below. The list is intended to include entities that have been recognised as having de facto status as sovereign states, and inclusion should not be seen as an endorsement of any specific claim to statehood in legal terms.Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan, sometimes referred to as the Taiwan Issue or Taiwan Strait Issue, or from a Taiwanese perspective as the Mainland Issue, is a result of the Chinese Civil War and the subsequent split of China into the two present-day self-governing entities of the People's Republic of China (PRC; commonly known as "China") and the Republic of China (ROC; commonly known as "Taiwan").
The issue hinges on whether the islands of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain the territory of the ROC as an effectively separate self-governing entity; become unified with the PRC under the existing communist government; convert the ROC to a new "Republic of Taiwan"; or unite with the mainland under the ROC government (after the dissolution of the PRC government).
This controversy also concerns whether the existence and legal status as a sovereign state (country) of both the ROC and the PRC is legitimate as a matter of international law.
Currently, Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu, and some other minor islands effectively make up the jurisdiction of the state with the official name of the Republic of China (ROC) but commonly known as "Taiwan". The ROC, which took control of Taiwan (including Penghu and other nearby islands) in 1945, ruled mainland China and claimed sovereignty over Outer Mongolia (now Mongolia) and Tannu Uriankhai (part of which is present day Tuva, Russia) before losing the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and relocating its government and capital city from Nanjing (formerly spelled as "Nanking") to Taipei as temporary capital in December 1949. The CPC established new government on the mainland as People's Republic of China (PRC) in October 1949.
Since the ROC lost its United Nations seat as "China" in 1971 (replaced by the PRC), most sovereign states have switched their diplomatic recognition to the PRC, recognizing the PRC as the representative of all China, though the majority of countries avoid clarifying what territories are meant by "China" in order to associate with both the PRC and ROC. As of 21 August 2018, the ROC maintains official diplomatic relations with 16 UN member states and the Holy See, although informal relations are maintained with nearly all others. Agencies of foreign governments such as the American Institute in Taiwan operate as de facto embassies of their home countries in Taiwan, and Taiwan operates similar de facto embassies and consulates in most countries under such names as "Taipei Representative Office" (TRO) or "Taipei Economic and Cultural (Representative) Office" (TECO). In certain contexts, Taiwan is also referred to as Chinese Taipei.
The ROC government has in the past actively pursued the claim as the sole legitimate government over mainland China and Taiwan. This position began to change in the early 1990s as democracy was introduced and new Taiwanese leaders were elected, changing to one that does not actively challenge the legitimacy of PRC rule over mainland China. However, with the election of the Kuomintang (KMT, "Chinese Nationalist Party") back into executive power in 2008, the ROC government has reverted to the position that "mainland China is also part of the territory of the ROC." Both the PRC and the ROC carry out Cross-Strait relations through specialized agencies (such as the Mainland Affairs Council of the ROC), rather than through foreign ministries. Different groups have different concepts of what the current formal political situation of Taiwan is. (See also: Chinese reunification, Taiwan independence, and Cross-Strait relations)
In addition, the situation can be confusing because of the different parties and the effort by many groups to deal with the controversy through a policy of deliberate ambiguity. The political solution that is accepted by many of the current groups is the perspective of the status quo: to unofficially treat Taiwan as a state and at a minimum, to officially declare no support for the government of this state making a formal declaration of independence. What a formal declaration of independence would consist of is not clear and can be confusing given the fact that the People's Republic of China has never controlled Taiwan and the Republic of China still exists, albeit on a decreased scale.
