In the exercise of governance
, the terms authority
are inaccurate synonyms. The term authority
identifies the political legitimacy
, which grants and justifies the ruler’s right to exercise the power of government; and the term power
identifies the ability to accomplish an authorized goal, either by compliance or by obedience; hence, authority
is the power
to make decisions and the legitimacy to make such legal decisions and order their execution.
understandings of authority trace back to Rome
and draw later from Catholic (Thomistic
) thought and other traditional
understandings. In more modern terms, forms of authority include transitional authority exhibited in for example Cambodia
public authority in the form of popular power
, and, in more administrative terms, bureaucratic or managerial techniques. In terms of bureaucratic governance, one limitation of the governmental agents of the executive branch, as outlined by George A. Krause, is that they are not as close to the popular will as elected representatives are.
The claims of authority can extend to national or individual sovereignty
, which is broadly or provisionally understood as a claim to political authority that is legitimated
Historical applications of authority in political terms include the formation of the city-state of Geneva
, and experimental treatises involving the topic of authority in relation to education include Emile
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
. As David Laitin defines, authority is a key concept to be defined in determining the range and role of political theory, science and inquiry.
The relevance of a grounded understanding of authority includes the basic foundation and formation of political, civil and/or ecclesiastical institutions or representatives. In recent years, however, authority in political contexts has been challenged or questioned.
In European political philosophy
, the jurisdiction of political authority, the location of sovereignty
, the balancing of notions of freedom and authority,
and the requirements of political obligations have been core questions from the time of Plato
to the present. Most democratic
societies are engaged in an ongoing discussion regarding the legitimate extent of the exercise of governmental
authority. In the United States
, for instance, there is a prevailing belief that the political system as instituted by the Founding Fathers
should accord the populace as much freedom as reasonable; that government should limit its authority accordingly, known as limited government
Since the emergence of the social sciences
, authority has become a subject of research in a variety of empirical
settings: the family (parental authority), small groups (informal authority of leadership
), intermediate organizations such as schools, churches, armies, industries and bureaucracies (organizational and bureaucratic authority), and society-wide or inclusive organizations, ranging from the most primitive tribal society to the modern nation-state and intermediate organization (political authority).
United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms
Sovereign kings and queens in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms
are considered the foundations of judicial, legislative and executive authority.
The understanding of political authority and the exercise of political powers
in the American context traces back to the writings of the Founding Fathers
, including the arguments put forward in The Federalist Papers
by James Madison
, Alexander Hamilton
and the First Chief Justice of the United States John Jay
, and later speeches by the 16th President of the United States Abraham Lincoln
. "Our government rests in public opinion," President Abraham Lincoln said in 1856.
In his 1854 Speech at Peoria, Illinois, Lincoln espoused the proposition “that each man should do precisely as he pleases with all which is exclusively his own," a principle existing "at the foundation of the sense of justice."
This sense of personal ownership and stewardship was integral to the practice of self-government
as Abraham Lincoln saw it by a Republican
nation and its people. This was because, as Abraham Lincoln also declared, "No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent."
The U.S. President is called to give account to the Parliament for the conduct of the whole government, including that of regulatory agencies. The President influences the appointments, the budgeting process and has the right and capacity to review regulatory rules on a case-by-case basis. Since the time of the Reagan administration
the President was informed with a cost–benefit analysis
of the regulation.
The creation of a regulatory agency requires an act of the Congress which specifies its jurisdiction, the related authority and delegated powers. Regulatory authorities can be qualified as independent agencies or executive branch agencies, a choice which is the reason of struggle between the Congress and the President as well as with the American Courts. The latter's role is limited by the authorities' power to regulate property rights
without the due process
rights mandatorily applied by the courts.
- ^ Bealey, Frank (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science: A User's Guide to Its Terms. pp. 22–23. ISBN 0-631-20694-9.
- ^ The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought Third Edition, Allan Bullock and Stephen Trombley, Eds. p. 115.
- ^ The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought Third Edition, Allan Bullock and Stephen Trombley, Eds. pp. 677–678.
- ^ Widyono, Benny (Oct 2014). "United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC)".
- ^ Krause, George A. (2010). Durant, Robert F. (ed.). "Legislative Delegation of Authority to Bureaucratic Agencies". The Oxford Handbook of American Bureaucracy. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 524.
- ^ Glanville, Luke (2016). Bellamy, Alex J. (ed.). "Sovereignty". The Oxford Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 153.
- ^ Laitin, David (1998). "Toward a Political Science Discipline: Authority Patterns Revisited". Comparative Political Studies. 31 (4): 423–443. doi:10.1177/0010414098031004002. S2CID 146736449.
- ^ Cristi, Renato (2005). Hegel on Freedom and Authority. Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press.
- ^ Bloom, Howard (2010). The Genius of the Beast: a radical re-vision of capitalism. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-1-59102-754-6. To validate an argument, we refer back to our ancestors – or to someone who, while still alive, has already garnered the sort of authority only ancestors normally have.
- ^ Guelzo, Allen C. (2012). Lincoln Speeches. New York: Penguin Books. p. xxi.
- ^ Guelzo, Allen C. (2012). Lincoln Speeches. New York: Penguin Books. p. 47.
- ^ Guelzo, Allen C. (2012). Lincoln Speeches. New York: Penguin Books. p. 48.
- ^ a b John Ferejohn (2004). The Authority of Regulation and the Control of Regulators. Droit et économie de la régulation. Cairn.info. pp. 35–37. ISBN 9782724686463. OCLC 7292576035. Archived from the original on October 3, 2020 – via archive.is.
- Giorgio Agamben, State of Exception (2005)
- Hannah Arendt, "Authority in the Twentieth Century." Review of Politics (1956)
- Hannah Arendt, On Violence (1970)
- Józef Maria Bocheński, Was ist Autorität? (1974)
- Renato Cristi, Hegel on Freedom and Authority (2005)
- Carl Joachim Friedrich, Authority. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (1958)
- Carl Joachim Friedrich, An Introduction to Political Theory: Twelve Lectures at Harvard. New York: Harper & Row (1967)
- Carl Joachim Friedrich, Tradition and Authority. London: Macmillan (1972)
- Robert E. Goodin (ed), The Oxford Handbook of Political Science (2011)
- Patrick Hayden, Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts (2014), esp. Chapter 8
- Alexandre Kojève, "The Notion of Authority" (2014)
- Rafael Domingo Osle, Auctoritas (1999)
- Gail Radford, The Rise of the Public Authority: Statebuilding and Economic Development in Twentieth-Century America (2013)
- Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen [The Concept of the Political] (1932)
- Max Weber, Economy and Society (1922)
- Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation (1919)
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