Definitions of the state vary depending on the political theory or political philosophy inspiring the definition. However, there is a common element to all of them. The state is an organization monopolizing the legitimate use of force or claiming a monopoly on the use of coercion in a given geographic area and over a political entity, and possessing internal and external sovereignty. Recognition of the state by other states, and thus its ability to enter into international agreements, is often considered a crucial element of its nature. When not conceptually specified, the term state is typically defined ostensibly by pointing out the political structure that emerged after the Peace of Westphalia and that currently constitutes the dominant form of political organization in the world. The ...

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