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What percent of the population could vote in Venice between 900 and 1200 AD?

What percent of the population could vote in Venice between 900 and 1200 AD?

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Venice's political institutions became much more inclusive between 900 and 1200 AD especially with the creation of the Consilium Sapientis. How many of Venice's population were citizens entitled to vote as part of the Concio for members of the Consilium Sapientis and the Doge?

I've checked wikipedia and done some rather extensive research on Venice. It seems about 5% of the population were patricians, but non-patrician citizens could also vote, and I haven't found any estimates for the proportion of people who were citizens.

I found this reference, Venice in Environmental Peril?: Myth and Reality By Dominic Standish, citing that about 4% of the population were patricians and about 6% were citizens "leaving about 90% powerless".

Hazlitt's book might be helpful, though dated.


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Greece, the southernmost of the countries of the Balkan Peninsula. Geography has greatly influenced the country’s development. Mountains historically restricted internal communications, but the sea opened up wider horizons. The total land area of Greece (one-fifth of which is made up of the Greek islands) is comparable in size to England or the U.S. state of Alabama.

Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which about 170 are inhabited some of the easternmost Aegean islands lie just a few miles off the Turkish coast. The country’s capital is Athens, which expanded rapidly in the second half of the 20th century. Attikí (ancient Greek: Attica), the area around the capital, is now home to about one-third of the country’s entire population.

A Greek legend has it that God distributed soil through a sieve and used the stones that remained to build Greece. The country’s barren landscape historically caused the people to migrate. The Greeks, like the Jews and the Armenians, traditionally have been a people of diaspora, and several million people of Greek descent live in various parts of the world. Xeniteia, or sojourning in foreign lands, with its strong overtones of nostalgia for the faraway homeland, has been a central element in the historical experience of the Greek people.

Greece is a country that is at once European, Balkan, Mediterranean, and Near Eastern. It lies at the juncture of Europe, Asia, and Africa and is heir to the heritages of Classical Greece, the Byzantine Empire, and nearly four centuries of Ottoman Turkish rule.

Greece is bordered to the east by the Aegean Sea, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and to the west by the Ionian Sea. Only to the north and northeast does it have land borders (totaling some 735 miles [1,180 km]), with, from west to east, Albania, the Republic of North Macedonia (see Researcher’s Note: Macedonia: the provenance of the name), Bulgaria, and Turkey. The Greek landscape is conspicuous not only for its rugged beauty but also for its complexity and variety. Three elements dominate: the sea, the mountains, and the lowland. The Greek mainland is sharply indented arms and inlets of the sea penetrate so deeply that only a small, wedge-shaped portion of the interior is more than 50 miles (80 km) from the coast. The rocky headlands and peninsulas extend outward to the sea where there are many island arcs and archipelagoes. The southernmost part of mainland Greece, the Pelopónnisos (ancient Greek: Peloponnese) peninsula, connects to the mainland only by the narrow isthmus at the head of the Gulf of Korinthiakós (Corinth). Greece’s mountainous terrain covers some four-fifths of the country, much of which is deeply dissected. A series of mainland mountain chains running northwest-southeast enclose narrow parallel valleys and numerous small basins that once held lakes. With riverine plains and thin, discontinuous strips of coastal plain, these interior valleys and basins constitute the lowland. Although it accounts for only about one-fifth of the country’s land area, the lowland has played an important role in the life of the country.

Commentary By

Kaitlynn Samalis-Aldrich is a research assistant in the Meese Center for Judicial and Legal Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Hans von Spakovsky is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, and former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a member of the board of the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

All-mail elections have received heightened attention in the media these past few weeks. Prominent liberals highly endorse the idea, claiming it allows people to do their patriotic duty without risking being infected by the coronavirus.

In reality, without rigid safeguards to prevent fraud, misuse, and voter intimidation, absentee ballot fraud—while it may occur sporadically—already has affected the outcome of elections in states and counties across the country.

Just look at the 2018 congressional race in North Carolina that was overturned by the state election board. Or the mayor of Gordon, Alabama, who was removed from office last year after his conviction for absentee ballot fraud.

Although talk of voter fraud may be increasing because of the stakes in the 2020 election, The Heritage Foundation’s election fraud database has been around for four years. With the addition of our latest batch of cases, we are up to 1,285 proven instances of voter fraud.

Heritage’s database is by no means comprehensive. It doesn’t capture all voter fraud cases and certainly doesn’t capture reported instances that aren’t even investigated or prosecuted. The database is intended to demonstrate the vulnerabilities in the election system and the many ways in which fraud is committed.

We try to keep a close eye on public information about potential cases through local news stories, court documents, county records, and police reports. But even that is difficult to do in a country as large as the United States, with hundreds of elections every year.

This sampling of cases illustrates the existence and effect of voter fraud. Most importantly, the public must understand that fraud can occur throughout the entire process of registering and voting.

Examples include impersonation fraud at the polls false voter registrations duplicate voting fraudulent absentee ballots vote buying illegal assistance and intimidation of voters ineligible voting, such as by aliens altering of vote counts and ballot petition fraud.

A recent Heritage fact sheet offers a quick summary of the dangers of voting by mail and the necessary safeguards to ensure an election’s integrity.

Another Heritage report details how Wisconsin successfully conducted its recent primary election—including in-person voting—and how other countries such as Liberia have conducted an election successfully during a health crisis.

Voting by mail makes it easier to commit fraud, intimidate voters, and destroy the protections of the secret ballot. It puts elections into the hands of the Postal Service. Without the oversight of election and polling officials, ballots can be lost, disqualified, and even stolen.

An example from our newest batch of cases illustrates a common type of fraud. John and Grace Fleming both were found guilty of duplicate voting, once by absentee ballot in New Hampshire and then in person in Massachusetts.

We also added to the database the case of Reginald Holman, a city council member in Ashtabula, Ohio, who was forced to resign after an investigation found he illegally registered at his parents’ address in Ashtabula rather than his actual residence in Plymouth, Ohio.

Take the case of Courtney Rainey in Canton, Mississippi, who was found guilty of bribing and harassing individuals to win a municipal election.

Or take the case of April Atilano, who was found guilty of changing party affiliations of voters and forging signatures on voter registration forms, among other things. Atilano was hired by a private company to contact and register voters in Madera County, California.

Vigilant staffers in the County Clerk-Recorder’s Office noticed something fishy with the registration cards submitted by Atilano. If they hadn’t have been so diligent, the forms would have been altered without the consent or knowledge of the voters.

County Clerk-Recorder Rebecca Martinez says she has zero tolerance for voter fraud in her county. Asked about this issue, Martinez replied: “Protecting our elections has always been my highest priority and I will continue to maintain this vigilance as we head into the presidential election in November.”

All public officials should have this attitude when it comes to protecting the sanctity of elections.

Some argue that even if voter fraud occurs, its impact is so marginal it couldn’t possibly effect the outcome of an election. That is simply not true—fraud can make the difference in a close election.

In a previous article, we pointed out how over 100 elections in Ohio were decided by less than two votes. Heritage’s database contains numerous instances where voter fraud was so severe that it affected the outcome and new elections were called.

This is not a partisan issue. Heritage has documented elections overturned or elected officials removed on account of fraud that involved both Democrats and Republicans.

Securing the integrity of elections should not become wrapped up in partisan politics. Yet since the inception of the COVID-19 pandemic (and some would argue even before then), many leading Democrats have scoffed at the reality of voter fraud and the importance of election integrity—even though it is their own voters and supporters who often are affected by such fraud.

It is important that we take reasonable steps to make it hard to cheat in elections while making it easy for legitimate voters to vote.

Elected officials and party leaders, regardless of political affiliation, should put their ambitions aside and understand that election integrity is of the utmost importance in self-government and maintaining a functioning democratic republic.

Here Pity Only Lives When it is Dead

Why is it that in a city that is prepared to spend up to $50 million dollars vainly trying to capture the Olympic games (for the third time) there are over 25,000 people sleeping on the streets on any given night? And, why is it in a place that will soon be home to a half-billion dollar, 100,000-square-foot mega-mansion, there is not enough affordable housing?

Los Angeles now has the ignoble status of failing to house more dispossessed people than just about any other major city on the globe, coming in third after Manila (with more than 70,000 homeless) and New York City (with more 60,000). More than 44,000 homeless people were counted in January 2015 across Los Angeles County, with nearly 26,000 in the City of Los Angeles alone. And the numbers keep rising the city&rsquos homeless population has jumped by double digits for the better half of the last decade, while funding to combat homelessness has shrunk. Astonishingly L.A. has also become home to billion dollar mega developments like Greenland&rsquos Metropolis in downtown, which, according to some, may end up being L.A.&rsquos first zombie development, its condos pre-sold to foreign investors and then left largely unoccupied.

Visible divisions have formed: Will Los Angeles be the 21st century capital of the Pacific Rim (one long held political fantasy about the region) or the capital of the Third World (another thesis about L.A. put forward by David Rieff, Mike Davis, and others)? Which one is our reality? Probably both. Blocks away from City Hall there are people living in tents, in cardboard boxes, or just sleeping unprotected on the sidewalks and in the gutter. How it is that we can tolerate, let alone ignore, what amounts to an unofficially-sanctioned human rights violation district right on the footsteps of the city&rsquos political, cultural, and economic heart?

We live in one of the wealthiest cities in the western hemisphere (22 billionaires call L.A. home) and in a U.S. state that has more billionaires than every country in the world except China. The city covers 469 square miles with a population of 4 million people, within a county that sprawls for 4,058 square miles and contains almost 10 million people, and Los Angeles can&rsquot meet the needs of less than one fifth of its homeless on any given night.

Despite this calamity, only weeks ago the City of Los Angeles effectively failed to declare this situation a national&mdashlet alone a civic&mdashemergency. Money has been pledged by City Council to address the matter ($100 million apparently) but no source for that funding has been identified and it seems that no analysis has been done to determine if that amount is even enough to stem the flow of the dispossessed onto our streets. While next year the city will budget almost $30 million dollars to pick up trash, clean alleys, and fix the city&rsquos sidewalks, Los Angeles&rsquos affordable housing fund, which in 2008 totaled $108 million, plunged to $26 million in 2014.

