On Sovereignty

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trice

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Just because there are often discussions here on the meaning of sovereignty and whether or not the States have it.

This is from Lassa Oppenheim's landmark work International Law: A Treatise, Volume I, 1904:

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I guess people disagree about what sovereignty means and who has it, and have done so for a long time.
 

OpnCoronet

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Is not the theory of American republicanism, that all the powers to govern a nation, country or state, resides in those individuals that freely choose to be governed by them, i.e., all the powers to be exercised by such gov'ts is derived from those individuals who freely chose to be governed by those same entities(Nation, country, state, etc.,) ?

In ante-bellum America, I think sovereignty, referred to any authority free from any authority outside its own, and in American political theory, that kind of authority resides only in the individual persons who make up the general population of tits citizens.
 

thomas aagaard

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It don't matter if your government rule on behalf of a free people or is a made up of a absolute monarch.

Sovereignty is a question of being able to exercise it and of other sovereign powers agreeing that you are one.

Both the declaration of independence and SC's declaration of causes repeat the same list of actions only a sovereign power can do.
"and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do."

All of it is something a US federal state can't do.


----
Funny fact, you don't even need to hold territory to be a Sovereign power (or entity). Sovereign Military Order of Malta is still considered a sovereign power, by a long list of states and are observer members of the UN.
 
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trice

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Is not the theory of American republicanism, that all the powers to govern a nation, country or state, resides in those individuals that freely choose to be governed by them, i.e., all the powers to be exercised by such gov'ts is derived from those individuals who freely chose to be governed by those same entities(Nation, country, state, etc.,) ?

In ante-bellum America, I think sovereignty, referred to any authority free from any authority outside its own, and in American political theory, that kind of authority resides only in the individual persons who make up the general population of tits citizens.
There are multiple theories about what sovereignty actually means. At the time of the American Revolution, in America, the most likely references would be to Thomas Hobbes(English, 1588-1679), John Locke (English, 1632-1704), and Emer de Vattel (Swiss, 1714-67). The then-current source most like what you say above would be the Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French, 1712-78). The works of Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui, Cornelius van Bynkershoek, and Christian Wolff, Hugo Grotius, Samuel von Pufendorf, Thomas Rutherforth, and Niccolo Machiavelli were also known in America at the time.

It is known that a friend of Ben Franklin who later served as an American diplomat had sent Franklin 3 copies of Vattel's 1858 work, the Law of Nations at the end of 1775. They were in French, and Franklin gave one to the Philadelphia Library Co. Franklin also wrote back (December, 1775) that the book was consulted often by the Continental Congress. Thomas Jefferson was a big admirer of John Locke.

Locke and Vattel are both big on Natural Law and Natural Rights. Hobbes is close to a divine-right-of-kings absolutist. Rousseau is the most power-comes-from-the-people. I have no idea where Machiavelli stands in that spectrum, but suspect that his definition of sovereignty was somewhere close to the-end-justifies-the-means.

Oppenheim, writing almost a century and a quarter after the American Revolution, was familiar with all those writers and more. He reviews different types of sovereignty in Volume I of his work. The passage in the OP is his conclusion on "sovereignty".
 

unionblue

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@trice ,

I have quoted this before elsewhere on this forum, but thought it might bear repeating here. If I am wrong, please tell me and I will delete it.

"It is safe to assert that no government proper, ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination."

I fail to see, myself, how any question concerning the definition of sovereignty, disproves the above.

Sincerely,
Unionblue
 
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