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           1.1 Introduction
           1.2 objectives
           1.3 Definition of Ethics
           1.4 Relationship of Ethics with other fields
           1.5 Classifications of Ethics
           1.6 Importance of studying Ethics
           1.7 self attempt questions

1.1 Introduction
To produce a good citizen the role ethical education is very important. The first part
defines ethics and list out the subject matter. And then describes the relationship between
ethics and other disciplines as well as explain further the meaning and concern of ethics
by comparing and with other related fields. And also describes the different parts or
subdivisions of ethics. In addition to this the importance of studying ethics will explain.
And at the end self attempt questions are found.

1.2 objectives
The major objective of this unit is to explain the meaning of ethics, and dealing with the
relevance or importance of studying ethics.
At the end of this unit students will be able to:
           o understand the meaning of ethics
           o know the subject matter of ethics
           o identify the relationship between ethics and other behavioral sciences
           o differentiate ethics and morality
           o distinguish ethical relativism and ethical objectivism
           o list out and explain the various sub-divisions of ethics
           o understand the relevance of ethics with other disciplines
1.3 Definitions of ethics

There are several definition of ethics, but some definition of ethics are listed as follows: -
Ethics as moral values: Moral values are values that determine human conduct
(behaviors, actions, decisions) as right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral. Hence,
ethics could also be defined as the field that studies rightness or wrongness (goodness or
badness, morality or immorality) of human conduct.

   o Ethics is also defined as “a set of principles prescribing a behavior code that
       explains what is good and right or bad and wrong and outlines moral duty and
   o Some others defined as, “Ethics is the discipline that is concerned with what
       constitutes human welfare (good, happiness, benefit, safety) and the kind of
       conduct necessary to promote it”.
   o Working definition of Ethics: “Ethics is a branch of philosophy that is
       concerned with rightness or wrongness (morality or immorality) of human
       conduct or behavior.”

1.4 relationships of ethics with other fields
Ethics has a relation with other fields. In order to explain this we need to ask ethics “is
concerned with human conduct/behavior?” This question creates a need to point out the
fact that there are a number of field concerned with human conduct and to explain the
difference between Ethics and these fields.

Several other fields that are concerned with human conduct/behavior. For example, the
fields that are commonly known as behavioral sciences (fields such as psychology,
sociology, anthropology, history and economics) study different aspects of human
behavior. Ethics is distinguished from such fields by being normative. In other words, it
is concerned with pronouncing judgment upon human behavior, not merely describing
the behavior. Ethics is the study not only of what is but also that of what ought to be.
Ethics, and only Ethics, is concerned with the “ought” of human conduct. That is,
whereas all other fields are limited to descriptions of how human beings in fact behave,
Ethics (particularly normative Ethics) is concerned with prescriptions of how human

beings ought to behave. Ethics not simply describes moral ideals held by human beings
but asks which ideal is better than others, more worth pursuing, and why.

On the other hand, all ethical questions involve a decision about what one should do in a
specific instance. Notice here the word should. It implies that ethical questions are not
concerned with what one would or may do (which is an essentially psychological
concern) but what one ought to do. Judgments about such decisions are generally
expressed with words like right and wrong, should and ought, or obligation and duty. For
instance, “I should tell the truth” or “Telling truth is the right thing to do”. A good
portion of ethics is devoted to problems concerning the right thing to do or what we
should do, which is the question of obligation. Hence, ethics is about ought, obligation,
duty, or responsibility. Think about what are our duties or obligations are as: human
beings, citizens, brothers, sisters, fathers/mothers, children, teachers, students, doctors,
accountants, etc.

All ethical decisions involve choice. But implied in any choice is a value or value
judgment. In effect, every choice involves an assessment of worth. We feel obliged to
behave a certain way because we seek a specific value or good. These values, just as
actions themselves, can be described with words such as good, bad, evil, desirable,
undesirable, beneficial, harmful, etc. In addition to dealing with obligation, therefore,
Ethics deals with questions of value. Taken together, questions of obligation and value
form the heart of ethics.

Ethics and Philosophy
Ethics is essentially a philosophical field. It is one of the branches or standard field of
philosophy. Since, Logic is the field of philosophy concerned with formulation of
principles of correct thinking and Axiology is the field of philosophy concerned with
value. But Ethics is distinguished from other fields of philosophy by being concerned
with moral values (i.e., morality of human behavior). As a result, ethics is also known as
moral philosophy.

Ethics and Morals/Morality
Usually these two terms are used interchangeably as if they mean one and the same thing.
However, there is a significant difference between the two terms. As could be seen from
the above explanation of the meaning and purpose of ethics, ethics is the discipline that
studies or enquires into morality. Hence, the difference between Ethics and morality is
that whereas ethics is the study or inquiry, morality is what is studied or inquired into by
ethics. Morality refers to a set of rules and principles that guide the people’s
behavior/conduct in day-to-day life. And ethics, as the philosophy of morals/morality, is
the discipline that examines and formulates these rules and principles.
1.5 Classification of Ethics
Ethics is generally divided into two major types, namely Normative Ethics and Non-
normative Ethics. In this sub-unit you will study these two types of Ethics and their
further classifications.

