Sovereign - Sovereignty

(Reference: John Bouvier, A Law Dictionary Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States of America and the Several States of the American Union, Childs & Peterson, c1856.)

  SOVEREIGNTY. The union and exercise of all human power possessed in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them: to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like. Story on the Const. Sec. 207.

2. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and belongs to the people. But these powers are generally exercised by delegation.

3. When analysed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great powers; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary; the first is the power to make new laws, and to correct and repeal the old; the second is the power to execute the laws both at home and abroad; and the last is the power to apply the laws to particular facts; to judge the disputes which arise among the citizens, and to punish crimes.

4. Strictly speaking, in our republican forms of government, the absolute sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation; (q.v.) and the residuary sovereignty of each state, not granted to any of its public functionaries, is in the people of the state. (q.v.) 2 Dall. 471; and vide, generally, 2 Dall. 433, 455; 3 Dall. 93; 1 Story, Const. Sec. 208; 1 Toull. n. 20 Merl. Repert. h.t.

 SOVEREIGN STATE. One which governs itself independently of any foreign power.

SOVEREIGN. A chief ruler with supreme power; one possessing sovereignty. (q.v.) It is also applied to a king or other magistrate with limited powers.

2. In the United States the sovereignty resides in the body of the people. Vide Rutherf. Inst. 282.