What are the four characteristics of a state?
A state defined as a country or a nation-state, is a polity (a political entity) with clearly defined borders that has a system of government and a monopoly on force which is used to create and enforce laws over a community that lives inside it. Its four main characteristics are population, territory, government, and sovereignty.
-- all nation-states have a population that lives on its territory and is subject to its laws.
-- most nation-states have clearly defined and internationally recognized borders that encompass their territory.
-- all nation-states are governed by their own government recognized by the people and the international community. A government of a nation-state makes all the decisions regarding its population.
-- all nation-states have a monopoly on power over their territory and their external affairs. By having sovereignty nation-states exert their independence from other countries, and are granted the freedom to establish a government. For instance, individual states of the United States aren't fully sovereign as the federal government can make decisions on their behalf. That is why they cannot be recognized as independent nation-states by the international community.
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