1.5.1 Normative Ethics
It is the area of ethics that involves attempts to determine precisely what moral standards
to follow so that our actions may be morally right or good. It is called normative because
establishes norms of right conduct. Normative statements are assertions that express
value judgment. Every normative statement says or implies that something is good or
bad, better or worse, ought to be done or ought not to be done. And it is further divided
into two sub areas:

i. General Normative Ethics:
General normative ethics is reasoned search for principles of right conduct. It formulates
the principles that we should follow so that our conduct be morally right, principles that
are used to determine human behavior as right or wrong, good or bad, moral or immoral.
Hence, an action is right/moral if it agrees with the rules and principles established by
General normative ethics.

ii. Applied Normative Ethics: is the attempt to explain and justify positions on
specific moral problems/issues. It is called applied because here ethicists attempt to use

(implement/put into practice) the general theoretical ethical principles to resolve concrete
or specific moral problems. Some of the issues of applied ethics include capital
punishment, abortion, euthanasia, war, sex, and corruption.

There are many sub-divisions of applied ethics depending upon the diverse moral issues
that call for theoretical considerations. The following are just few examples of the
specialized areas of applied ethics: Development Ethics, Environmental Ethics,
Professional Ethics, Medical Ethics, Business Ethics, Work Ethics, Social Ethics,
Individual Ethics, Political Ethics, and Historical Ethics.
Environmental Ethics is the area of applied ethics where ethicists consider the ethical
relationship between human beings and the natural environment. There are many ethical
decisions that human beings make with respect to the environment. Consider the
following questions, for example: Should we continue to clear cut the forests for the sake
of human consumption? What environmental obligations do we need to keep for future
generation? Is it right for humans to knowingly cause the extinction of a species for the
convenience of humanity?

1.5.2 Non-normative ethics
This is the area of ethics that consists of two fields, namely Scientific or Descriptive
ethics and Meta-ethics. It is called non-normative because, unlike the normative ethics, it
does not involve the establishment of norms of right conduct. Its statements are non-
normative; that is, they do not assert or express value judgment. In a word, they are value

i. Scientific or descriptive ethics
This area involves factual investigation of moral behavior of a given community. It is
concerned with how people do in fact behave. It is therefore factual description that does
not involve value judgment.

ii. Meta-ethics
It is highly technical discipline in which philosophers analyze and clarify the meaning of
important terms used in ethical discourse or writings, terms such as the good, right or
wrong, moral or immoral, obligation, responsibility, duty, and freedom of will. The

       concern of meta-ethics also includes a critical study of how ethical statements can be

                                  Diagram 1 Classification of Ethics


          Normative Ethics                                      Non-normative

General normative            Applied
ethics                       normative ethics             Scientific/Desc
                                                          riptive ethics            Meta-ethics

       1. 6 Importance of studying Ethics

       Why should you study Ethics? you may answer the question by saying “I am studying
       ethics because I am required to do so”. However, you should also know the reason why
       you are required to study ethics.
       Firstly, whether you are ordinary person, a manager, teacher, lawyer, and the like, as a
       rational person you have to have moral justification for all your actions and decisions.
       Your study of ethics (the rules, principles and theories) helps you to that end. That is,
       they will make you sensitive to ethical/moral issues and help you to think and act in
       ethically sound or justifiable way.

       Secondly, you can also consider the general nature and concern of ethics to realize its
       relevance. Ethics, especially through its, normative approach towards life, has practical

importance. Its problems and solutions have to do with the real questions of the conduct
of living. Its solutions are solutions for the problems of goals and means of goals in the
practical life of all human beings. As the question of the manner of living, ethics is also
concerned with the question of the meaning of life; and how we live our actual life could
be determined by our conceptions of the meaning of life. Hence, though theoretical, the
concern of ethics is clearly related to the concrete or practical life situations. That is to
say, it has obvious relevance to practical difficulties which confront every human being.
Its theorizing almost always stems from the efforts of human beings to solve the
practical, immediate, and pressing problems which arise in the everyday living.

Finally, we hope you have recognized that there is currently a kind of universal
movement for ethical education. That is, everywhere in the world including our country
there is common understanding/urge by scholars as well as leaders and common people
for ethical education. If you have noticed this, what do you think the reason for that?
Discuss about it with your friends or colleagues. You may realize from your discussion
that there is great need for ethical education to the present generation.

1.7 Self attempt questions

I. From the alternatives given to each question below, choose the best one.
1. Which of the following is wrong match?
A. Aesthetics/beauty
B. Epistemology/knowledge
C. Ethics/conduct
D. Logic/thinking
E. None of the above

2. Which of the following questions is not among the concerns of ethics?
A. What is the source of human knowledge?
B. How should human beings live?
C. What are the responsibilities of citizenship?
D. Is abortion moral or immoral?

E. None of the above

3. The area of ethics that is concerned with clarification of ethical terms is known as
A. Normative ethics
B. Applied ethics
C. Metaethics
D. Scientific ethics
E. None of the above

4. The fundamental value of studying and understanding of the ethical theories lies in
A. obtaining definitive guides to moral conduct
B. becoming aware of the moral options available to us for dealing with complex
   moral decisions on a personal and collective level.
C. protecting immoral actions against us
D. providing particular skills of doing business
E. None of the above

5. Which of the following is an example of normative statements?
A. Addis Ababa is the capital city of Ethiopia.
B. Kenenisa is an athletic hero.
C. Alcoholism should be made illegal.
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

II Define the following terms
Axiology                      Ethics
Moral value                     Normative ethics
Applied ethics                Scientific/Descriptive ethics
Metaethics                      Non-normative ethics
Environmental ethics            Business ethics
Medical ethics                  Legal ethics
Moral objectivism                Ethical relativism

Ethical absolutism              Ethical subjectivism
Cultural relativism
III True or False item
1. Ethics is concerned with part of our human values.
2. Ethics and morality have the same meaning.
3. Metaethics is normative study of human behavior.
4. Professional ethics is a branch of applied ethics.
5. All ethical questions involve a choice.

