Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

What constitutes the sovereign state?


One might try to determine just what constitutes a sovereign state empirically, by examining the characteristics of states whose sovereignty is indisputable. All sovereign states, it might be observed, have territory, people, and a government. Curiously, however, cogent standards do not seem to exist either in law or in practice for the dimensions, number of people, or form of government that might be required of a sovereign state. Indeed, a United Nations General Assembly Resolution declared that neither small size, nor remote geographical location, nor limited resources constitutes a valid objection to sovereign statehood.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Thomas M. Franck , ‘The Stealing of the Sahara’, American Journal of International Law, 70 (1976), p. 694

Inis L. Claude Jr, ‘The Tension Between Principle and Pragmatism in International Relations’, Review of International Studies, 19 (1993), pp. 215–26

Robert H. Jackson and Carl G. Rosenberg , ‘Why Africa's Weak States Persist: The Empirical and Juridical in Statehood’, World Politics, 35 (1982), p. 1

Louis L. Jaffe , Judicial Aspects of Foreign Relations: In Particular of the Recognition of Foreign Powers (Cambridge, MA, 1933).

Alan James , ‘The UN Force in Cyprus’, International Affairs, 65 (Summer, 1989), pp. 481500

A. F. Pollard , ‘The Balance of Power’, Journal of the British Institute of International Affairs, 2 (1923), pp. 5164

Adam Watson , The Evolution of International Society (London, 1992)

Vera Gowlland-Debbas , ‘Collective Responses to the Unilateral Declarations of Independence of Southern Rhodesia and Palestine: An Application of the Legitimizing Function of the United Nations’, The British Year Book of International Law, 61 (1990), pp. 135–6

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Review of International Studies
  • ISSN: 0260-2105
  • EISSN: 1469-9044
  • URL: /core/journals/review-of-international-studies
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 133 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 592 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.