Let&rsquos start with a few reasonable insights that might explain these dynamics:

Criminalizing Homelessness is not a Housing Policy

To date, L.A.&rsquos fallback solution in dealing with the homeless is not to address the gap between our homeless population and available emergency housing from a social policy or urban planning perspective but to leave the matter to the Los Angeles Police Department, an organization that couldn&rsquot be more poorly prepared for the job. Having both declared a war on homelessness and signed an ordinance effectively criminalizing homeless encampments, our City has, de facto, made the LAPD the first line of response against the helpless. In June of 2015 the Los Angeles City Council approved to two ordinances allowing authorities to quickly dismantle encampments in parks and on sidewalks.

At a minimum this is negligence. L.A. spends $87 million of taxpayer money annually to issue citations for vagrancy and to harass and remove the homeless and their belongings from sight. In more extreme cases it seems like criminalizing the homeless is reckless if not inhumane&mdashwe allow an organization notorious for its historic brutality against a variety of disenfranchised groups to be pitted against the weak and the mentally unhealthy. In two recent incidents across the city, LAPD-led confrontations with the homeless have ended in tragic deaths that will in turn lead to multimillion-dollar lawsuits.

Imagine if this money was redirected towards the construction of single room occupancy (SRO) housing or spent on reconfiguring existing buildings and properties into emergency housing. For ten years of policing the homeless (or about $900 million dollars) could pay for about 40 SRO apartment buildings, each with one hundred 350-square-foot units. That is to say, we could house 15 percent of our current homeless population for the same amount of money we waste issuing tickets, harassing the indigent and arresting the abandoned and the discarded amongst us.
We Might All Be Homeless Soon Enough

Homelessness is our housing shortage in extremis. L.A.&rsquos ineffectual and discomforting approach to addressing homelessness is just the most visible aspect of a retrograde and, frankly, embarrassing lack of creative thinking around the challenges of providing decent affordable market rate (forget innovative) housing for an expanding population.

In a region that virtually pioneered the single family modern home, we can&rsquot seem to expand that vision to a larger social vision. Schindler, Neutra, Ain, and Entenza would be ashamed.

During the 40-year period following the end of World War II, some four million housing units were constructed in Southern California, with more than 1.5 million of those being multiunit buildings. That is to say: Roughly 100,000 units, both single family and multi-family, were built every year until the end of the 1970s. This is the same ageing housing stock we are partly continuing to recycle as monthly rental units or, increasingly, as nightly Airbnb bookings.

Today, a time when the state&rsquos population is projected to grow by 38.4 percent in the next decade, we are building less than one quarter to one half of the volume of postwar housing. According to the city&rsquos own Housing Needs Assessment, L.A. will need to produce about 5,000 units a year moving forward to solve the housing shortage. Instead, we are barely grinding out a thousand new units a year and of those most are not affordable to those making less than $40,000 a year.

While well over 50 percent of the population in Los Angeles now rents rather than owns (and on average those renters spend well over 40 percent of their income on rent) nothing is being done to meet current, let alone projected, housing needs. By 2025 Los Angeles&ndashLong Beach will average an estimated 6,450 people per square mile, the densest in the nation. The question that remains is not only how will we meet the housing needs for this increasingly dense urban landscape but, how many of us will also soon be one rent check away from the streets?

To his great credit, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to build 100,000 new housing units by 2021 to address the city&rsquos housing shortage.

Predictably, a new form of anti-growth and anti-density populist activism has emerged to check the mayor&rsquos plans. The group The Coalition to Preserve L.A. has raised the specter of a ballot measure that would create a total moratorium for any development project requiring a City Council vote in order to increase the number of housing units allowed on a particular site. Given how many urban redevelopment sites probably don&rsquot conform to higher density as of right now, this might translate into hundreds if not thousands of new units that won&rsquot get built annually. To make matters worse the outrage around density is not assessed in terms of facts on the ground, like actual population dynamics, but in terms of planning and building codes that were written a half century or more ago in support of a suburban vision of L.A. that went the way of the atomic age.

The emergence of the housing moratorium is not surprising given Southern California&rsquos long history of blissful suburban ignorance. With increasing public hysteria around density has been building since at least the 1990s, it is only the virulence and folly of this latest form of NIMBYism that is so deplorable. Under the guise of maintaining the &ldquointegrity&rdquo and &ldquocharacter&rdquo of communities (read preserving property values and excluding the less advantaged) the seemingly populist (but probably conservative and privately backed) The Coalition to Preserve L.A. is fighting hard against the Manhattanization of Hollywood under an oddly bureaucratic banner. Officially, their initiative is titled &ldquoRestrictions on General Plan Amendments, Required Review of General Plan Building Moratorium Initiative Ordinance,&rdquo a generic title for a piece of legislation that would quite likely exacerbate if not permanently extend L.A.&rsquos housing shortage crisis in perpetuity.

A Potemkin City or a City of Hope?

If there was an allegory here it might be that Los Angeles, as seen from the air by a visiting dignitary is now effectively a giant Potemkin Village, a decorated city that is teetering on several hollow constructs: firstly, that this is a globally significant metropolis capable of managing its growth competently (let alone staging an Olympic event or two) secondly, that the clichéd image of L.A. as a suburban paradise&mdashso well-abused to cover up its most intrinsic short comings: freeway congestion, social inequality, and unrest&mdashwill continue well in this next century and, lastly, that it is possible for the majority of the population to continue to pretend that the very evident homeless crisis that now bridges Skid Row and Venice can be wished or policed away.

The confluence of poor or postponed policy decisions, our inability to generate innovative and effective housing models along with a near maniacal public that won&rsquot accept growth and density as inevitabilities (and not just political options) spells out a future that looks increasingly miserable. Yet, there is hope. In early January of this year, California State Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León proposed to spend $2 billion dollars to build new permanent housing or rehab existing housing for mentally ill people living on the street. This is a step in the right direction but we desperately need more local solutions that are impactful, innovative, and effective.

People and Culture

Mexico’s population has grown remarkably since the mid–20th century. In 1910 Mexico had a population of about 15 million, and by 1940 the number had increased to only 20 million. After that, however, the rate of natural increase rose rapidly because of improvements in health care and food supplies. By 1960 Mexico had more than 34 million people, and by 1970 more than 58 million. The population surpassed 66 million in 1980, 81 million in 1990, and 97 million in 2000. It reached 100 million shortly after the turn of the 21st century.

More than half of the Mexican people live on the Mesa Central, which accounts for only 15 percent of the country’s territory. Parts of the Gulf Coastal Plain and the Southern Highlands, especially the Oaxaca Valley, are relatively densely settled, but southern Baja California, much of the Yucatán peninsula, and large parts of the Chiapas Highlands are sparsely populated.

The movement of people within Mexico has significantly altered the population distribution. Massive migrations of peasants from rural areas and small towns to cities began in the 1950s. Many have moved because they lacked land, job opportunities, and social amenities. More than four-fifths of the Mexican people now live in cities, compared with about half of the population in 1960. In the 1980s Mexico had more than 100 urban centers with at least 50,000 people. By the early 21st century well over 100 cities had populations in excess of 100,000, including some two dozen with more than 500,000 people.

In addition to internal migration, the number of individuals who have emigrated from Mexico to the United States has grown sharply since the 1970s. Each year tens of thousands of Mexicans make illegal attempts to enter the United States, largely in search of jobs and better opportunities. Mexicans also have become the largest group of legal immigrants to the United States, with nearly 170,000 obtaining lawful permanent resident status in the year 2017 alone. Though a large proportion of the emigrants have low educational levels and limited technical skills, an increasing number of highly qualified technicians and professionals have found their way north, causing a “brain drain” for Mexico.

Ethnic Groups

Mexico’s population comprises a number of ethnic groups. American Indians, the indigenous people of Mexico, account for less than one-tenth of the total. People of mixed Indian and European descent, called mestizos, account for about three-fifths of the population, making them the largest ethnic group. Mexicans of European heritage are a significant component of the other ethnic groups who constitute the remainder of the population.

When Europeans arrived in the early 1500s, the land that is now Mexico was inhabited by numerous American Indian peoples. They are thought to have migrated into the New World from Asia some 40,000 to 60,000 years ago by crossing a former land bridge in what is now the Bering Strait. Highly organized civilizations had occupied various regions of Mexico for at least 2,000 years before European contact.

In the early 1500s the great majority of the Indians lived in the Mesa Central. Most were under the general rule of the Aztec Empire. However, many separate cultural groups thrived in the region, among them speakers of Tarastec, Otomi, and Nahuatl. Outside the Mesa Central were numerous other cultural groups such as the Maya of the Yucatán and the Mixtec and Zapotec of Oaxaca. Spectacular Mayan ruins in the Yucatán are evidence of widespread urbanization and intensive agricultural productivity dating back to about ad 250. The Aztec cities of the Mesa Central were marvels of architectural design, irrigation technology, and social organization.

There are several areas where Indian peoples are still the dominant population group. Mayan peoples are the majority in the rural Yucatán and the Chiapas Highlands. In the Oaxaca Valley and in remoter parts of the Sierra Madre del Sur, Indian (primarily Zapotec) communities abound. Despite their decreasing numbers, enclaves of Indians also are still significant in isolated mountain areas on the eastern edge of the Mesa Central.

After the arrival of Europeans, intermarriage resulted in the mestizo population. Over the centuries mestizos became the dominant ethnic group. Northern Mexico is overwhelmingly mestizo in both urban and rural areas. Mexicans of European descent are largely concentrated in urban areas, especially Mexico City, and in the west.


Spanish is the official national language and the language of instruction in schools. Spanish speakers form the bulk of the population throughout most of the country. A relatively small percentage of Mexicans speak an Indian language, although more than 50 Indian languages are spoken in the country. They include Maya in the Yucatán and Huastec in northern Veracruz. Nahua, Tarastec, Totonac, Otomí, and Mazahua are spoken mainly on the Mesa Central. Zapotec, Mixtec, and Mazatec are spoken in Oaxaca and Tzeltal and Tzotzil in Chiapas.


The dominant religion in Mexico is Christianity. More than four-fifths of the people identify themselves as Roman Catholics. The Basilica of Guadalupe, the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint, is located in Mexico City. Hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages to the site each year. Protestants account for a small but growing segment of the population. Many Indian peoples combine traditional religious beliefs and practices with Roman Catholicism. For example, they may honor ancestors, mountain spirits, and other spiritual forces alongside Catholic saints.

The Arts

Mexican writers and artists have received worldwide acclaim for their creativity and innovation. Both folk and classical traditions are strong in their work.

Mexico’s most renowned writers have gained their reputations by dealing with questions of universal significance. Octavio Paz is widely considered to be the foremost poet of Latin America. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. The novelist and short-story writer Carlos Fuentes is honored throughout the world, and Juan José Arreola’s fantasies are widely admired. Among playwrights, Rodolfo Usigli, Luisa Josefina Hernández, and Emilio Carballido have made significant contributions to Mexican drama.