IV Questions for comprehension and reflection
1. What does “man is moral animal” mean?
2. What are the benefits you are expected to gain from your study of ethics?
3. According to your opinion, what is the reason for the universal urge for ethical


Cryssides D. George and John H. Kaler. (1993) An Introduction to Business Ethics.

Donald Palmner (1996). Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy.
(Chapter 7, Ethics; Chapter 8, Critique of traditional Ethical theories)

Miller, E. D. L.(1984) Questions That Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy. Part Four,
The Question of morality, Chapter 16 (pp 349-378)

Stroll Avrum and Richard H. Popkin, (1961) Introduction to Philosophy. (Chapter 5,
Ethics/Appraisal of Human Character, Conduct, and Aims)

Vincent Barry (1980) Philosophy: A Text with Readings. (Chapter 3, Ethics, pp. 89-103)

Unit 2. Classical Ethical Theories
           2.1 Introduction
           2.2 Aims and objectives
           2.3 Sophists and Sophism
           2.4 Platonism: ethical theory of Socrates and Plato
           2.5 Nicomachean Ethics: ethical theory of Aristotle
           2.6 Relevance of the classical ethical theories
           2.7 self attempt questions

2.1 Introduction
This lesson aimed to introduce you to the Greek Classical Ethical Theories: Platonism
and Nicomachean Ethics, ethical theories of the three popular Greek giants, namely
Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. This unit brings an opportunity to familiarize you with the
most influential persons and philosophical ideas in the history of mankind.

Platonism was a reaction to sophism, philosophical views of sophists; and Nicomachean
ethics was a reaction to Platonism. Hence we begin by outlining some of the major
features of the philosophy of the sophists. This will be followed by a relatively more
detailed description of Platonic ideas. Next to that you will study Nicomachean ethics and
its relation to Platonism. Finally you will find the section that explains the relevance of
the classical ethical theories or the reason why you have to study them.

2.2 Objectives
At the end of this unit students will be able to:
          Understand the importance and the relevance of the classical ethical theories
          know the meaning of sophists and sophism
          understand Platonism
          explain the major elements of Nicomachean ethics
          know the meaning of golden mean and the theory of moderation

2.3 Sophists and Sophism
Both Plato and Socrates severely criticized the Sophists because of their relativism,
subjectivism or skepticism. Indeed, a major part of Platonism was a reaction to the
philosophy and teaching of these Sophists, known as sophism. Hence, to understand
Platonism, you have to be acquainted with the major elements of the Sophists’

Sophists (literally “wise men”) were a group of philosophers in the fifth century BC who
offered to teach young Athenians how to use logic and rhetoric to defeat opponents in
any controversy. They were the first to teach wisdom for a fee, something that irked

Actually, the Sophists may not have been as wise as they were clever with words, and
they were accused of making the stronger arguments appear to be the weaker and the
weaker arguments appear to be the stronger. But in the days of the Athenian democracy,
when an individual was required to defend himself in the law courts, the Sophists’
“wisdom” was much in demand. Socrates and Plato sharply criticized the Sophists
because they accepted monetary rewards for encouraging unprincipled persuasive

One of the two most popular sophists, Protagoras, who was active about 425 BC,
expressed the central philosophy of the sophists in the following statement which is
known to be one of the most famous lines ever uttered. He wrote: “A man is the measure
of all things; of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they
are not.” This means that the individual, each and every person, is the criterion unto
himself or herself as to what exists and what does not. This thought was expanded to
include truth and morality. It implies that what ever you perceive as true or false is true or
false, and whatever you think as good/right or bad/wrong is good/right or bad/wrong.

This position is known as Relativism or Subjectivism because it makes the most
important things relative to and dependent upon the individual, or because it asserts that

the subject (either an individual person, community, or society) is the source and standard
of being, truth, and goodness.

The Sophists expanded this relativism to skepticism, uncertainty with respect to knowing;
philosophical epistemological position that doubts or denies the possibility of knowledge,
or holds that mankind cannot possess certain knowledge about anything. Skepticism is, in
other words, the epistemological position that varies between doubting all assumption
until proved and claiming that no knowledge is possible. The latter extreme position is
called absolute skepticism and the Sophists tend to hold this position (that is, that of
absolute skepticism).

The transition from the relativism of Protagoras to skepticism was expressed in the
following statement of Gorgias, the second popular Sophist: “Nothing exists; if
something does exist, we cannot know it; if we come to know it, we cannot teach it to
others.” Hence, the only thing remaining is the use of the word, and Gorgias affirmed that
all things can appear true and just, if oratorical power is capable of revealing things as
true and just, beyond every pretension of reality of content.

The traditional belief of the Greeks had been that their cities had received laws from
some divinity; protector of the cities, and that goodness or happiness consists in
conforming one’s life to these laws, accepted as divine and eternal. The Sophists shook
this faith to its very roots. By their subjectivist and skeptical prejudices they ended in the
conclusion that the good is that which satisfies one’s instincts and passions.

