Critically Examine the Claim by States to Be the Legitimate Governing Authority in a Territory.

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Max Weber cited in Blakely and Saward (2009 P. 361) defines the state as ‘An organisation that successfully claims a monopoly of the legitimate use of force in a given territory. The word legitimate also appears in the question for this essay, so legitimacy appears to be the key word, and its definition is, “able to be defended with logic or justification” (Oxford dictionaries online). In a democracy the Government is voted in by the people, and it could be argued this process makes it legitimate. But not all states in the world are democratic, so can they be seen to be a legitimate governing body, with the authority to rule the people of that territory? This essay will examine the legitimacy of the states power and if they are justified to be the governing authority in a given territory. The United Kingdom is a democratic society; the people are given the opportunity to vote, for the political party they consider will be the best to govern. However not all persons use their vote, and those who do, not all take careful consideration over the parties portfolio, but follow a habit of generations. In the 2010 general election only 65.1% of the 46 million registered voters used their vote (UK Political info). That means around 16 million people chose not to, does this mean that they were content with whatever political party was elected and willingly except them as the legitimate governing authority. These non voters may be the democratic minimalists as described by David Beetham, (Citizens and the state, 2009, track 2) who believe that democracy is the right to govern through elections, but the voting should be left to those who understand the party line. That would leave the persons who voted as the democratic maximalists, who believe that they should have their say and participate more than normal. Although this would suggest there is room for another category between the two, the section of the population who only get interested in politics when there is a...
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