Sovereignty is derived from the Latin word “superanus,” which meaning “extreme” or “superficial.” Although the term “sovereignty” is a contemporary invention, the notion of the term dates back to Aristotle’s time. Aristotle used the phrase “excessive state authority” several times. Sovereignty refers to a territory’s highest authority. Sovereignty involves both internal state hierarchy and external state autonomy. In every state, sovereignty is ascribed to the person, body, or institution with ultimate authority over other individuals in order to make a law or alter one that already exists. Sovereignty is a substantive concept in political theory that designates supreme lawful power over a society. In international law, sovereignty refers to a state’s exercise of authority.


There are 5 types of sovereignty and they are as follows:

  1. Titular Sovereignty

In ancient times, several states had monarchy and kings as rulers. In the face of their ultimate authority, their senates and parliaments were powerless. At the time, they had real sovereignty. As a result, they are regarded as real monarchs. These kings are now restricted to titular sovereignty, sometimes referred to as Nominal Sovereignty. The term “titular sovereign” refers to a king who is unable to exercise genuine power. For example, the British king has the power to encourage, warn, and advise his ministers, as well as request any information about the administration. Apart from these regular duties, the King has no unique powers, and the actual authority rests with the Ministers. As a result, even though the King is known as the sovereign. His sovereignty is just notional, and it is referred to as titular sovereignty.

  • Legal Sovereignty

The state’s top law-making body is the legal sovereign. Its directions are the only ones that are enforceable under the law. It has the power to overthrow divine law, moral norms, and public opinion. The state’s unrestricted power, which no one may question, is known as legal sovereign authority. The King-in-Parliament is an example of a king in England. Legal sovereignty is the lawyer’s concept of sovereignty. Law is just the sovereign’s will, and the legal sovereign’s power is absolute. The sovereign has the legal right to do anything he wants since his authority is limitless. Because the legal sovereign grants and enforces all citizens’ rights, no right may be invoked against him. As a result, the legal sovereign is always definite and determined. Because all courts only accept laws that have been established and passed by such a sovereignty, it is critical.

  • Political Sovereignty

While it is true that the legal sovereign has tremendous power, there is another sovereign who is more powerful than the legal sovereign. This sovereign is referred to as the Political Sovereign. The phrase “political sovereign” refers to the entire set of forces that exist behind the law and legal sovereign in a country. In modern representative governance, it might be characterized as the people’s power. The political sovereign in representative democracies is the entire people, sometimes known as the electorate or public opinion. At the same time, it is difficult to assert unequivocally that political sovereignty is intimately tied to the entire people, the voter, or public opinion, and as a result, it is seen as a very ambiguous word. Political sovereignty is granted to a group of people who control the majority of the population or the whole population. Political sovereignty is derived from the electorate, public opinion, and all other factors in the state that generate and shape public opinion. Political sovereignty manifests itself in a number of difficult-to-articulate and-define ways, such as through voting, the press, speeches, and other means. It is, however, unorganised, and it can only become effective if it is organised, and it is the organisation of political sovereignty that leads to the organisation of legal sovereignty, creating the two components of the state’s sovereignty.

  • Popular Sovereignty

The term “popular sovereignty” refers to the fact that power is in the hands of the people. The government’s ruling power is based on public support. Protests against monarchy in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries expressed the desire for the first populist sovereignty. The partial foundation of people’s sovereignty was noted during England’s glorious revolution (1688). The king’s reign, according to John Locke’s Two Treatises on Civil Government, is contingent on the people’s agreement.

The desire for people’s sovereignty was eloquently expressed throughout the French Revolution. Rousseau’s idea also corresponds to the popular Sovereignty’s evident identity. The important characteristics and ideas which form the doctrine of popular sovereignty are:

  1. The Government does not exist for the good of the Government. Its existence is for the good of the people that come under it.
  2. If the people’s wishes are deliberately violated, then there is a possibility of the occurrence of a revolution
  3. The Government must provide people with a simplified legal way of expressing their opinion as it is their opinion which the forms the fundamental base of the sovereign.
  4. Different means such as frequent elections, local self-Government, referendum, initiative, and recall should be employed in order to ensure that the government is directly responsible to the people.
  5. The government cannot exercise their powers in an arbitrary manner and must do it in accordance with the laws of the land.
  6. The public participation will remain active in all government departments, including the administration.
  7. The goal of the sovereign will be for the welfare of the people and the establishment of democracy.
  • De jure and De facto Sovereignty

Because sovereignty is a matter of fact, a distinction is usually established between de jure and de facto sovereignty. The legal sovereign is the de jure sovereign, but the actual sovereign is the one who is obeyed by the people regardless of whether or not it has legal standing. Although de jure sovereignty has the legal right to compel loyalty, de facto sovereignty is limited to physical force or religious persuasion. The contrast between the two stands out even more clearly in times of change. Some revolutions result in simply a change in government people or structure, while others result in the de jure sovereign’s complete extinction and the establishment of a new one. When government officials shift, it creates a de facto sovereign, since they create a legal sovereign but not the real sovereign, and they do not have the ability to force people’s loyalty. When the previous de jure sovereign is completely destroyed and a new one emerges, the new one becomes a de jure sovereign because it has the capacity to force people’s loyalty.


  1. http://www.americacallsitaly.org/politica/sovranismo.htm
  2. https://www.britannica.com/topic/sovereignty
  3. https://www.ramauniversity.ac.in/online-study-material/law/ballb/isemester/politicalscience-i/lecture-18.pdf
  4. https://schoolofpoliticalscience.com/meaning-and-types-of-sovereignty/

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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