You have been studying about who the Sophists are and their philosophy or teachings.
You may ask at this point “what is then Sophism?” Sophism is just the manner of the
Sophists, which associated with cheating, making the stronger arguments appear to be the
weaker and the weaker arguments appear to be the stronger. Sophism is, in other words, a
plausible argument that is actually fallacious, especially when one presents it as if it were
legitimate reasoning.

Fallacy is incorrect or illogical argument that appears or seems correct or logical. It is, in
other words, deceptive argument, an argument that deceives, cheats or misleads. Sophism
(also called Sophistry) is intentional or deliberate use of such arguments to defeat one’s
opponent (or teaching to do so).

2.4. Platonism: the ethical theories of Socrates and Plato
As mentioned above, Platonism is the ethical theory of Socrates and Plato. Who is
Socrates? What is the relationship between Socrates and Plato and between Socrates’
views and those of Plato? In what follow immediately below you will read about who
Socrates is and his major moral views, the relationship between Socrates’ and Plato’s
views, and the finally views of Plato.

Socrates and his philosophical life
Even though, he was well known during his own time for his conversational skills and
public teaching, Socrates (469-399 BC) wrote nothing. As a result, the main evidence for
his opinions comes to us second hand and primarily from the writings of his student,
Plato. Indeed, Socrates is the protagonist (central character) of the Platonic dialogues.

He has always been regarded as a kind of symbol of philosophical activity, especially its
rational and critical nature. This is because philosophy itself could be defined as “rational
and critical enterprise” or “the love and pursuit of wisdom”. The wisdom of Socrates (for
which he dedicated his whole life) consists of a critical habit, an eternal vigilance about
all things and a reverence for truth, whatever its form, wherever its place. His is a
perspective that allows him to transcend the narrowness, the smugness, the arrogance,
and the pettiness of mundane ego fulfillment. His method (popularly known as Socratic
Method) consisted of asking someone about the meaning of important terms or ideas,
usually moral concept, and then to cross-examining his opponent mercilessly until some
progress or clarity is achieved.

In his use of critical reasoning, by his unwavering commitment to truth, and through the
vivid example of his own life, Socrates set the standard for all subsequent Western
philosophy. His dedication to careful reasoning transformed the entire enterprise

(Western philosophy). Since he sought genuine knowledge rather than mere victory over
an opponent, Socrates employed the tricks (logic) of the Sophists to a new purpose, the
pursuit of truth. His willingness to call everything to question and his determination to
accept nothing less than an adequate account of the nature of things makes him the first
clear exponent of critical philosophy. Critical philosophy is the analysis and definition of
basic concepts and the precise expression and criticism of basic beliefs.

Socrates, the great ethical philosopher, is thus regarded as a model of moral person with
respect to the search for, and devotion to, truth. “Unexamined life is not worth living”, he
said, and his whole life was dedicated to self-examination and questioning of both the
self and others. Analysis of his life provides a model as to “how life should be lived”.
Some find analogy between the place of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion and that
Socrates in philosophy, mainly because the latter is regarded as the symbol of
philosophizing and also because he gave his life for the principles/truth he taught.

The moral views of Socrates
“What is the good life for man?” and “How ought men to behave?” This was especially
true for the classical ethical theories under discussion, namely Platonism and
Nicomachean ethics. For Socrates, the answer to the second question, from the above two
questions, was obvious: Men ought to act in such a way as to achieve the good life. It was
the first question that was more troublesome – namely, what constitutes the good life? In
dealing with that question, the teaching of Socrates can be summarized in a remark: The
good life can be discovered if and only if men have knowledge. Indeed, “Socrates’ main
philosophical concern was with how anyone can know the right way to live.”

Note that this remark does not directly answer the question. That is, Socrates does not
purport to tell us what the good life is but only what we must do in order to discover it.
Nevertheless it was a remark of great historical significance. It was accepted by almost
all Greeks who followed Socrates.

The remark also expresses Socrates’ doctrine which is sometimes termed “the Socratic
paradox”. The paradox lies in the fact that although men in fact act immorally, none do
so deliberately. For it was Socrates’ belief that if a man knows what is good, he will
always act in such a way to try to achieve it. Evil, seen from this standpoint, is thus
always the product of ignorance (that is, a case of a man believing something to be good
when it is not). Socrates defended this point of view by the following argument: The
good, he maintained, is that which is most serviceable to men. Everyone aims at doing
that which is most serviceable to him. It is, accordingly, unthinkable that anyone should
not do that which he recognizes as being most serviceable to himself. If anyone should
act in a way which is not conducive to his own good, therefore, his action must result
from a failure to recognize what is good in those circumstances. It follows from this that
immoral action is always due to lack of knowledge. It is this doctrine which is
summarized in the epigram “virtue is knowledge”, and also in the remark “nobody errs
wittingly”, which means nobody act immorally knowingly. In a word, Socrates held that
men do not act immorally if they know what is moral.

Socratic problem
As we have seen, Plato was a student of Socrates (427-347) expressed his philosophy in
numerous dialogues. In earlier of these dialogues Plato develops the ideas of his teacher
Socrates through portrayals of Socrates’ discussions with his contemporaries, discussion
which proceeded by questions and answers. In the dialogues, which were composed over
a long period of nearly fifty years, Plato gradually introduced his and more developed
ideas in place of those of the historical Socrates, though he continued to employ Socrates
as the mouthpiece of these ideas. It is difficult to determine where the real Socrates leaves
off and Plato’s own ideas begin. This is called the Socratic problem in the history of
philosophy. For the purpose of the discussions in this course we will not concern
ourselves with this problem; that is, we will make very simple distinctions between the
two: Except the statements indicated by quoting directly to be Socrates’ or Plato’s and the
specifically distinguished views, all other views are regarded here to belong to Platonism,
which equally refers, in this course, to Socrates and Plato.