Perhaps the most widely recognized Mexican art form is the mural. The murals created by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco, depicting aspects of the Mexican Revolution, the country’s modernization, and class struggle, are legend. Orozco is also perhaps the most popular of Mexico’s folk artists. His animated plaster-of-paris skeleton characters are both satirical and lifelike. Other notable artists include Rufino Tamayo, Juan Soriano, and Frida Kahlo.

The musical style known as mariachi is distinctively Mexican. Mariachi music emerged in west-central Mexico in the late 1700s or early 1800s. Since the early 20th century mariachi performers typically have worn traje de charro, the attire of the cowboys of Jalisco state—matching uniforms with ornamented trousers, boots, wide bow ties, sombreros, and short jackets. Mariachi music features guitars, violins, and brass instruments, but electronic synthesizers and heavy downbeats can be added to produce nortec music. Accordions often accompany norteño bands. In addition to their own musical creations, many Mexicans enjoy Latin imports such as cumbia and danzón and various styles of rock and pop music.

A number of Mexican actors and filmmakers have gained international recognition. In 2014 Alfonso Cuarón became the first Mexican filmmaker to win an Academy Award for best director. He earned the honor for the science-fiction film Gravity (2013). He won the award again for the 2018 drama Roma. Alejandro González Iñárritu also twice received the award, for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) and The Revenant (2015). Salma Hayek was the first Mexican actress to be nominated for an Academy Award for best actress, for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in Frida (2002).

To encourage and help to disseminate Mexican art in all its forms, the federal government sponsors the National Institute of Fine Arts. Under its auspices are the programs of the National Symphony Orchestra, the Ballet Folklórico, and the Modern and Classical Ballet—all of which travel nationally and internationally to promote Mexican culture. Additionally, folk and popular culture receive support through government institutes, including the Native Institute, which seeks to preserve and encourage traditional craftsmanship.

Education and Social Welfare

Mexico has made great efforts to improve educational opportunities for its people. The federal government funds public schools that provide free primary and secondary education. As in most developing countries, the social infrastructure is much more established in cities than in the countryside, but the government has sought to provide primary schools to all rural areas. In addition, government programs have significantly improved adult literacy. In the early 21st century Mexico’s illiteracy rate was estimated to be about 5 percent, down from nearly 25 percent in 1970.

All children are required to attend school from ages 6 to 18. Since 2004 preschool has been mandatory as well. Although nearly three-quarters of all primary public schools are located in rural areas, such schools are the poorest in the country. Many internal migrants choose to move to cities because of the availability of better schools for their children. In general, private schools offer superior education compared to public schools. Therefore, families who can afford it send their children to private schools. This contributes to a socioeconomic imbalance that favors the middle and upper classes.

Mexico has more than 50 universities. They are concentrated in the largest cities, especially Mexico City. The most prestigious institutions of higher education include the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the College of Mexico, and the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education.

Along with education, the federal government plays a major role in providing medical care. Several government institutions operate hospitals. Subsidized medical and hospital care is available to all citizens. But as with education, public medicine generally is considered inferior to private care. Those who can afford it avail themselves of private physicians and hospitals.

Clinics, sometimes attended only by a nurse, are found throughout the country. Anything more than the most basic medical needs, however, must be handled in the cities. The quality of medical care varies throughout the country. Mexico City is by far the most important center for specialized medical treatment. The overall quality of medical care in Mexico lags behind that available in the United States and in Europe. Many Mexicans travel outside the country for more sophisticated surgeries and treatments.

Strong differences in health characteristics are found from region to region. In general, rural areas have much higher mortality and morbidity levels than do urban areas. Regions with high Indian populations—such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, and isolated portions of Guerrero and the mountainous eastern portions of the Mesa Central—have high death rates and generally low health standards. Significant differences also exist between social classes in the cities. For example, diseases associated with unsafe water supplies or air pollution disproportionately afflict the urban poor.

Another serious problem in Mexico is the lack of adequate housing. Within the cities the federal government has built multiunit housing projects. However, urban populations have increased more rapidly than new units can be constructed. Economic difficulties have also reduced the funds available for new construction. In virtually all urban areas, squatter settlements at the edges of cities are a major feature of the landscape. These informal settlements, or colonias, initially lack basic services such as running water and electricity, but most evolve over time into very modest but livable communities.

Major Cities

Mexico’s largest cities occupy a nearly continuous urban band that stretches diagonally across the center of the country, from Guadalajara in the west to Puebla in the east. In the middle of this band lies Mexico City, the country’s political, economic, social, and educational capital. In the early 21st century its metropolitan area was home to nearly one-fifth of Mexico’s population. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest urban area, is a chief market center and industrial producer. Puebla is a colonial city known for its distinctive regional cuisine and traditional forms of clothing, music, and dance. Monterrey, located in northeastern Mexico, is an important center of commerce and industry.

Cities near Mexico’s border with the United States have grown spectacularly since the 1970s, especially during the 1990s. Their growth was spurred largely by migrants looking for jobs in the nearby United States or in Mexican factories called maquiladoras. These factories import parts from the United States and Canada duty-free, assemble them, and export the finished products. Ciudad Juárez, facing El Paso, Texas, across the international boundary, and Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, California, have more than 1 million people each.

The Plague Reaches the Middle East

European observers were fascinated but not too worried when the Black Death struck the western rim of Central Asia and the Middle East. One recorded that "India was depopulated Tartary, Mesopotamia, Syria, Armenia were covered with dead bodies the Kurds fled in vain to the mountains." However, they would soon become participants rather than observers in the world's worst pandemic.

In "The Travels of Ibn Battuta," the great traveler noted that as of 1345, "the number that died daily in Damascus (Syria) had been two thousand," but the people were able to defeat the plague through prayer. In 1349, the holy city of Mecca was hit by the plague, likely brought in by infected pilgrims on the hajj.

The Moroccan historian Ibn Khaldun, whose parents died of the plague, wrote about the outbreak this way: "Civilization both in the East and the West was visited by a destructive plague which devastated nations and caused populations to vanish. It swallowed up many of the good things of civilization and wiped them out. Civilization decreased with the decrease of mankind. Cities and buildings were laid waste, roads and way signs were obliterated, settlements and mansions became empty, dynasties and tribes grew weak. The entire inhabited world changed."


The word state and its cognates in some other European languages (stato in Italian, estado in Spanish and Portuguese, état in French, Staat in German) ultimately derive from the Latin word status, meaning "condition, circumstances".

The English noun state in the generic sense "condition, circumstances" predates the political sense. It is introduced to Middle English c. 1200 both from Old French and directly from Latin.

With the revival of the Roman law in 14th-century Europe, the term came to refer to the legal standing of persons (such as the various "estates of the realm" – noble, common, and clerical), and in particular the special status of the king. The highest estates, generally those with the most wealth and social rank, were those that held power. The word also had associations with Roman ideas (dating back to Cicero) about the "status rei publicae", the "condition of public matters". In time, the word lost its reference to particular social groups and became associated with the legal order of the entire society and the apparatus of its enforcement. [8]

The early 16th-century works of Machiavelli (especially The Prince) played a central role in popularizing the use of the word "state" in something similar to its modern sense. [9] The contrasting of church and state still dates to the 16th century. The North American colonies were called "states" as early as the 1630s. The expression l'Etat, c'est moi ("I am the State") attributed to Louis XIV is probably apocryphal, recorded in the late 18th century. [10]

There is no academic consensus on the most appropriate definition of the state. [1] The term "state" refers to a set of different, but interrelated and often overlapping, theories about a certain range of political phenomena. [2] The act of defining the term can be seen as part of an ideological conflict, because different definitions lead to different theories of state function, and as a result validate different political strategies. [11] According to Jeffrey and Painter, "if we define the 'essence' of the state in one place or era, we are liable to find that in another time or space something which is also understood to be a state has different 'essential' characteristics". [12]

Different definitions of the state often place an emphasis either on the ‘means’ or the ‘ends’ of states. Means-related definitions include those by Max Weber and Charles Tilly, both of whom define the state according to its violent means. For Weber, the state "is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory" (Politics as a Vocation), while Tilly characterizes them as "coercion-wielding organisations" (Coercion, Capital, and European States).

Ends-related definitions emphasis instead the teleological aims and purposes of the state. Marxist thought regards the ends of the state as being the perpetuation of class domination in favour of the ruling class which, under the capitalist mode of production, is the bourgeoisie. The state exists to defend the ruling class's claims to private property and its capturing of surplus profits at the expense of the proletariat. Indeed, Marx claimed that "the executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie" (Communist Manifesto).

Liberal thought provides another possible teleology of the state. According to John Locke, the goal of the state/commonwealth was "the preservation of property" (Second Treatise on Government), with 'property' in Locke's work referring not only to personal possessions but also to one's life and liberty. On this account, the state provides the basis for social cohesion and productivity, creating incentives for wealth creation by providing guarantees of protection for one's life, liberty and personal property. Provision of public goods is considered by some such as Adam Smith [13] as a central function of the state, since these goods would otherwise be underprovided.

The most commonly used definition is Max Weber's, [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] which describes the state as a compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory. [3] [4] While economic and political philosophers have contested the monopolistic tendency of states, [19] Robert Nozick argues that the use of force naturally tends towards monopoly. [20]

Another commonly accepted definition of the state is the one given at the Montevideo Convention on Rights and Duties of States in 1933. It provides that "[t]he state as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population (b) a defined territory (c) government and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states." [21] And that "[t]he federal state shall constitute a sole person in the eyes of international law." [22]

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a state is "a. an organized political community under one government a commonwealth a nation. b. such a community forming part of a federal republic, esp the United States of America". [23]

Confounding the definition problem is that "state" and "government" are often used as synonyms in common conversation and even some academic discourse. According to this definition schema, the states are nonphysical persons of international law, governments are organizations of people. [24] The relationship between a government and its state is one of representation and authorized agency. [25]

Types of states Edit

States may be classified by political philosophers as sovereign if they are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Other states are subject to external sovereignty or hegemony where ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. [6] Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union. A federated state is a territorial and constitutional community forming part of a federation. [26] (Compare confederacies or confederations such as Switzerland.) Such states differ from sovereign states in that they have transferred a portion of their sovereign powers to a federal government. [23]

One can commonly and sometimes readily (but not necessarily usefully) classify states according to their apparent make-up or focus. The concept of the nation-state, theoretically or ideally co-terminous with a "nation", became very popular by the 20th century in Europe, but occurred rarely elsewhere or at other times. In contrast, some states have sought to make a virtue of their multi-ethnic or multinational character (Habsburg Austria-Hungary, for example, or the Soviet Union), and have emphasised unifying characteristics such as autocracy, monarchical legitimacy, or ideology. Other states, often fascist or authoritarian ones, promoted state-sanctioned notions of racial superiority. [27] Other states may bring ideas of commonality and inclusiveness to the fore: note the res publica of ancient Rome and the Rzeczpospolita of Poland-Lithuania which finds echoes in the modern-day republic. The concept of temple states centred on religious shrines occurs in some discussions of the ancient world. [28] Relatively small city-states, once a relatively common and often successful form of polity, [29] have become rarer and comparatively less prominent in modern times. Modern-day independent city-states include Vatican City, Monaco, and Singapore. Other city-states survive as federated states, like the present day German city-states, or as otherwise autonomous entities with limited sovereignty, like Hong Kong, Gibraltar and Ceuta. To some extent, urban secession, the creation of a new city-state (sovereign or federated), continues to be discussed in the early 21st century in cities such as London.

