Only these people, in their view, were committed members of the community and were sufficiently independent to vote. Each of the thirteen colonies required voters either to own a certain amount of land or personal property, or to pay a specified amount in taxes.
The main function of political legitimacy, on this interpretation, is to explain the difference between merely effective or de facto authority and legitimate authority. John Locke put forward such an interpretation of legitimacy. The solution to this problem is a social contract that transfers political authority to a civil state that can realize and secure the natural law.
According to Locke, and contrary to his predecessor Thomas Hobbes, the social contract thus does not create authority. Political authority is embodied in individuals and pre-exists in the state of nature.
The social contract transfers the authority they each enjoy in the state of nature to a particular political body. While political authority thus pre-exists in the state of nature, legitimacy is a concept that is specific to the civil state.
Because the criterion of legitimacy that Locke proposes is historical, however, what counts as legitimate authority remains connected to the state of nature. The legitimacy of political authority in the civil state depends, according to Locke, on whether the transfer of authority has happened in the right way.
Locke understands the consent criterion to apply not just to the original institutionalization of a political authority—what Rawls It also applies to the ongoing evaluation of the performance of a political regime—Rawls Although Locke emphasises consent, consent is not, however, sufficient for legitimate authority because an authority that suspends the natural law is necessarily illegitimate e.
On some interpretations of Locke e. Pitkinconsent is not even necessary for legitimate political authority; it is only a marker of illegitimacy. Whether an actual political regime respects the constraints of the natural law is thus at least one factor that determines its legitimacy. This criterion of legitimacy is negative: When a political authority fails to secure consent or oversteps the boundaries of the natural law, it ceases to be legitimate and, therefore, there is no longer an obligation to obey its commands.
For Locke—unlike for Hobbes—political authority can thus not be absolute. John Simmons uses them to argue that we should distinguish between the moral justification of states in general and the political legitimacy of actual states.
I will come back to this point in section 3. Joseph Raz links legitimacy to the justification of political authority. According to Raz, political authority is just a special case of the more general concept of authority, He defines authority in relation to a claim—of a person or an agency—to generate what he calls pre-emptive reasons.
Such reasons replace other reasons for action that people might have. For example, if a teacher asks her students to do some homework, she expects her say-so to give the students reason to do the homework. Authority is effective, on this view, if it gets people to act on the reasons it generates.
Legitimate authority satisfies what Raz calls the pre-emption thesis: There are limits to what even a legitimate authority can rightfully order others to do, which is why it does not necessarily replace all relevant reasons. When is effective or de facto authority legitimate? In other words, what determines whether the pre-emption thesis is satisfied?
In full, the normal justification thesis says: The normal justification thesis explains why those governed by a legitimate authority ought to treat its directives as binding.
It thus follows as a corollary of the normal justification thesis that such an authority generates a duty to be obeyed. Note that even though legitimate authority is defined as a special case of effective authority, only the former is appropriately described as a serving its subjects.
Illegitimate—but effective—authority does not serve those it aims to govern, although it may purport to do so. William Edmundson formulates this way of linking authority and legitimacy via a condition he calls the warranty thesis: The idea expressed by the warranty thesis is that legitimacy morally justifies an independently existing authority such that the claims of the authority become moral obligations.
As Leslie Green puts it: According to a second important interpretation, by contrast, the main function of legitimacy is precisely to justify coercive power. For an excellent discussion of the two interpretations of legitimacy and a defense of the coercion-based interpretation, see Ripstein ; see also Hampton On coercion-based interpretations, the main problem that a conception of legitimacy aims to solve is how to distinguish the rightful use of political power from mere coercion.
One way to capture the thought is that, on these views, legitimacy relates to the way in which the rightful use of political power creates or constitutes political authority.
Again, there are different ways in which this idea might be understood. Both manners of creating a sovereign are equally legitimate.In the United States this issue has surfaced around how voting is impacted by gerrymandering and the repeal of part of the Voting Rights Act in Another challenge to the political legitimacy offered by elections is whether or not marginalized groups such as women or those who are incarcerated are allowed to vote.
And this is the article from which the voting rights in general election find its legitimacy. But while magnifying this article, it could easily be seen that it lays some restrictions on right to vote in .
Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of requires certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to obtain "preclearance" of proposed electoral changes from the United States Department ofJustice or a three-judge panel in the United.
For almost years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. While not a focus of this lesson, it is important to note that despite the Voting Rights Act’s significance and considerable evidence that it is still necessary, in July , the deeply divided United States Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v.
More recently, the United States and advocates for Indians in South Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico filed several lawsuits alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act. Many minority language cases involving American Indians were also filed.