Plato and his moral views
Plato never answers the question “What is the good life for man?” But he regarded the
question as fundamental. What motivated the intensive search for the good life is that
Plato, like Socrates, believes that if a man knows what is good, he will always act so as to
try to attain it. In the complex arguments that involves his metaphysics, epistemology and
ethics Plato also provides the reason why men must possess knowledge in order to
understand the nature of good life.

2.5 Nicomachean Ethics: ethical theory of Aristotle
It the first systematic presentation of morality, is the ethical theory of Aristotle (384-322
BC), one of the three Greek giants. It is so named after his father or son, both of whom
were of the same name. As Plato was the student of Socrates, Aristotle was the student of
Plato. However, Aristotle ruthlessly criticized the theories of his master, Plato.

Greek philosophy was generally characterized by speculative approach. That is the Greek
philosophers attempted to discover the true nature of the world by the use of reason
alone. This speculative approach’s also noticeable in their ethical writings. Generally, the
speculative approach is non-scientific – for it does not try to collect facts and derive
conclusions for them; rather it tries to deduce facts about the nature of the world and the
nature of man by use of reason alone.

Aristotle one of these Greeks, departs from this tradition in his ethical writings and
adopts a scientific or empirical approach to ethical problems. Instead of trying to discover
the nature of good life for all men by reflection/ or reason” alone, he examined the
behavior and talk of people in everyday life. From this he noticed that what men of
common sense consider to be good contains one common character: via, Happiness. Thus
Aristotle’s answer to the basic ethical question “what is the good life for man?” can be
stated in one statement: “it is a life of Happiness.”

But what is this “happiness”? Is it success? fame? Pleasure? Or what?
In the Nicomachean ethics, which is the title of Aristotle’s chief work on ethics, he gave
the definition of the word “happiness” as follow: “Happiness is an activity of the soul in

accordance with the perfect virtue.” What Aristotle is stressing here is the fact that
happiness is not something static, but an activity. It is not something we arrive at; not
some object. It is not certain goal of this activity. It is the way of engaging in the various
activities of life such as eating, making love, etc.

As we have mentioned already, the ethical theories that we are discussing attempt to
answer two questions: “what is the good life for men?” and “how ought men to behave?”
Aristotle’s answer to the first questions was “the good life for men is a life of happiness.”
His answer to the second questions is equally direct: “men ought to behave so as to
achieve happiness.” This second answer is vague or question begging. We can ask, more
specifically, how should we behave in order to achieve happiness? Aristotle’s answer to
this question is to be found in the well-known formula called “the Doctrine of the mean
“or sometimes called the “golden mean”. We shall now turn to a discussion of the
Doctrine of the mean, and in this way we will show how Aristotle’s moral philosophy
differs from that of Plato.

Being happy, according to Aristotle, is like being well-fed. How much food should a man
eat in order to be well fed? Aristotle’s contention is that there is no general answer to this
question; i.e. we can not fix the amount, like two kilos. It depends on the size of the man.
What sort of work he does, whether he is ill or well. The proper amount for anyone of
work he does, whether he is ill or well. The proper amount for anyone to eat can be
ascertained by trial and error: if we eat certain amount of food and still feel hungry, we
should eat less, the correct amount is a mean between eating too much and too little. NB.
The word “mean” should not be interpreted as being synonymous with “average”.

The two important consequences of this doctrine for ethics are that: there are various
correct ways of living for different people. What is good for one person may not be good
for another. And, further, one can not tell prior to actual experimentation, by use of
reason alone, which is correct way of living for him. We can summarize these two points
by saying that Aristotle is both relativist and empiricist in ethics.

So with happiness “the proper way for a man to behave in the moral sphere is in
accordance with the mean. For Example, in order to be happy he must be courageous,
liberal, proud, witty, modest, and so on. Courage is the mean between cowardice and
rashness; liberty between prodigality and fragility, pride between vanity and so forth. So,
Aristotle’s philosophy of the golden mean can be condensed as follows:
In order to achieve happiness, men must act moderately, they must act so as to be striving
for the mean between two extremes middle course between two activities. If they do this:
than they will be happy. But the mean will vary from man to man: some men can be more
carious than others, and some less and each will be proper for that man.

Here it seems very important to note that Aristotle is one of the first great philosophers of
common-sense in dealing with ethical matters. As we have seen, Plato maintained that
good life is in no way connected with pleasure – for he lays down a rigid requirement for
all men to follow, regardless of their inclinations, desires, temperament, in life. Aristotle
rejects this view of Plato and maintained the view that no man can be happy without
certain amount of pleasure in his life.

2.6 Relevance of the classical ethical theories
“What is the relevance of these ancient persons and theories?”, “Why should you study
ethical theories of the ancient times?” To answer this question, you have to know the
following facts about the persons and theories here.

Plato and Aristotle are known to be the greatest of all philosophers/thinkers in the history
of mankind, not only with respect to ethical theories but with respect to almost all
thoughts. That is, Plato was the student of Socrates while Aristotle was the student of
Plato. (Aristotle was the teacher/tutor of Alexander the Great, a very popular historical
figure.) As expressed by a writer, it is hard to imagine a time so rich in human genius as
the Athens into which Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were born.