State and government Edit

A state can be distinguished from a government. The state is the organization while the government is the particular group of people, the administrative bureaucracy that controls the state apparatus at a given time. [30] [31] [32] That is, governments are the means through which state power is employed. States are served by a continuous succession of different governments. [32] States are immaterial and nonphysical social objects, whereas governments are groups of people with certain coercive powers. [33]

Each successive government is composed of a specialized and privileged body of individuals, who monopolize political decision-making, and are separated by status and organization from the population as a whole.

States and nation-states Edit

States can also be distinguished from the concept of a "nation", where "nation" refers to a cultural-political community of people. A nation-state refers to a situation where a single ethnicity is associated with a specific state.

State and civil society Edit

In the classical thought, the state was identified with both political society and civil society as a form of political community, while the modern thought distinguished the nation state as a political society from civil society as a form of economic society. [34] Thus in the modern thought the state is contrasted with civil society. [35] [36] [37]

Antonio Gramsci believed that civil society is the primary locus of political activity because it is where all forms of "identity formation, ideological struggle, the activities of intellectuals, and the construction of hegemony take place." and that civil society was the nexus connecting the economic and political sphere. Arising out of the collective actions of civil society is what Gramsci calls "political society", which Gramsci differentiates from the notion of the state as a polity. He stated that politics was not a "one-way process of political management" but, rather, that the activities of civil organizations conditioned the activities of political parties and state institutions, and were conditioned by them in turn. [38] [39] Louis Althusser argued that civil organizations such as church, schools, and the family are part of an "ideological state apparatus" which complements the "repressive state apparatus" (such as police and military) in reproducing social relations. [40] [41] [42]

Jürgen Habermas spoke of a public sphere that was distinct from both the economic and political sphere. [43]

Given the role that many social groups have in the development of public policy and the extensive connections between state bureaucracies and other institutions, it has become increasingly difficult to identify the boundaries of the state. Privatization, nationalization, and the creation of new regulatory bodies also change the boundaries of the state in relation to society. Often the nature of quasi-autonomous organizations is unclear, generating debate among political scientists on whether they are part of the state or civil society. Some political scientists thus prefer to speak of policy networks and decentralized governance in modern societies rather than of state bureaucracies and direct state control over policy. [44]

State symbols Edit

The earliest forms of the state emerged whenever it became possible to centralize power in a durable way. Agriculture and a settled population have been attributed as necessary conditions to form states. [45] [46] [47] [48] Certain types of agriculture are more conducive to state formation, such as grain (wheat, barley, millet), because they are suited to concentrated production, taxation, and storage. [45] [49] [50] [51] Agriculture and writing are almost everywhere associated with this process: agriculture because it allowed for the emergence of a social class of people who did not have to spend most of their time providing for their own subsistence, and writing (or an equivalent of writing, like Inca quipus) because it made possible the centralization of vital information. [52] Bureaucratization made expansion over large territories possible. [53]

The first known states were created in the Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China, Mesoamerica, and the Andes. It is only in relatively modern times that states have almost completely displaced alternative "stateless" forms of political organization of societies all over the planet. Roving bands of hunter-gatherers and even fairly sizable and complex tribal societies based on herding or agriculture have existed without any full-time specialized state organization, and these "stateless" forms of political organization have in fact prevailed for all of the prehistory and much of the history of the human species and civilization.

Since the late 19th century, virtually the entirety of the world's inhabitable land has been parcelled up into areas with more or less definite borders claimed by various states. Earlier, quite large land areas had been either unclaimed or uninhabited, or inhabited by nomadic peoples who were not organised as states. However, even within present-day states there are vast areas of wilderness, like the Amazon rainforest, which are uninhabited or inhabited solely or mostly by indigenous people (and some of them remain uncontacted). Also, there are so-called "failed states" which do not hold de facto control over all of their claimed territory or where this control is challenged. Currently the international community comprises around 200 sovereign states, the vast majority of which are represented in the United Nations. [ citation needed ]

Pre-historic stateless societies Edit

For most of human history, people have lived in stateless societies, characterized by a lack of concentrated authority, and the absence of large inequalities in economic and political power.

The anthropologist Tim Ingold writes:

It is not enough to observe, in a now rather dated anthropological idiom, that hunter gatherers live in 'stateless societies', as though their social lives were somehow lacking or unfinished, waiting to be completed by the evolutionary development of a state apparatus. Rather, the principal of their socialty, as Pierre Clastres has put it, is fundamentally against the state. [54]

Neolithic period Edit

During the Neolithic period, human societies underwent major cultural and economic changes, including the development of agriculture, the formation of sedentary societies and fixed settlements, increasing population densities, and the use of pottery and more complex tools. [55] [56]

Sedentary agriculture led to the development of property rights, domestication of plants and animals, and larger family sizes. It also provided the basis for the centralized state form [57] by producing a large surplus of food, which created a more complex division of labor by enabling people to specialize in tasks other than food production. [58] Early states were characterized by highly stratified societies, with a privileged and wealthy ruling class that was subordinate to a monarch. The ruling classes began to differentiate themselves through forms of architecture and other cultural practices that were different from those of the subordinate laboring classes. [59]

In the past, it was suggested that the centralized state was developed to administer large public works systems (such as irrigation systems) and to regulate complex economies. However, modern archaeological and anthropological evidence does not support this thesis, pointing to the existence of several non-stratified and politically decentralized complex societies. [60]

Ancient Eurasia Edit

Mesopotamia is generally considered to be the location of the earliest civilization or complex society, meaning that it contained cities, full-time division of labor, social concentration of wealth into capital, unequal distribution of wealth, ruling classes, community ties based on residency rather than kinship, long distance trade, monumental architecture, standardized forms of art and culture, writing, and mathematics and science. [61] [62] It was the world's first literate civilization, and formed the first sets of written laws. [63] [64]

Classical antiquity Edit

Although state-forms existed before the rise of the Ancient Greek empire, the Greeks were the first people known to have explicitly formulated a political philosophy of the state, and to have rationally analyzed political institutions. Prior to this, states were described and justified in terms of religious myths. [65]

Several important political innovations of classical antiquity came from the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. The Greek city-states before the 4th century granted citizenship rights to their free population, and in Athens these rights were combined with a directly democratic form of government that was to have a long afterlife in political thought and history.

Feudal state Edit

During Medieval times in Europe, the state was organized on the principle of feudalism, and the relationship between lord and vassal became central to social organization. Feudalism led to the development of greater social hierarchies. [66]

The formalization of the struggles over taxation between the monarch and other elements of society (especially the nobility and the cities) gave rise to what is now called the Standestaat, or the state of Estates, characterized by parliaments in which key social groups negotiated with the king about legal and economic matters. These estates of the realm sometimes evolved in the direction of fully-fledged parliaments, but sometimes lost out in their struggles with the monarch, leading to greater centralization of lawmaking and military power in his hands. Beginning in the 15th century, this centralizing process gives rise to the absolutist state. [67]

Modern state Edit

Cultural and national homogenization figured prominently in the rise of the modern state system. Since the absolutist period, states have largely been organized on a national basis. The concept of a national state, however, is not synonymous with nation state. Even in the most ethnically homogeneous societies there is not always a complete correspondence between state and nation, hence the active role often taken by the state to promote nationalism through emphasis on shared symbols and national identity. [68]

Charles Tilly argues that the number of total states in Western Europe declined rapidly from the Late Middle Ages to Early Modern Era during a process of state formation. [69] Other research has disputed whether such a decline took place. [70]

According to Hendrik Spruyt, the modern state is different from its predecessor polities in two main aspects: (1) Modern states have greater capacity to intervene in their societies, and (2) Modern states are buttressed by the principle of international legal sovereignty and the juridicial equivalence of states. [71] The two features began to emerge in the Late Middle Ages but the modern state form took centuries to come firmly into fruition. [71] Other aspects of modern states is that they tend to be organized as unified national polities, and that they have rational-legal bureaucracies. [72]

Sovereign equality did not become fully global until after World War II amid decolonization. [71] Adom Getachew writes that it was not until the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples that the international legal context for popular sovereignty was instituted. [73]

Earliest states Edit

Theories for the emergence of the earliest states emphasize grain agriculture and settled populations as necessary conditions. [62] Some argue that climate change led to a greater concentration of human populations around dwindling waterways. [62]

Modern state Edit

Hendrik Spruyt distinguishes between three prominent categories of explanations for the emergence of the modern state as a dominant polity: (1) Security-based explanations that emphasize the role of warfare, (2) Economy-based explanations that emphasize trade, property rights and capitalism as drivers behind state formation, and (3) Institutionalist theories that sees the state as an organizational form that is better able to resolve conflict and cooperation problems than competing political organizations. [71]

According to Philip Gorski and Vivek Swaroop Sharma, the "neo-Darwinian" framework for the emergence of sovereign states is the dominant explanation in the scholarship. [74] The neo-Darwininian framework emphasizes how the modern state emerged as the dominant organizational form through natural selection and competition. [74]

Most political theories of the state can roughly be classified into two categories. The first are known as "liberal" or "conservative" theories, which treat capitalism as a given, and then concentrate on the function of states in capitalist society. These theories tend to see the state as a neutral entity separated from society and the economy. Marxist and anarchist theories on the other hand, see politics as intimately tied in with economic relations, and emphasize the relation between economic power and political power. They see the state as a partisan instrument that primarily serves the interests of the upper class. [32]

Anarchist perspective Edit

Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state and hierarchies to be immoral, unnecessary and harmful and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy, a self-managed, self-governed society based on voluntary, cooperative institutions.

