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What Is A State? Essay

2298 words - 9 pages

Max Weber, a forefather of modern science, created the modern definition of a state. Weber believed that a state was a, “community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.” The state creates a legitimate means for the use of force, or the right to use violence within the state or to another state. Very simply put it is the domination of men over men by legitimate means. From this concept, Weber determined politics to be the striving to share power or influence the distribution of power with a state or among groups within a state. This is a good point especially when one considers how a political official has a great deal of influence on how power is distributed throughout a government. In order for those in a position of power, such as political officials, there must be a just cause by which the dominated submit themselves to authority (Weber 1958).
Weber explains that there are three different types of legitimized authority. The first authority that Weber describes is the authority is rooted in the ancient ritual and tradition to conform to the principle authority of forefathers (Weber 1958). This is exemplified in the form of patriarchy and an inherited authority. England is an exceptional example of this because while many European nations had monarchy authority in their history, England still recognizes the royal bloodline and has a monarchy. While the position of the monarchy within the government has changed from commander and chief to the chief of state, England holds onto this authority by which they legitimize their state. The second form of authority, Weber refers to as “gift of grace”. The concept of this authority is that the legitimacy comes from a certainty in a revelation, an act of heroism, or other charismatic individual leadership attributes (Weber 1958). A mythological example of this authority would be the story of Sir Arthur pulling Excalibur from the stone and by this revelation he was crowned King Arthur. Some might argue that while U.S President Barrack Obama’s authority is legitimized because he was elected into office, it is his charisma and ability to make the American people believe he can changes things is why people submit to authority. Weber explains that is it because the people of the state believe in their leader that they follow him. The final authority Weber discusses is legitimacy through legality or by created rules. U.S. President Obama while to some may be considered a leader by the “gift of grace” by U.S. political standards he is a legitimized leader because he was chosen through a specific process outlined by specific rules for leadership selection, or in other word election candidacy. In this model, leaders gain authority within the state by being a servant of the state and by imposing domination in the best interest of the state. Weber chooses to focus on the “gift of grace” legitimized leadership and how it ties into having a political vocation...

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