Hence, this unit introduced you to the most influential persons and philosophical ideas in
the history of mankind. Their thoughts have laid foundation for all subsequent thinkers.
For instance, so encompassing and magnificent is Plato’s philosophy that it is said that all

subsequent philosophy is but a series of footnotes to it.” That is, they have influenced the
way of thinking of all people including those of our times, if not that of each of us.

To put the same thing in different words, the relevance of the classical ethical theories
has to do with the meaning of the word classical. In usages such as these the word
classical means that which has passed the test of time and space, or that which applies to
all times and places. Undying ideas

2.7 Self attempt questions
I. From the alternatives given to each question below, choose the best one.

1. The philosophy of the Sophists was characterized by
A. Relativism
B. Skepticism
C. Objectivism
D. All of the above
E. A and B are correct answers

2. There is one and only one good life for all men to lead, according to Plato. This view is
   known as ____________________________.
A. Ethical relativism
B. Skepticism
C. Ethical absolutism
D. All of the above
E. None of the above

3. Who is known to be one of the first great philosophers of common-sense in dealing
 with ethical matters?
A. Plato
B. Socrates
C. Aristotle
D. Protagoras

E. None of the above

4. Which of the following provide Aristotle’s answer to the question: “how should we
behave in order to achieve happiness”?
A. the Doctrine of the mean
B. golden mean
C. Objectivism
D. Absolutism
E. A and B are correct answers

5. What is the virtue or highest good according to Platonism?
A. Wealth
B. Power
C. Knowledge
D. Health
E. None of the above

II Define the following terms
Sophists                         Sophism
Socratic problem                 Socratic method
Nicomachean ethics               Golden mean

III True or False item

1. The concern of the Sophists was discovering genuine knowledge.
2. Plato believed that “A man is the measure of all things”.
3. Socrates was ethical philosopher.
4. Aristotle was ethical absolutist.
5. Classical ethical theories have great relevance to present day moral thinking.

IV Questions for reflection
1. How do you evaluate the teachings of the Sophists? Is it morally right to teach
somebody how to persuade by cheating?
2. You have read in this unit that Socrates is regarded as a model of moral person with
respect to the search for, and devotion to, truth. Can you think of any person from your
experience who could also be regarded as a model of moral person. Why?
3. Many think that the place of Jesus Christ in the Christian and that of Socrates in
philosophy are analogous. What is the analogy?
4. In this unit you have encountered a statement which is said to be the most quoted
statement in the whole literature. What is the statement? What does it mean? Who is its

Aristotle (1996) The Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Harris Rackham, Wordsworth
editions Ltd.

Byrn Mawr, 1999. Platonic Ethics Old and New, Classical Review

Donald Palmner (1996). Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy.
(Chapter 7, Ethics; Chapter 8, Critique of traditional Ethical theories)

Miller, E. D. L.(1984) Questions That Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy. Chapter, 4;
Part Four, The Question of morality, Chapter 16 (pp 349-361)

Stroll Avrum and Richard H. Popkin, (1961) Introduction to Philosophy. (Chapter 5,
Ethics/Appraisal of Human Character, Conduct, and Aims)

Vincent Barry (1980) Philosophy: A Text With Readings. (Chapters 1 and 2 pp. 1-79

Unit 3 Consequentialist/Teleological ethical theories
           3.1 Introduction
           3.2 Aims and objectives
           3.3 What are Consequentialist/Teleological ethical theories?
           3.4 Hedonism (Pleasure principle)
           3.5 Egoistic hedonism: Epicureanism and Cyrenaicism
           3.6 Utilitarianism/Social hedonism
           3.7 self attempt questions
3.1 Introduction
In this section various theories included. And the purpose of this unit is to explain the
significant theories that underlie the ethical and political theories of the modern world,
like egoism, hedonism, and utilitarianism. And those theories will help the students to
understand most of the ethical and political ideas of the modern time.

Consequentialist/Teleological ethical theories are theories that emphasize consequences
of actions as the criteria of their rightness or wrongness. That is, they maintain that an
action is right if its consequences are good, it is wrong if its consequences are bad. The
unit begins by pointing out the common characteristics of consequentialist or teleological
theories. This will be followed by the descriptions of the two major versions of
consequentialist or teleological theories, namely egoistic hedonism and utilitarianism.

3.2 objectives
At the end of your study of this unit you should be able to
          identify the common characteristics of consequentialist/teleological theory
          understand the meaning of egoistic hedonism and the difference between its
           two versions (Epicureanism and Cyrenaicism)
          explain the meaning of utilitarianism (social hedonism) and the difference
           between its two versions (Bentham and Mill)
          compare and contrast egoism and altruism

3.3 What are Consequentialist/Teleological ethical theories?
In order to understand hedonism as an ethical theory it is necessary that you make a
distinction between two general types of ethical theories, namely, consequentialist or
teleological ethical theories and non-consequentialist or deontological theories. In this
unit you will study about consequentialist or teleological ethical theories. You will find
the non-consequentialist or deontological theories in the next unit.

How do you determine whether a given action is moral or immoral, right or wrong?
Consequentialist or teleological ethics provides one way of answering this question.