Anarchists believe that the state is inherently an instrument of domination and repression, no matter who is in control of it. Anarchists note that the state possesses the monopoly on the legal use of violence. Unlike Marxists, anarchists believe that revolutionary seizure of state power should not be a political goal. They believe instead that the state apparatus should be completely dismantled, and an alternative set of social relations created, which are not based on state power at all. [75] [76]

Various Christian anarchists, such as Jacques Ellul, have identified the State and political power as the Beast in the Book of Revelation. [77] [78]

Anarcho-capitalist perspective Edit

Anarcho-capitalists such as Murray Rothbard come to some of the same conclusions about the state apparatus as anarchists, but for different reasons. [79] The two principles that anarchists rely on most are consent and non-initiation. [80] Consent in anarcho-capitalist theory requires that individuals explicitly assent to the jurisdiction of the State excluding Lockean tacit consent. Consent may also create a right of secession which destroys any concept of government monopoly on force. [79] [81] Coercive monopolies are excluded by the non-initiation of force principle because they must use force in order to prevent others from offering the same service that they do. Anarcho-capitalists start from the belief that replacing monopolistic states with competitive providers is necessary from a normative, justice-based scenario. [80]

Anarcho-capitalists believe that the market values of competition and privatization can better provide the services provided by the state. Murray Rothbard argues in Power and Market that any and all government functions could better be fulfilled by private actors including: defense, infrastructure, and legal adjudication. [79]

Marxist perspective Edit

Marx and Engels were clear in that the communist goal was a classless society in which the state would have "withered away", replaced only by "administration of things". [82] Their views are found throughout their Collected Works, and address past or then extant state forms from an analytical and tactical viewpoint, but not future social forms, speculation about which is generally antithetical to groups considering themselves Marxist but who – not having conquered the existing state power(s) – are not in the situation of supplying the institutional form of an actual society. To the extent that it makes sense, there is no single "Marxist theory of state", but rather several different purportedly "Marxist" theories have been developed by adherents of Marxism. [83] [84] [85]

Marx's early writings portrayed the bourgeois state as parasitic, built upon the superstructure of the economy, and working against the public interest. He also wrote that the state mirrors class relations in society in general, acting as a regulator and repressor of class struggle, and as a tool of political power and domination for the ruling class. [86] The Communist Manifesto claimed that the state to be nothing more than "a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie. [83]

For Marxist theorists, the role of the modern bourgeois state is determined by its function in the global capitalist order. Ralph Miliband argued that the ruling class uses the state as its instrument to dominate society by virtue of the interpersonal ties between state officials and economic elites. For Miliband, the state is dominated by an elite that comes from the same background as the capitalist class. State officials therefore share the same interests as owners of capital and are linked to them through a wide array of social, economic, and political ties. [87]

Gramsci's theories of state emphasized that the state is only one of the institutions in society that helps maintain the hegemony of the ruling class, and that state power is bolstered by the ideological domination of the institutions of civil society, such as churches, schools, and mass media. [88]

Pluralism Edit

Pluralists view society as a collection of individuals and groups, who are competing for political power. They then view the state as a neutral body that simply enacts the will of whichever groups dominate the electoral process. [89] Within the pluralist tradition, Robert Dahl developed the theory of the state as a neutral arena for contending interests or its agencies as simply another set of interest groups. With power competitively arranged in society, state policy is a product of recurrent bargaining. Although pluralism recognizes the existence of inequality, it asserts that all groups have an opportunity to pressure the state. The pluralist approach suggests that the modern democratic state's actions are the result of pressures applied by a variety of organized interests. Dahl called this kind of state a polyarchy. [90]

Pluralism has been challenged on the ground that it is not supported by empirical evidence. Citing surveys showing that the large majority of people in high leadership positions are members of the wealthy upper class, critics of pluralism claim that the state serves the interests of the upper class rather than equitably serving the interests of all social groups. [91] [92]

Contemporary critical perspectives Edit

Jürgen Habermas believed that the base-superstructure framework, used by many Marxist theorists to describe the relation between the state and the economy, was overly simplistic. He felt that the modern state plays a large role in structuring the economy, by regulating economic activity and being a large-scale economic consumer/producer, and through its redistributive welfare state activities. Because of the way these activities structure the economic framework, Habermas felt that the state cannot be looked at as passively responding to economic class interests. [93] [94] [95]

Michel Foucault believed that modern political theory was too state-centric, saying "Maybe, after all, the state is no more than a composite reality and a mythologized abstraction, whose importance is a lot more limited than many of us think." He thought that political theory was focusing too much on abstract institutions, and not enough on the actual practices of government. In Foucault's opinion, the state had no essence. He believed that instead of trying to understand the activities of governments by analyzing the properties of the state (a reified abstraction), political theorists should be examining changes in the practice of government to understand changes in the nature of the state. [96] [97] [98] Foucault argues that it is technology that has created and made the state so elusive and successful, and that instead of looking at the state as something to be toppled we should look at the state as technological manifestation or system with many heads Foucault argues instead of something to be overthrown as in the sense of the Marxist and Anarchist understanding of the state. Every single scientific technological advance has come to the service of the state Foucault argues and it is with the emergence of the Mathematical sciences and essentially the formation of Mathematical statistics that one gets an understanding of the complex technology of producing how the modern state was so successfully created. Foucault insists that the Nation state was not a historical accident but a deliberate production in which the modern state had to now manage coincidentally with the emerging practice of the Police (Cameral science) 'allowing' the population to now 'come in' into jus gentium and civitas (Civil society) after deliberately being excluded for several millennia. [99] Democracy wasn't (the newly formed voting franchise) as is always painted by both political revolutionaries and political philosophers as a cry for political freedom or wanting to be accepted by the 'ruling elite', Foucault insists, but was a part of a skilled endeavour of switching over new technology such as Translatio imperii, Plenitudo potestatis and extra Ecclesiam nulla salus readily available from the past Medieval period, into mass persuasion for the future industrial 'political' population(deception over the population) in which the political population was now asked to insist upon itself "the president must be elected". Where these political symbol agents, represented by the pope and the president are now democratised. Foucault calls these new forms of technology Biopower [100] [101] [99] and form part of our political inheritance which he calls Biopolitics.

Heavily influenced by Gramsci, Nicos Poulantzas, a Greek neo-Marxist theorist argued that capitalist states do not always act on behalf of the ruling class, and when they do, it is not necessarily the case because state officials consciously strive to do so, but because the 'structural' position of the state is configured in such a way to ensure that the long-term interests of capital are always dominant. Poulantzas' main contribution to the Marxist literature on the state was the concept of 'relative autonomy' of the state. While Poulantzas' work on 'state autonomy' has served to sharpen and specify a great deal of Marxist literature on the state, his own framework came under criticism for its 'structural functionalism'. [ citation needed ]

Structural universe of the state or structural reality of the state Edit

It can be considered as a single structural universe: the historical reality that takes shape in societies characterized by a codified or crystallized right, with a power organized hierarchically and justified by the law that gives it authority, with a well-defined social and economic stratification, with an economic and social organization that gives the society precise organic characteristics, with one (or multiple) religious organizations, in justification of the power expressed by such a society and in support of the religious beliefs of individuals and accepted by society as a whole. Such a structural universe, evolves in a cyclical manner, presenting two different historical phases (a mercantile phase, or “open society”, and a feudal phase or “closed society”), with characteristics so divergent that it can qualify as two different levels of civilization which, however, are never definitive, but that alternate cyclically, being able, each of the two different levels, to be considered progressive (in a partisan way, totally independent of the real value of well-being, degrees of freedom granted, equality realized and a concrete possibility to achieve further progress of the level of civilization), even by the most cultured fractions, educated and intellectually more equipped than the various societies, of both historical phases. [102]

State autonomy within institutionalism Edit

State autonomy theorists believe that the state is an entity that is impervious to external social and economic influence, and has interests of its own. [103]

"New institutionalist" writings on the state, such as the works of Theda Skocpol, suggest that state actors are to an important degree autonomous. In other words, state personnel have interests of their own, which they can and do pursue independently of (at times in conflict with) actors in society. Since the state controls the means of coercion, and given the dependence of many groups in civil society on the state for achieving any goals they may espouse, state personnel can to some extent impose their own preferences on civil society. [104]

States generally rely on a claim to some form of political legitimacy in order to maintain domination over their subjects. [105] [106] [107]

Social Contract Theory Edit

Various social contract theories have been proffered to establish state legitimacy and to explain state formation. Common elements in these theories are a state of nature that incentivizes people to seek out the establishment of a state. Thomas Hobbes described the state of nature as "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short" (Leviathan, Chapters XIII–XIV). [108] Locke takes a more benign view of the state of nature and is unwilling to take as hard a stance on the degeneracy of the state of nature. He does agree that it is equally incapable of providing a high quality of life. Locke argues for inalienable human rights. One of the most significant rights for Locke was the right to property. He viewed it as a keystone right that was inadequately protected in the state of nature. [109] [110] Social contract theorists frequently argue for some level of natural rights. In order to protect their ability to exercise these rights, they are willing to give up some other rights to the state to allow it to establish governance. Ayn Rand argues that the only right sacrificed is the right to vigilante justice, thus individuals preserve full autonomy over their property. [111] Social contract theory then basis government legitimacy on the consent of the governed, but such legitimacy only extends as far as the governed have consented. This line of reasoning figures prominently in The United States Declaration of Independence.

Divine right of kings Edit

The rise of the modern day state system was closely related to changes in political thought, especially concerning the changing understanding of legitimate state power and control. Early modern defenders of absolutism (Absolute monarchy), such as Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin undermined the doctrine of the divine right of kings by arguing that the power of kings should be justified by reference to the people. Hobbes in particular went further to argue that political power should be justified with reference to the individual (Hobbes wrote in the time of the English Civil War), not just to the people understood collectively. Both Hobbes and Bodin thought they were defending the power of kings, not advocating for democracy, but their arguments about the nature of sovereignty were fiercely resisted by more traditional defenders of the power of kings, such as Sir Robert Filmer in England, who thought that such defenses ultimately opened the way to more democratic claims. [ citation needed ]

Rational-legal authority Edit

Max Weber identified three main sources of political legitimacy in his works. The first, legitimacy based on traditional grounds is derived from a belief that things should be as they have been in the past, and that those who defend these traditions have a legitimate claim to power. The second, legitimacy based on charismatic leadership, is devotion to a leader or group that is viewed as exceptionally heroic or virtuous. The third is rational-legal authority, whereby legitimacy is derived from the belief that a certain group has been placed in power in a legal manner, and that their actions are justifiable according to a specific code of written laws. Weber believed that the modern state is characterized primarily by appeals to rational-legal authority. [112] [113] [114]

Some states are often labeled as "weak" or "failed". In David Samuels's words ". a failed state occurs when sovereignty over claimed territory has collapsed or was never effectively at all". [115] Authors like Samuels and Joel S. Migdal have explored the emergence of weak states, how they are different from Western "strong" states and its consequences to the economic development of developing countries.

