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Sovereignty

A "sovereign" is a king or a queen.

The concept of “sovereignty” is of paramount importance in international relations.  The word “sovereign” or “sovereignty” has several related meanings.

The principle of sovereignty means that no state is allowed to interfere in the internal affairs of another state. To say that just a bit differently, countries that respect each other’s sovereignty do not interfere in each other’s domestic affairs.

Traditionally, sovereignty is considered the most important norm in international relations.  (A “ norm” is a shared expectation about proper behavior. An international norm is a shared expectation about normal relations among states). 

Check Your Understanding

  1. Democracy is based on the idea of “popular sovereignty.” What does this term mean? (Hint: The word “popular” comes from the Latin word for “people”).
  2. A shared expectation about how countries should behave is called a __________.
  3. If you bow before your sovereign, whom are you bowing to?
  4. This term refers to “inside the home” or “inside the country.”
  5. What is a “domestic” flight?
  6. What is a “domestic” animal?
  7. If I describe a woman as “domestic,” what do I mean?
  8. What is a word that basically means to the opposite of “international”?
  9. The idea that no state should interfere in the internal affairs of another country is called the principle of __________.
  10. Traditionally, what is the most important norm in international relations?
  11. According to a traditional saying, “Good walls make good neighbors.” What principle does this saying express?