Theology, as a philosophical doctrine, is the belief in purpose or goals in the universe. In
other words, it is a belief in the purposeful arrangement of things in the universe.
Teleological theory of ethics is then that which stresses the consequence /end, goal,
purpose/ of actions, and even makes the consequence of actions the criterion or test of
their rightness. That is, and action is judged, or said to be right or wrong, moral or
immoral, depending on what happens as a results or consequences of it. It because it
emphasizes on consequences of actions that it is also called consequentialist theory.

3.4 Hedonism (Pleasure principle)
Hedonism is an example of consequentialist or teleological ethics you studies above. It is
a general ethical theory which views pleasure as the good. Hedonism, from the Greek-
hedone meaning pleasure, is the ethical philosophy which holds that only pleasure is
worth having for its own sake. In a word, hedonists view pleasure and only pleasure as
having intrinsic value. Therefore, according to this hedonistic principle, pleasure is the
criterion of right action; that is, an action is said to be right or wrong depending on the
amount or kind of pleasure that results from it, and depending on this alone.

Here, therefore, we have the answer to the two leading questions in ethical theories,
namely “What is the good life for man”? and “How ought men to behave?” The answers

that the hedonists provide to these questions are, respectively: “the good life for men is
that of pleasure” and “we ought to act so as to achieve pleasure”. In precise words,
hedonism is therefore in ethical doctrine that pleasure is the highest good, and the
production of pleasure is the criterion of right action.

Hedonism has two forms: egoistic hedonism and social hedonism. As forms of hedonism
both of them advocate pleasure as the good. The difference between the two arises when
we ask “whose pleasure?” That is, we are told by hedonists that “men ought to act so as
to achieve pleasure”, but whose pleasure? The answer to this question gives us the two
versions or forms of hedonism, namely egoistic hedonism and social hedonism. In the
following two sections of this unit you will study egoistic hedonism and social hedonism,
in that order.

3.5 Egoistic hedonism: Epicureanism and Cyrenaicism
Egoistic hedonism is, of course, egoism + hedonism. Egoism comes from the Greek word
“ego” which means “I” any form of egoism thus makes the self the central concern, the
beginning and the end of all consideration. It is, in other words, self centeredness.

There are two forms of egoisms: psychological egoism and ethical egoism. Psychological
egoism is a doctrine about human nature, which claims that in fact everyone by nature
pressure’s primarily his or her own interest. Ethical egoism is, on the other hand, a value
judgment, claiming that everyone ought to pursue primarily his own interests. Ethical
egoism is, in other words, a consequentialist theory which contends that we act morally
when we act in a way that promotes our own interests.

Egoistic hedonism is thus the doctrine that each individual should pursue primarily his or
her own pleasure. In other words, egoistic hedonism is the doctrine that the pursuit and
production of one’s own pleasure is the highest good and the orientation of right action.

How do you evaluate the position of egoistic hedonists? Do you approve or disapprove
it? Do you think that we are egoists by nature? Anyway, consider here the principle
known as altruism. Altruism is the direct opposite of egoism. It is the principle that

everyone ought as much as possible to seek the good (well being, pleasure, happiness) of

Egoistic hedonism is certainly very old moral philosophy. In fact, its two best examples
occur already in Greek philosophy: Cyrenaicism and Epicureanism. These are the two
versions of egoistic hedonism.

The distinction between them arises when we ask the questions of the nature or the type
of pleasure to be pursued. That is, we can categorize pleasure in various ways: lower and
higher, positive and negative, pleasure and displeasure (plain), of the present moment
(immediate) and that of long-run, and bodily (sensual) and mental. The bodily or sensual
pleasure is that obtained from bodily sensation- sensation of being trickled, rubbed, or
stroked of example. Mental pleasures are pleasurable states of mind obtained from
sources such as a reforesting swim, reading a good book, grappling with a philosophical
problem, creating a work of art, talking with a congenial basis of our conduct: we should
act in such a way as such a to maximize our own pleasure sensation.

Epicureanism, so named after Epicurus (300 B.C), its founder, is a more important form
of hedonism. It has often mistakenly been represented along with Cyrenaicism as “pig
philosophy.” This is a mistake because, although Epicureanism was certainly also an
egoistic hedonism, it differed in important respects from Cyrenaicism.

3.6 Utilitarianism/social hedonism
Utilitarianism is ethical doctrine that an action is right or moral if and only if it promotes
the greatest pleasure for the greatest number of people. It is the ethical as well as political
theory according to which the best rule of life is to aim at the greatest pleasure for the
greatest number of people.

As another version of teleological ethics the utilitarian conceived of their philosophical
work as an attempt to lay down an objective principle for determining when a given
action was right or wrong. As such, it is seen as scientific approach to morality. They

called this maxim the principle of utility. This maxim is where the heart of utilitarianism

The word “utility” simply means “usefulness,” but the utilitarian employ it to mean “that
which promotes the greatest balance of good over evil.” i.e. if an action produces an
excess beneficial effects over harmful ones, then it is right otherwise it is not. Thus
utilitarianism is: the doctrine that we ought to act so as to promote the greatest balance of
good over evil. More good over evil is thus usefulness.

But what is the good? In fact utilitarianism has always gone hand in hand with hedonism
by specifying the nature of the good as pleasure. Therefore utilitarianism is: the doctrine
that we ought to act so as to promote the greatest balance of pleasure over pain.

Still another question: whose pleasure is to be maximized? In fact utilitarianism has
always gone hand in hand specifically with social hedonism and in deed may be regarded
as identical as social hedonism. Hence it becomes here necessary for us to compare and
contrast egoistic hedonism to social hedonism.