Early state formation

To understand the formation of weak states, Samuels compares the formation of European states in the 1600s with the conditions under which more recent states were formed in the twentieth century. In this line of argument, the state allows a population to resolve a collective action problem, in which citizens recognize the authority of the state and this exercise the power of coercion over them. This kind of social organization required a decline in legitimacy of traditional forms of ruling (like religious authorities) and replaced them with an increase in the legitimacy of depersonalized rule an increase in the central government's sovereignty and an increase in the organizational complexity of the central government (bureaucracy).

The transition to this modern state was possible in Europe around 1600 thanks to the confluence of factors like the technological developments in warfare, which generated strong incentives to tax and consolidate central structures of governance to respond to external threats. This was complemented by the increasing on the production of food (as a result of productivity improvements), which allowed to sustain a larger population and so increased the complexity and centralization of states. Finally, cultural changes challenged the authority of monarchies and paved the way to the emergence of modern states. [116]

The conditions that enabled the emergence of modern states in Europe were different for other countries that started this process later. As a result, many of these states lack effective capabilities to tax and extract revenue from their citizens, which derives in problems like corruption, tax evasion and low economic growth. Unlike the European case, late state formation occurred in a context of limited international conflict that diminished the incentives to tax and increase military spending. Also, many of these states emerged from colonization in a state of poverty and with institutions designed to extract natural resources, which have made more difficult to form states. European colonization also defined many arbitrary borders that mixed different cultural groups under the same national identities, which has made difficult to build states with legitimacy among all the population, since some states have to compete for it with other forms of political identity. [116]

As a complement of this argument, Migdal gives a historical account on how sudden social changes in the Third World during the Industrial Revolution contributed to the formation of weak states. The expansion of international trade that started around 1850, brought profound changes in Africa, Asia and Latin America that were introduced with the objective of assure the availability of raw materials for the European market. These changes consisted in: i) reforms to landownership laws with the objective of integrate more lands to the international economy, ii) increase in the taxation of peasants and little landowners, as well as collecting of these taxes in cash instead of in kind as was usual up to that moment and iii) the introduction of new and less costly modes of transportation, mainly railroads. As a result, the traditional forms of social control became obsolete, deteriorating the existing institutions and opening the way to the creation of new ones, that not necessarily lead these countries to build strong states. [117] This fragmentation of the social order induced a political logic in which these states were captured to some extent by "strongmen", who were capable to take advantage of the above-mentioned changes and that challenge the sovereignty of the state. As a result, these decentralization of social control impedes to consolidate strong states. [118]

Notes Edit

  1. ^ ab Cudworth et al., 2007: p. 1
  2. ^ ab Barrow, 1993: pp. 9–10
  3. ^ ab Cudworth et al., 2007: p. 95
  4. ^ ab Salmon, 2008: p. 54Archived 15 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^"Stateless Society |".
  6. ^ ab
  7. Marek, Krystyna (1954). Identity and Continuity of States in Public International Law. Library Droz. p. 178. ISBN978-2-600-04044-0 . It has been thought necessary to quote the Lytton Report at such length since it is probably the fullest and most exhaustive description of an allegedly independent, by 'actually' dependent, i.e. Puppet State
  8. ^
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  • Mann, Michael (1994). "The Autonomous Power of the State: Its Origins, Mechanisms, and Results". In Hall, John A. (ed.). The State: critical concepts, Volume 1. Taylor & Francis. ISBN978-0-415-08680-6 .
  • Oppenheimer, Franz (1975). The state. Black Rose Books. ISBN978-0-919618-59-6 .
  • Poulantzas, Nicos & Camiller, Patrick (2000). State, power, socialism. Verso. ISBN978-1-85984-274-4 .
  • Sanders, John T. & Narveson, Jan (1996). For and against the state: new philosophical readings. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN978-0-8476-8165-5 .
  • Scott, James C. (1998). Seeing like a state: how certain schemes to improve the human condition have failed . Yale University Press. ISBN978-0-300-07815-2 .
  • Taylor, Michael (1982). Community, anarchy, and liberty. Cambridge University Press. ISBN978-0-521-27014-4 .
  • Zippelius, Reinhold (2010). Allgemeine Staatslehre, Politikwissenschaft (16th ed.). C.H. Beck, Munich. ISBN978-3406603426 .
  • Uzgalis, William (5 May 2007). "John Locke". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Quotations related to State at Wikiquote

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Carpenters were highly skilled and considered to be elite tradesmen. To become a carpenter, it was usually necessary to join a guild as an apprentice and learn the craft. A knowledge of math, woodworking and the use of tools was required for all carpenters.

Queen and nobles often sought the finest carpenters and kept them retained on their staffs as specialists. Furnishing castles and estates was not only done for decorative purposes, but also to demonstrate prestige and status to visitors. Thus, a master carpenter was always in demand and could earn high wages.

The metalsmith, sometimes called blacksmith, had to first make his tools before he could make metal parts such as horseshoes, nails and door hinges.

The blacksmith would also work as an armorer for the queen or count - making swords, shields and armor.

#3 Buying Life Insurance upon Residency Graduation

Due to affordability issues during residency, or simply due to marrying or having children at that stage of life, many new attendings will have a need to buy insurance. The purchase of life insurance, done properly, really only needs to be done once or twice in your life, but this is one of those times. What you choose to do at this stage depends on what life insurance you already have in place. If you are still healthy and haven't picked up any bad habits, like smoking or rock climbing, you still have lots of options.

If you sucked it up and just bought a huge, long-term policy as a resident, well, at least that is now a tiny percentage of your income.

If you decided to partially insure yourself with a smaller, 30-year policy, you now have the option to buy an additional policy or two and keep the old one in place.

If you bought a shorter-term large policy, now is probably the time to replace it with a longer-term policy.

If you have become ill, or become SCUBA certified, then you have more of a dilemma. You can wait until you are more insurable (being cancer-free for a few years may lower your premiums for instance or you can stop going SCUBA diving for a while). You can also simply pay more for a policy since you now have the means to pay the premiums.

India may witness highest voting turnout since 1947: SBI study

Going by the voter turnout trend over the years, Andhra, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka have registered highest ever voter turnout since 1962 or in the last 57 years after independence.


New Delhi: India may witness the highest ever voter turnout since Independence in the ongoing elections, if there is a marginal increase in voting during the remaining three phases, a research report by country's largest bank SBI said Thursday. About 900 million are expected to cast their votes in the ongoing seven-phase general elections to be completed on May 19. The country will vote in the fifth phase on May 6. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.

After four phases of elections, the voting percentage is 67 per cent, comparable to 67.6 per cent in 2014, said SBI Ecowrap report.

"We believe that if the current trend continues, this year's turnout rate may cross the previous turnout, it may, in fact, be the highest since independence. Hence a 1 per cent incremental turnout from current trend of 67 per cent after 4 phases could make it the largest turnout since 1947," the report said.

It further said the 2019 general elections are unique in many aspects.

Going by the voter turnout trend over the years, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Karnataka have registered highest ever voter turnout since 1962 or in the last 57 years after independence.

Similarly, Chhattisgarh has seen a 15 years and Maharashtra a 30 years high in voter turnout.

"This particularly suggests that now citizens are more aware about their rights and responsibility, thanks to relentless campaign by multiple stakeholders starting from election commission to civil societies who are encouraging all to cast their vote," said Ecowrap.

The SBI's research report also notes that young, elderly and women all seems to taking part in Indian elections.

It said states like Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh (partial) and Rajasthan (partial), where the percentage of younger voters (aged between 18-25) on an average is more than national average, there is a 3.3 per cent increase in voter turnout.

States like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, where the elderly population is higher than national average, have also witnessed an increase in voter turnout on an average by 1.8 per cent.

Improvement in women voter turnout could be attributed to measures like Jan-Dhan, Mudra, Ujjwala schemes which lead to women empowerment, it added.

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Cambodia Department of State Background

Cambodia is located on mainland Southeast Asia between Thailand to the west and north and Vietnam to the east. It shares a land border with Laos in the northeast. Cambodia has a sea coast on the Gulf of Thailand. The Dangrek Mountain range in the north and Cardamom Mountains in the southwest form natural boundaries. Principal physical features include the Tonle Sap lake and the Mekong and Bassac Rivers. Cambodia remains one of the most heavily forested countries in the region, although deforestation continues at an alarming rate.


Ninety percent of Cambodia's population is ethnically Cambodian. Other ethnic groups include Chinese, Vietnamese, hill tribes, Chams, and Laotian. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of 95% of the population Islam, animism, and Christianity also are practiced. Khmer is the official language and is spoken by more than 95% of the population. Some French is still spoken in urban areas, and English is increasingly popular as a second language.

Angkor Wat
Over a period of 300 years, between 900 and 1200 AD, the Khmer Kingdom of Angkor produced some of the world's most magnificent architectural masterpieces on the northern shore of the Tonle Sap, near the present town of Siem Reap. The Angkor area stretches 15 miles east to west and 5 miles north to south. Some 72 major temples or other buildings dot the area. Suryavarman II built the principal temple, Angkor Wat, between 1112 and 1150. With walls nearly one-half mile on each side, Angkor Wat portrays the Hindu cosmology with the central towers representing Mount Meru, home of the gods the outer walls, the mountains enclosing the world and the moat, the oceans beyond. Angkor Thom, the capital city built after the Cham sack of 1177, is surrounded by a 300-foot wide moat. Construction of Angkor Thom coincided with a change from Hinduism to Buddhism. Temples were altered to display images of the Buddha, and Angkor Wat became a major Buddhist shrine.

