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Treaty Of Westalphia And The Nation State

2008 words - 8 pages

It is often argued that the appearance of state sovereignty was cemented by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648), which established the so-called 'Westphalian system' (Moeller 1986, p72, 73). The Treaty formalized the modern notion of sovereign statehood. Modern Europe emerged from the convulsions of the 30 Years war in 1648 with the signing of the "Peace of Westphalia" (Moeller 1986, p72, 73). The principles of international order that emerged in Europe after the conclusion of this peace treaty have become the foundation of the modern international system (Moeller 1986, p72, 73). The modern international system is based upon the principles of state sovereignty and international law. Law is a principle governing action or procedure. Law implies the existence of a sovereign authority and the obligation of obedience of all subject to that authority. A body of law functions within a jurisdiction. Jurisdiction refers to the limits or territory within which the law applies. We distinguish between domestic or national law and international law. We also distinguish between two major branches of legal systems, Roman law and Common law. Roman or Continental law is based on a codified body of principles of law. Common law, or English Common law, is based in part on codified statues and in part on judicial interpretation of previous practice. The basic principles of international relations in the Westphalian system are generally regarded to be: sovereignty of the state; sovereign equality of states; the right of non-interference in domestic affairs of the sovereign state; territorial integrity of the state; the obligation to abide by international agreements; the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes; and the obligation to engage in international cooperation consistent with national interests (Moeller 1986, p78).A State is defined, inter alia, as a politically organized body of people under a single government. This definition is institutionally oriented. A geographically oriented definition states that a "State" is a territory occupied by a nation. It can be seen that the term "State" can be defined in conjunction and reference to a range of different things. Thus in understanding this term and its complexities in a Political context it is important to first understand its features and how these features interplay to produce the envisaged establishment defined as the State. Heywood identifies five key features of a State. The initial feature is territorial association. The entity of a state has its defined limits on where its authority or jurisdiction extends. This is geographically defined in the case of most states with reference to boarder lines or demarcations. For island nations the territorial association is defined in terms of the association of all the islands that form a state and where its land mass meets the sea- subject to further allocation to EEZ. This geographically limited or defined space for a state gives it autonomy and it is...

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