Nations, states, and territory

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147 Scopus citations


Nationalists hold that the state derives its territorial rights from the prior claim of a cultural nation to territory. This article develops an alternative account: the legitimate state theory. This view holds that a state has rights to territory if it meets the following four conditions: (a) it effectively implements a system of law regulating property in that territory; (b) its subjects have a legitimate claim to occupy the territory; (c) the state's system of law "rules in the name of the people," by protecting basic rights and providing for political participation; and (d) the state is not a usurper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-601
Number of pages30
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy


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