During the 15th century, nearly all of Angkor was abandoned after Siamese attacks. The exception was Angkor Wat, which remained a shrine for Buddhist pilgrims. The great city and temples remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century when French archaeologists began a long restoration process. France established the Angkor Conservancy in 1908 to direct restoration of the Angkor complex. For the next 64 years, the conservancy worked to clear away the forest, repair foundations, and install drains to protect the buildings from their most insidious enemy: water. After 1953, the conservancy became a joint project of the French and Cambodian Governments. Some temples were carefully taken apart stone by stone and reassembled on concrete foundations. Tourism is now the second-largest foreign currency earner in Cambodia's economy, and Angkor Wat has helped attract international tourism to the country.


Although Cambodia had a rich and powerful past under the Hindu state of Funan and the Kingdom of Angkor, by the mid-19th century the country was on the verge of dissolution. After repeated requests for French assistance, a protectorate was established in 1863. By 1884, Cambodia was a virtual colony soon after it was made part of the Indochina Union with Annam, Tonkin, Cochin-China, and Laos. France continued to control the country even after the start of World War II through its Vichy government. In 1945, the Japanese dissolved the colonial administration, and King Norodom Sihanouk declared an independent, anti-colonial government under Prime Minister Son Ngoc Thanh in March 1945. The Allies deposed this government in October. In January 1953, Sihanouk named his father as regent and went into self-imposed exile, refusing to return until Cambodia gained genuine independence.

Full Independence
Sihanouk's actions hastened the French Government's July 4, 1953 announcement of its readiness to grant independence, which came on November 9, 1953. The situation remained uncertain until a 1954 conference was held in Geneva to settle the French-Indochina war. All participants, except the United States and the State of Vietnam, associated themselves (by voice) with the final declaration. The Cambodian delegation agreed to the neutrality of the three Indochinese states but insisted on a provision in the cease-fire agreement that left the Cambodian Government free to call for outside military assistance should the Viet Minh or others threaten its territory.

Neutral Cambodia
Neutrality was the central element of Cambodian foreign policy during the 1950s and 1960s. By the mid-1960s, parts of Cambodia's eastern provinces were serving as bases for North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong (NVA/VC) forces operating against South Vietnam, and the port of Sihanoukville was being used to supply them. As NVA/VC activity grew, the United States and South Vietnam became concerned, and in 1969, the United States began a series of air raids against NVA/VC base areas inside Cambodia.

Throughout the 1960s, domestic politics polarized. Opposition grew within the middle class and among leftists, including Paris-educated leaders such as Son Sen, Ieng Sary, and Saloth Sar (later known as Pol Pot), who led an insurgency under the clandestine Communist Party of Kampuchea (CPK).

The Khmer Republic and the War
In March 1970, Gen. Lon Nol deposed Prince Sihanouk and assumed power. On October 9, the Cambodian monarchy was abolished, and the country was renamed the Khmer Republic. Hanoi rejected the new republic's request for the withdrawal of NVA/VC troops and began to reinfiltrate some of the 2,000-4,000 Cambodians who had gone to North Vietnam in 1954. They became a cadre in the insurgency. The United States moved to provide material assistance to the new government's armed forces, which were engaged against both the Khmer Rouge insurgents and NVA/VC forces. In April 1970, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia in a campaign aimed at destroying NVA/VC base areas. Although a considerable quantity of equipment was seized or destroyed, NVA/VC forces proved elusive and moved deeper into Cambodia. NVA/VC units overran many Cambodian Army positions while the Khmer Rouge expanded their smallscale attacks on lines of communication.

The Khmer Republic's leadership was plagued by disunity among its members, the problems of transforming a 30,000-man army into a national combat force of more than 200,000 men, and spreading corruption. The insurgency continued to grow, with supplies and military support provided by North Vietnam. But inside Cambodia, Pol Pot and Ieng Sary asserted their dominance over the Vietnamese-trained communists, many of whom were purged. At the same time, the Khmer Rouge forces became stronger and more independent of their Vietnamese patrons. By 1974, Lon Nol's control was reduced to small enclaves around the cities and main transportation routes. More than 2 million refugees from the war lived in Phnom Penh and other cities.

On New Year's Day 1975, communist troops launched an offensive that, in 117 days of the hardest fighting of the war, destroyed the Khmer Republic. Simultaneous attacks around the perimeter of Phnom Penh pinned down Republican forces, while other Khmer Rouge units overran fire bases controlling the vital lower Mekong resupply route. A U.S.-funded airlift of ammunition and rice ended when Congress refused additional aid for Cambodia. Phnom Penh surrendered on April 17, 1975--5 days after the U.S. mission evacuated Cambodia.

Democratic Kampuchea
Many Cambodians welcomed the arrival of peace, but the Khmer Rouge soon turned Cambodia--which it called Democratic Kampuchea (DK)--into a land of horror. Immediately after its victory, the new regime ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns, sending the entire urban population out into the countryside to till the land. Thousands starved or died of disease during the evacuation. Many of those forced to evacuate the cities were resettled in new villages, which lacked food, agricultural implements, and medical care. Many starved before the first harvest, and hunger and malnutrition--bordering on starvation--were constant during those years. Those who resisted or who questioned orders were immediately executed, as were most military and civilian leaders of the former regime who failed to disguise their pasts.

Within the CPK, the Paris-educated leadership--Pol Pot, Ieng Sary, Nuon Chea, and Son Sen--was in control, and Pol Pot was made Prime Minister. Prince Sihanouk was put under virtual house arrest. The new government sought to restructure Cambodian society completely. Remnants of the old society were abolished, and Buddhism suppressed.

Agriculture was collectivized, and the surviving part of the industrial base was abandoned or placed under state control. Cambodia had neither a currency nor a banking system. The regime controlled every aspect of life and reduced everyone to the level of abject obedience through terror. Torture centers were established, and detailed records were kept of the thousands murdered there. Public executions of those considered unreliable or with links to the previous government were common. Few succeeded in escaping the military patrols and fleeing the country. Solid estimates of the numbers who died between 1975 and 1979 are not available, but it is likely that hundreds of thousands were brutally executed by the regime. Hundreds of thousands more died of starvation and disease--both under the Khmer Rouge and during the Vietnamese invasion in 1978. Estimates of the dead range from 1.7 million to 3 million, out of a 1975 population estimated at 7.3 million.

Democratic Kampuchea's relations with Vietnam and Thailand worsened rapidly as a result of border clashes and ideological differences. While communist, the CPK was fiercely anti-Vietnamese, and most of its members who had lived in Vietnam were purged. Democratic Kampuchea established close ties with China, and the Cambodian-Vietnamese conflict became part of the Sino-Soviet rivalry, with Moscow backing Vietnam. Border clashes worsened when Democratic Kampuchea's military attacked villages in Vietnam.

In mid-1978, Vietnamese forces invaded Cambodia, advancing about 30 miles before the arrival of the rainy season. In December 1978, Vietnam announced formation of the Kampuchean United Front for National Salvation (KUFNS) under Heng Samrin, a former DK division commander. It was composed of Khmer communists who had remained in Vietnam after 1975 and officials from the eastern sector--like Heng Samrin and Hun Sen--who had fled to Vietnam from Cambodia in 1978. In late December 1978, Vietnamese forces launched a full invasion of Cambodia, capturing Phnom Penh on January 7, 1979 and driving the remnants of Democratic Kampuchea's army westward toward Thailand.

The Vietnamese Occupation
On January 10, 1979, the Vietnamese installed Heng Samrin as head of state in the new People's Republic of Kampuchea (PRK). The Vietnamese Army continued its pursuit of Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge forces. At least 600,000 Cambodians displaced during the Pol Pot era and the Vietnamese invasion began streaming to the Thai border in search of refuge.

The international community responded with a massive relief effort coordinated by the United States through the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Program. More than $400 million was provided between 1979 and 1982, of which the United States contributed nearly $100 million. At one point, more than 500,000 Cambodians were living along the Thai-Cambodian border and more than 100,000 in holding centers inside Thailand.

Vietnam's occupation army of as many as 200,000 troops controlled the major population centers and most of the countryside from 1979 to September 1989. The Heng Samrin regime's 30,000 troops were plagued by poor morale and widespread desertion. Resistance to Vietnam's occupation continued. A large portion of the Khmer Rouge's military forces eluded Vietnamese troops and established themselves in remote regions. The non-communist resistance, consisting of a number of groups which had been fighting the Khmer Rouge after 1975--including Lon Nol-era soldiers--coalesced in 1979-80 to form the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces (KPNLAF), which pledged loyalty to former Prime Minister Son Sann, and Moulinaka (Movement pour la Liberation Nationale de Kampuchea), loyal to Prince Sihanouk. In 1979, Son Sann formed the Khmer People's National Liberation Front (KPNLF) to lead the political struggle for Cambodia's independence. Prince Sihanouk formed his own organization, National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia (FUNCINPEC), and its military arm, the Armee Nationale Sihanoukienne (ANS) in 1981.

Within Cambodia, Vietnam had only limited success in establishing its client Heng Samrin regime, which was dependent on Vietnamese advisers at all levels. Security in some rural areas was tenuous, and major transportation routes were subject to interdiction by resistance forces. The presence of Vietnamese throughout the country and their intrusion into nearly all aspects of Cambodian life alienated much of the populace. The settlement of Vietnamese nationals, both former residents and new immigrants, further exacerbated anti-Vietnamese sentiment. Reports of the numbers involved vary widely, with some estimates as high as 1 million. By the end of the decade, Khmer nationalism began to reassert itself against the traditional Vietnamese enemy. In 1986, Hanoi claimed to have begun withdrawing part of its occupation forces. At the same time, Vietnam continued efforts to strengthen its client regime, the PRK, and its military arm, the Kampuchean People's Revolutionary Armed Forces (KPRAF). These withdrawals continued over the next 2 years, and the last Vietnamese troops left Cambodia in September 1989.

Peace Efforts
From July 30 to August 30, 1989, representatives of 18 countries, the four Cambodian parties, and the UN Secretary General met in Paris in an effort to negotiate a comprehensive settlement. They hoped to achieve those objectives seen as crucial to the future of post-occupation Cambodia--a verified withdrawal of the remaining Vietnamese occupation troops, the prevention of the return to power of the Khmer Rouge, and genuine self-determination for the Cambodian people. A comprehensive settlement was agreed upon on August 28, 1990.