The status quo is accepted in large part because it does not define the legal or future status of Taiwan, leaving each group to interpret the situation in a way that is politically acceptable to its members. At the same time, a policy of status quo has been criticized as being dangerous precisely because different sides have different interpretations of what the status quo is, leading to the possibility of war through brinkmanship or miscalculation.Popular sovereignty
Popular sovereignty, or sovereignty of the peoples' rule, is the principle that the authority of a state and its government are created and sustained by the consent of its people, through their elected representatives (Rule by the People), who is the source of all political power. It is closely associated with social contract philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Popular sovereignty expresses a concept and does not necessarily reflect or describe a political reality. The people have the final say in government decisions. Benjamin Franklin expressed the concept when he wrote, "In free governments, the rulers are the servants and the people their superiors and sovereigns".Americans founded their Revolution and government on popular sovereignty, but the term was also used in the 1850s to describe a highly controversial approach to slavery in the territories as propounded by senator Stephen A. Douglas. It meant that local residents of a territory would be the ones to decide if slavery would be permitted, and it led to bloody warfare in Bleeding Kansas as abolitionists and proponents of slavery flooded Kansas territory in order to decide the elections. An earlier development of popular sovereignty arose from philosopher Francisco Suárez and became the basis for Latin American independence. Popular sovereignty also can be described as the voice of the people.Popular sovereignty in the United States
Popular sovereignty is a doctrine rooted in the belief that each citizen has sovereignty over themselves. Citizens may unite and offer to delegate a portion of their sovereign powers and duties to those who wish to serve as officers of the state, contingent on the officers agreeing to serve according to the will of the people. In the United States, the term has been used to express this concept in constitutional law. It was also used during the 19th century in reference to a proposed solution to the debate over the expansion of slavery. The proposal would have given the power to determine the legality of slavery to the inhabitants of the territory seeking statehood, rather than to Congress.Quebec sovereignty movement
The Quebec sovereignty movement (French: Mouvement souverainiste du Québec) is a political movement as well as an ideology of values, concepts and ideas that advocates independence for the Canadian province of Quebec.
Several diverse political groups coalesced in the late 1960s in the formation of the Parti Québécois, a provincial political party. Since 1968 the party has appealed for constitutional negotiations on the matter of provincial sovereignty, in addition to holding two provincial referendums on the matter. The first, which occurred in 1980, asked whether Quebecers wished to open constitutional negotiations with the federal government (and other provinces) for the intended purpose of establishing a "sovereignty-association" pact between the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada. Approximately 60% of Quebec's voting public rejected the idea put forth by Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque. The matter was dropped by the party for most of the 1980s, especially after the patriation of the Canadian constitution without the consent of the Parti Québécois government, and the creation of the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which enshrined the protection of the French language and French-Canadian culture in Canada. In 1995, after two failed attempts by the Mulroney government to secure Quebec's ratification of amendments to the constitution, the Parti Québécois held a second referendum, though on this occasion the question was whether one wished for the independence of the province of Quebec from the rest of Canada. The response was again in the negative, though this time by a far closer margin, with 50.58% against the proposal.
Though the Parti Québécois has long spearheaded the sovereignty movement, they are not alone. Other minority provincial political parties, such as Option nationale and Québec Solidaire, also support sovereignty, but are not always supportive of the Parti Québécois. The Quebec Liberal Party, Quebec's other primary political party, is opposed to increasing political sovereignty for the province, but has also been historically at odds, on occasion, with various Canadian federal governments. Thus, Quebec politics is effectively divided into two camps, principally opposed over the sovereignty issue. Quebec sovereignty is politically opposed to the competing ideology of Canadian federalism.
Most groups within this movement seek to gain independence through peaceful means, using negotiation-based diplomatic intervention, although fringe groups have advocated and used violent means. The overwhelming number of casualties came from attacks by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a militant organization which perpetrated a bombing and armed robbery campaign from 1963 to 1970, culminating in the October Crisis and the death of Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte. Since this time all mainstream sovereignist groups have sworn off violence, while extremist nationalist groups, though in the minority, support violent actions in the name of liberating Quebec from Canadian sovereignty.
