What are some types of sovereignty?


Quick Answer

Some different types of sovereignty include real sovereignty, legal sovereignty, political sovereignty and popular sovereignty. Another way of thinking of sovereignty is the distinction between de jure and de facto sovereignty.

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Full Answer

Real sovereignty is the type of power exercised by absolute monarchs. In a state of real sovereignty, a single individual holds virtually all the power in a society, and other institutions or individuals have little or no say in making laws, collecting taxes, waging war or other matters of state.

Legal sovereignty refers to the power to make and enforce laws. In most modern nations, law is the basis around which the entire society is ordered. The body that makes these laws, such as a parliament or legislature, possesses legal sovereignty.

Political sovereignty is the power that allows the legal sovereign to create and enforce laws. In democratic societies, political sovereignty rests with the electorate. Political parties and elected officials are the physical embodiment of political sovereignty.

Popular sovereignty is the power that resides with every citizen of a state. Unlike political sovereignty, popular sovereignty is not always organized or formal. Popular sovereignty can be expressed by individuals in a society casting votes to elect those who exercise political sovereignty, but it can also take the form of a violent uprising or revolution.

De jure sovereignty is the legally authorized power given to certain individuals to conduct affairs of state. De facto sovereignty is the actual ability of an individual to exert her influence, regardless of legal authorization. While those with de jure sovereignty typically also have de facto sovereignty, rulers with no legal recognition can still exert their influence, particularly in unstable or failed states.

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