Cambodia's Renewal
On October 23, 1991, the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive settlement giving the UN full authority to supervise a cease-fire, repatriate the displaced Khmer along the border with Thailand, disarm and demobilize the factional armies, and prepare the country for free and fair elections. Prince Sihanouk, President of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC), and other members of the SNC returned to Phnom Penh in November 1991, to begin the resettlement process in Cambodia. The UN Advance Mission for Cambodia (UNAMIC) was deployed at the same time to maintain liaison among the factions and begin demining operations to expedite the repatriation of approximately 370,000 Cambodians from Thailand.

On March 16, 1992, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) arrived in Cambodia to begin implementation of the UN Settlement Plan. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees began fullscale repatriation in March 1992. UNTAC grew into a 22,000-strong civilian and military peacekeeping force to conduct free and fair elections for a constituent assembly.

Over 4 million Cambodians (about 90% of eligible voters) participated in the May 1993 elections, although the Khmer Rouge or Party of Democratic Kampuchea (PDK), whose forces were never actually disarmed or demobilized, barred some people from participating. Prince Ranariddh's FUNCINPEC Party was the top vote recipient with a 45.5% vote, followed by Hun Sen's Cambodian People's Party and the Buddhist Liberal Democratic Party, respectively. FUNCINPEC then entered into a coalition with the other parties that had participated in the election. The parties represented in the 120-member assembly proceeded to draft and approve a new constitution, which was promulgated September 24, 1993. It established a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of a constitutional monarchy, with the former Prince Sihanouk elevated to King. Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became First and Second Prime Ministers, respectively, in the Royal Cambodian Government (RGC). The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights.

On October 4, 2004, the Cambodian National Assembly ratified an agreement with the United Nations on the establishment of a tribunal to try senior leaders responsible for the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge. Donor countries have pledged the $43 million international share of the three-year tribunal budget, while the Cambodian government?s share of the budget is $13.3 million. The tribunal plans to begin trials of senior Khmer Rouge leaders in 2007.


Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy, and its constitution provides for a multiparty democracy. The Royal Government of Cambodia, formed on the basis of elections internationally recognized as free and fair, was established on September 24, 1993.

The executive branch comprises the king, who is head of state an appointed prime minister six deputy prime ministers, 14 senior ministers, 28 ministers, 135 secretaries of state, and 146 undersecretaries of state. The bicameral legislature consists of a 123-member elected National Assembly and a 61-member Senate. The judiciary includes a Supreme Court and lower courts. Administrative subdivisions are 20 provinces and 4 municipalities.

Compared to its recent past, the 1993-2003 period was one of relative stability for Cambodia. However, political violence continued to be a problem. In 1997, factional fighting between supporters of Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen broke out, resulting in more than 100 FUNCINPEC deaths and a few Cambodian People's Party (CPP) casualties. Some FUNCINPEC leaders were forced to flee the country, and Hun Sen took over as Prime Minister. FUNCINPEC leaders returned to Cambodia shortly before the 1998 National Assembly elections. In those elections, the CPP received 41% of the vote, FUNCINPEC 32%, and the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP) 13%. Due to political violence, intimidation, and lack of media access, many international observers judged the elections to have been seriously flawed. The CPP and FUNCINPEC formed another coalition government, with CPP the senior partner.

Cambodia's first commune elections were held in February 2002. These elections to select chiefs and members of 1,621 commune (municipality) councils also were marred by political violence and fell short of being free and fair by international standards. The election results were largely acceptable to the major parties, though procedures for the new local councils have not been fully implemented.

National Assembly elections in July 2003 failed to give any one party the two-thirds majority of seats required under the constitution to form a government. The CPP secured 73 seats, FUNCINPEC 26 seats, and the SRP 24 seats. As a result, the incumbent CPP-led administration continued in power in a caretaker role pending the formation of a coalition with the required number of National Assembly seats to form a government.

On July 8, 2004, the National Assembly approved a controversial addendum to the constitution in order to require a vote on a new government and to end the nearly year-long political stalemate. The vote took place on July 15, and the National Assembly approved a new coalition government comprised of the CPP and FUNCINPEC, with Hun Sen as Prime Minister and Prince Norodom Ranariddh as President of the National Assembly. The SRP and representatives of civil society non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have asserted the addendum was unconstitutional. The SRP boycotted the vote and currently is in opposition. In February 2005, the National Assembly voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of three opposition parliamentarians, including SRP leader Sam Rainsy, in connection with lawsuits filed against them by members of the ruling parties. One of the MPs, Cheam Channy, was arrested and later tried, while Sam Rainsy went into self-imposed exile. In October 2005, the government arrested critics of Cambodia?s border treaties with Vietnam and later detained four human rights activists following International Human Rights Day in December. In January 2006, the political climate improved with the Prime Minister?s decision to release all political detainees and permit Sam Rainsy?s return to Cambodia. Following public criticism by Hun Sen, Prince Ranariddh resigned as President of the National Assembly in March 2006.

On October 7, 2004, King Sihanouk abdicated the throne due to illness. On October 14, the Cambodian Throne Council selected Prince Norodom Sihamoni to succeed Sihanouk as King. King Norodom Sihamoni officially ascended the throne in a coronation ceremony on October 29, 2004.

Cambodia's second commune elections were held in April 2007, and there was little in the way of pre-election violence that preceded the 2002 and 2003 elections. The CPP won 61% of the seats, the SRP won 25.5%, and FUNCINEC and Prince Ranariddh?s new party combined won close to 6%. National elections are scheduled for 2008.

The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights, including freedom of the press. While limitations still exist on mass media, freedom of the press has improved markedly in Cambodia since the adoption of the 1993 constitution, which grants a certain degree of freedom to the media. The written press, while considered largely free, has ties to individual political parties or factions and does not seek to provide objective reporting or analysis. Cambodia has an estimated 20 Khmer-language newspapers that are published regularly. Of these, eight are published daily. There are two major English-language newspapers, one of which is produced daily. Broadcast media, in contrast to print, is more closely controlled. It tends to be politically affiliated, and access for opposition parties is extremely limited.

Principal Government Officials
King and Head of State--His Majesty Norodom Sihamoni
Prime Minister and Head of Government--Hun Sen
President of the Senate--Chea Sim
President of National Assembly--Heng Samrin

Cambodia's embassy in the United States is located at 4530 16th Street NW, Washington DC 20011 tel: (202) 726-7742 fax: (202) 726-8381.


Since 2004, the economy?s growth rate has averaged over 10%, with the garment sector and the growing tourism industry driving the growth. Inflation steadily increased from 1.3% in 2003 to 6.7% in 2005 for 2006, it was 5%. The economy is heavily dollarized the dollar and riel can be used interchangeably. Cambodia remains heavily reliant on foreign assistance--about half of the central government budget depends on donor assistance. Cambodia has had trouble attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), due in part to the unreliable legal environment. FDI was recorded at $142 million in 2000 and gradually dropped to $121 million in 2004. In 2005, for the first time in five years, FDI increased to $216 million.

Manufacturing output is concentrated in the garment sector, which started to expand rapidly in the mid-1990s and now employs more than 250,000 workers. Garments dominate Cambodia?s exports, especially to the U.S., and accounted for over $2 billion in revenues in 2005, a record high. Since the end of the Multi-Fiber Arrangement in 2005, Cambodia has maintained exports, against expectations. The other main foreign currency earner is tourism in 2004, visitors topped one million for the first time, many of whom visited the ancient Angkor Wat complex at Siem Reap. The service sector is heavily concentrated in trading activities and catering-related services. Exploratory drilling for oil and natural gas began in 2005 and although there are no clear figures, oil production could more than double Cambodia's revenue.

In spite of recent progress, the Cambodian economy continues to suffer from the legacy of decades of war and internal strife. Per capita income and education levels are lower than in most neighboring countries. Infrastructure remains inadequate. Most rural households depend on agriculture and its related subsectors. Corruption and lack of legal protections for investors continue to hamper economic opportunity and competitiveness. The economy also has a poor track record in creating jobs in the formal sector, and the challenge will only become more daunting in the future since 50% of the population is under 20 years of age and large numbers of job seekers will begin to enter the work force each year over the next 10 years.


Cambodia has established diplomatic relations with most countries, including the United States. The country is a member of most major international organizations, including the UN and its specialized agencies, and became a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1998.

Cambodia is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). On October 13, 2004, Cambodia became the 148th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).


Between 1955 and 1963, the United States provided $409.6 million in economic grant aid and $83.7 million in military assistance. This aid was used primarily to repair damage caused by Cambodia?s war of independence from France, to support internal security forces, and for the construction of an all-weather road to the seaport of Sihanoukville, which gave Cambodia its first direct access to the sea and access to the southwestern hinterlands. Relations deteriorated in the early 1960s. Diplomatic relations were broken by Cambodia in May 1965, but were reestablished on July 2, 1969. U.S. relations continued after the establishment of the Khmer Republic until the U.S. mission was evacuated on April 12, 1975. During the 1970-75 war, the United States provided $1.18 billion in military assistance and $503 million in economic assistance. The United States condemned the brutal character of the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979. The United States opposed the subsequent military occupation of Cambodia by Vietnam, and supported ASEAN's efforts in the 1980s to achieve a comprehensive political settlement of the problem. This was accomplished on October 23, 1991, when the Paris Conference reconvened to sign a comprehensive settlement.

The U.S. Mission in Phnom Penh opened on November 11, 1991, headed by career diplomat Charles H. Twining, Jr., who was designated U.S. Special Representative to the SNC. On January 3, 1992, the U.S. lifted its embargo against Cambodia, thus normalizing economic relations with the country. The United States also ended blanket opposition to lending to Cambodia by international financial institutions. When the freely elected Royal Government of Cambodia was formed on September 24, 1993, the United States and the Kingdom of Cambodia immediately established full diplomatic relations. The U.S. Mission was upgraded to a U.S. Embassy, and in May 1994 Mr. Twining became the U.S. Ambassador. After the factional fighting in 1997 and Hun Sen's legal machinations to depose First Prime Minister Ranariddh, the United States suspended bilateral assistance to the Cambodian Government. At the same time, many U.S. citizens and other expatriates were evacuated from Cambodia and, in the subsequent weeks and months, more than 40,000 Cambodian refugees fled to Thailand. The 1997 events also left a long list of uninvestigated human rights abuses, including dozens of extra-judicial killings. Since 1997, U.S. assistance to the Cambodian people has been provided mainly through non-governmental organizations, which flourish in Cambodia.

The United States supports efforts in Cambodia to combat terrorism, build democratic institutions, promote human rights, foster economic development, eliminate corruption, achieve the fullest possible accounting for Americans missing from Indochina conflict, and to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed under the Khmer Rouge regime.