The primary mainstream political vehicle for the movement is the Parti Québécois, which has governed Quebec on multiple occasions. In 2012 it was elected to a minority government, in which its leader, Pauline Marois, became the first female Premier of Quebec. However, only eighteen months later, the PQ was defeated by the Liberal Party of Quebec in the 2014 election.Ron Paul
Ronald Ernest Paul (born August 20, 1935) is an American author, physician, and retired politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1985, and for Texas's 14th congressional district from 1997 to 2013. On three occasions, he sought the presidency of the United States: as the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988 and as a candidate in the Republican primaries of 2008 and 2012. Paul is a critic of the federal government's fiscal policies, especially the existence of the Federal Reserve and the tax policy, as well as the military–industrial complex, and the War on Drugs. He has also been a vocal critic of mass surveillance policies such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the NSA surveillance programs. He was the first chairman of the conservative PAC Citizens for a Sound Economy and has been characterized as the "intellectual godfather" of the Tea Party movement.Paul served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1968, and worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist from the 1960s to the 1980s. He became the first Representative in history to serve concurrently with a son or daughter in the Senate when his son, Rand Paul, was elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2010. Paul is a Senior Fellow of the Mises Institute, and has published a number of books and promoted the ideas of economists of the Austrian School such as Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises during his political campaigns.
On July 12, 2011, Paul announced that he would forgo seeking another term in Congress in order to focus on his presidential bid. On May 14, 2012, Paul announced that he would not be competing in any other presidential primaries but that he would still compete for delegates in states where the primary elections have already been held. At the 2012 Republican National Convention, Paul received 190 delegate votes. In January 2013, Paul retired from Congress but still remains active on college campuses, giving speeches promoting his libertarian vision. Paul received one electoral vote from a Texas faithless elector in the 2016 presidential election, making him the oldest person to receive an electoral vote, as well as the second registered Libertarian presidential candidate in history to receive an Electoral College vote after John Hospers.Self-ownership
Self-ownership (also known as sovereignty of the individual or individual sovereignty) is the concept of property in one's own person, expressed as the moral or natural right of a person to have bodily integrity and be the exclusive controller of one's own body and life. Self-ownership is a central idea in several political philosophies that emphasize individualism, such as liberalism and anarchism.Sovereign state
In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a nonphysical juridical entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent on nor subjected to any other power or state.While according to the declarative theory of statehood, a sovereign state can exist without being recognised by other sovereign states, unrecognised states will often find it hard to exercise full treaty-making powers and engage in diplomatic relations with other sovereign states.Sultanate of Zanzibar
The Sultanate of Zanzibar (Swahili: Usultani wa Zanzibar, Arabic: سلطنة زنجبار, translit. Sulṭanat Zanjībār), also known as the Zanzibar Sultanate, comprised the territories over which the Sultan of Zanzibar was the sovereign. Those territories varied over time, and at one point included all of what is now Kenya as well as the Zanzibar Archipelago of the Swahili Coast. Later, the kingdom's realm included only a ten mile wide coastal strip of Kenya and Zanzibar. Under an agreement concluded on 8 October 1963, the Sultan relinquished sovereignty over his remaining territory in Kenya. On 12 January 1964, Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah was deposed and lost sovereignty over the last of his dominions, Zanzibar.Tribal sovereignty in the United States
Tribal sovereignty in the United States is the concept of the inherent authority of indigenous tribes to govern themselves within the borders of the United States. The U.S. federal government recognizes tribal nations as "domestic dependent nations" and has established a number of laws attempting to clarify the relationship between the federal, state, and tribal governments.Westphalian sovereignty
Westphalian sovereignty, or state sovereignty, is the principle in international law that each state has exclusive sovereignty over its territory. The principle underlies the modern international system of sovereign states and is enshrined in the United Nations Charter, which states that "nothing should authorise intervention in matters essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state." According to the idea, every state, no matter how large or small, has an equal right to sovereignty. Political scientists have traced the concept to the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years' War. The principle of non-interference was further developed in the 18th century. The Westphalian system reached its peak in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it has faced recent challenges from advocates of humanitarian intervention.