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Sept. 10 - Basic Concepts.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Todd Hall

Sept. 10 – Basic Concepts 1) The State: the world is broken up into states. - Every piece of the world is a territory of the a state (country) - Major actors of IR To be a state, look at the 1933 Montevideo Convention... 1) Permanent population 2) Defined territory 3) Government – autonomous, sovereign 4) Ability to enter into relations with other states – the government should be able to speak for its people, sign treaties, etc In practice however, these conventions can get messy! Ex. Taiwan - It has a population, territory and a government in place but because China claims it, fewer countries recognize it as an independent state  this is an issue of territorial control Palestine - Has a population, territory and enters into relations but because it has issues with its borders, it is not really recognized as a state Somalia - It is a state yet it has no functioning government Sealand - An old military installation on the English coast in Britain - It is an independent state 2) Sovereignty – Two dimensions: Internal and External - Internal: the government is the highest authority over the state; it has control over the people - External: there is no unit above the state; the state has equal relation with other states States and Sovereignty - Every state has sovereignty over its own people  Why does this matter? Because states are a relatively new concept. Ex. Henry and the Pope - This is an example of a head of a massive state bowing down to religious authority - Henry took a trip to Canossa to apologize to the Pope after being excommunicated for trying to appoint his own bishops – appointments were supposed to be done by the Vatican popes - Never before had a German king been so humiliated Peace of Westphalia - Two treaties established in 1694 which ended the 30 years war - It represented a new diplomatic stature created by the states - The treaty created the basic element of state and sovereignty Background: 30 years war - Bohemians threw out the Holy Roman figures, humiliating them o They thought that the emperor would impose Catholicism on them - Massive European slaughter - In this war, religion mattered + territory + power - Solution: agreement that princes controlled the individual states. o There was no imposing of religion – no higher power  This was the basis of the modern state system = the world would be divided into territories. Why the European history lesson? - The big player was empires - Ex. the Qing dynasty, Ottoman Empire, etc => are they not sovereign states? Sovereign states – bounded equal states Empire states – center + everyone else is lower Qing View of the World -
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