Supreme power; supremacy; the possession of the highest power, or of uncontrollable power.
American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster 1828, Vol. II, 76.
SOVEREIGNTY. The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state: It is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability, —to make laws, to execute and to apply them, to impose and collect taxes and levy contributions, to make war or peace, to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Story, Const. § 207.
The artificial soul of that artificial body, the state. Spencer.
As long as it is accurately employed . . . it is a merely legal conception and means simply the power of law-making unrestricted by any legal limit. But it is sometimes employed in a political rather than a legal sense. Dicey, Engl. Constitution.
Abstractly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people. But these powers are generally exercised by delegation.
When analyzed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great powers: namely, the legislative, the executive, and the Judiciary; the first is the power to make new laws and to collect and repeal the old; the second is the power to execute the laws, both at home and abroad; and the last is the power to apply the laws to particular facts, to judge the disputes which arise among the citizens, and to punish crimes.
See EXECUTIVE POWER; LEGISLATIVE POWER; JUDICIAL POWER.
Strictly speaking, in our republican forms of government the absolute sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation and the residuary sovereignty of each state, not granted to any of its public functionaries, is in the people of the state; Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. (U. S.) 471, 1 L. Ed. 440.
In international law a state is considered sovereign when it is organized for political purposes and permanently occupies a fixed territory. It must have an organized government capable of enforcing law and be free from all external control. A wandering tribe of savages, or nomads, or people united merely for commercial purposes or under control of another state cannot be considered as a sovereign state. Until a state becomes sovereign in the sense above described. It is not subject to international law. The states of the American Union are each, in a certain sense, sovereign in their domestic concerns, but not in international law, and Norway is an instance of a community not sovereign in International law because bound in a union with Sweden. The fact of sovereignty is usually established by general recognition of other states, and, until such recognition is universal, no community can be considered as sovereign; Snow, Int. Law 19. See International Law.
Every sovereign state is bound to respect the independence of every other sovereign state, and the courts of one country will not sit in judgment on the acts of the government of another, done within its own territory. Underhill v. Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 18 Sup. Ct. 83, 42 L. Ed. 456.
“The transactions of independent states between each other are governed by other laws than those which municipal courts administer; such courts have neither the means of deciding what is right, nor the power of enforcing any decision which they may make.” 13 Moore, P. C. 75. And the same is the case with their dealings with the subjects of other states; Pollock, Torts 105.
Public agents, military or civil, or foreign governments, whether such governments be de jure or de facto, cannot be held responsible in any courts of the United States for things done in their own states in the exercise of the sovereignty thereof, in pursuance of the directions of their governments; Underhill v. Hernandez, 65 Fed. 577, 13 C. C. A 51, 38 L. B. A. 405. The government of one country will not sit in judgment on the acts of the government of another country done within Its own territory; Underhill v Hernandez, 168 U. S. 250, 18 Sup. Ct 83, 42 L. Ed. 456.
Sovereignty means that the decree of the sovereign makes law; and foreign courts can not condemn the influences persuading the sovereign to make the decree; American Banana Co. v. United Fruit Co., 213 U. 5. 347 29 Sup. Ct. 511, 53 L Ed. 826, 16 Ann. Cas 1047.
The idea of sovereignty was not associated in the Teutonic mind with dominion over a particular portion of the earth’s surface; it was distinctly personal or tribal; and so was their conception of law. Taylor, Science of Jurispr. 133.
See SOVEREIGN; STATE.
Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, Third Revision (8th Edition)(1914), Volume 3, pages 3096 & 3097.
sovereignty (suv’- or sovë-rãn-ti)
That political authority which commands in civil society, and orders and directs what each citizen is to perform to obtain the end of its institution. See note to Bannock County v. Bell, 101 Am. St. Rep. 158.
Law Dictionary, James A. Ballentine, Second Edition, 1948, page 1216.
The supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power by which any independent state is govern; supreme political authority; paramount control of the constitution and frame of government and its administration; self sufficient source of political power, from which all specific political powers are derived; the international independence of a state, combined with the right and power of regulating its internal affairs without foreign dictation; also a political society, or state, which is sovereign and independent.
Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall. 455, 1 L.Ed. 440; Union Bank v. Hill, 3 Cold., Tenn 325; Moore v. Shaw, 17 Cal. 218, 79 Am.Dec. 123; State v. Dixon, 66 Mont. 76, 213 P. 227.
Black’s Law Dictionary 4th Edition (1951) page 1568.
1) the state or quality of being sovereignty 2) the status, dominion, rule, or power of a sovereign 3) supreme and independent political authority 4) a sovereign state or governmental unit.
Webster’s New World Dictionary, 3rd College Ed.(1988), page 1283