Like egoistic hedonism, social hedonism/utilitarianism holds teleological conception of
right action: it judges the rightness of an action by its consequences. And, like egoistic
hedonism, social hedonism (utilitarianism) is hedonist in it conception of right action: it
judges the rightness of an action by its production of pleasurable consequences. But the
difference is that: whereas the egoistic hedonist is motivated out of self interest and aims
at self satisfaction, the social hedonist or utilitarian is motivated out of an interest for the
greatest possible number of persons and aims at their satisfaction. In place of egoism of
egoistic hedonism, social hedonism or utilitarianism substitutes the benevolence
principle: happiness is t be distributed as widely and as equally as possible among all
people. Thus utilitarianism is: the doctrine that we ought to act so as to prompt the
greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. It is, in other words, hedonism plus
benevolence principle.

                 Hedonism + benevolence principle= utilitarianism

Jeremy Bent ham and John Stuart Mill: the two versions of utilitarianism.
English philosophers Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and John Stuart Mill (1806-1873),
these two figures represent the two versions of utilitarianism. Bentham was the founder
of utilitarianism whereas Mill was his successor but the most popular utilitarian of all.

Bentham emphasized the quantity of pleasure while Mill emphasized the quality.
According to both thinkers, the best rule of life is to aim at the “greatest pleasure of the
greatest number of people”. However, “the greatest” means “the most” for Bentham and
“the best” for Mill. By adding quality to Bentham’s version Mill meant that one pleasure
hold moral superiority over another. The central idea of Mill in that regard is expressed in
his popular statement: “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.”

Act and Rule Utilitarianism
Act utilitarianism is the normative position that contends that we should act so as to
produce the greatest happiness/pleasure for the most people. In other words, before
acting, ask yourself: what will be the consequence of my action not only for me but also
for everyone else involved? If the consequences are good (that is, they are calculated to
produce more happiness/pleasure than any other action will produce), the action is right;
if they are bad (that is, they are not so calculated), then the action is wrong. In effect, for
act utilitarianism the end justifies the means.

This position of act utilitarianism raises a problem: What if an action that promises the
greatest good for the greatest number, such as imprisoning an innocent person, appears to
be patently wrong? The consequences of removing a chronic public threat appear to
provide greater safety and happiness for the vast majority of people. Yet suppose that in
this particular case the individual is innocent.

A number of ethicists point out that we get into such dilemma when we apply the
“greatest happiness” principle to a particular act and not to the rule that the act
implements. What we should be concerned with is the consequences of keeping or
breaking the operative rule under which a particular act falls.

3.7 Self attempt question
I choose the best answer from the alternatives given to each question
1. The ethical doctrine according to which pleasure and only pleasure is intrinsically good
is known as ________________________
A. Egoism
B. Utilitarianism
C. Altruism
D. Hedonism
E. None of the above
2. The principle which the direct opposite of egoism is _________________________.
A. Hedonism
B. Utilitarianism
C. Altruism
D. Pleasure
E. None of the above
3. As quantity is to Bentham __________ is to Mill.
A. Pleasure
B. Utilitarianism
C. Majority
E. None of the above
4. The philosopher who is known to be the founder of hedonism is _________.
A. Epicurus
B. Aristipas
C. Bentham
D. Mill
E. None of the above
5. Which of the following is true about Epicurean ideal of life?
A. Sober thinking
B. Sensual pleasure
C. Immediate pleasure
D. All of the above             E. None of the above

II Define the following terms
Consequentialist/teleological theories      Hedonism
Egoism                                      Psychological egoism
Ethical egoism                             Altruism,
Epicureanism                               Cyrenaicism
III Say True or False
1. All consequentialist/teleological theories are hedonist.
2. Jeremy Bentham was egoistic thinker.
3. One of the differences between Epicureanism and Cyrenaicism is that whereas the one
   is consequentialist/teleological theory the other is not.
4. An action is morally right if promotes the greatest balance of good over evil, according
   to utilitarianism.
5. The words social hedonism and utilitarianism mean the same thing.

IV Questions for reflection and comprehension
1. How do you evaluate the position of egoistic hedonism? Do you believe that human
   beings are always motivated by self interest (as psychological egoism says)? Even if it
   be true that human beings are always motivated by self interest, is it morally right to
   be so?
2. Both Cyrenaicism and Bentham’s version of utilitarianism are criticized by other
   philosophers as “pig philosophy”. Do you understand why?
3. What is your attitude towards Kant’s popular statement: “It is better to be a human
   being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied”? Do you approve or disapprove it?
4. What is the major difference between Act and Rule utilitarianism?

3.7 References
Donald Palmner (1996). Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy.
(Chapter 7, Ethics; Chapter 8, Critique of traditional Ethical theories.)

Miller, E. D. L.(1984) Questions That Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy. Part Four,
The Question of morality, Chapter 17 and 18 (pp 379-391)

Stroll Avrum and Richard H. Popkin, (1961) Introduction to Philosophy. (Chapter 5,
Ethics/Appraisal of Human Character, Conduct, and Aims)

Vincent Barry (1980) Philosophy: A Text With Readings. (Chapter 3, Ethics, pp. 101-

Unit 4. Non-consequentialist/Deontological Ethical theories

            4.1 Introduction
            4.2 Aims and objectives
            4.3. What are non-consequentialist/deontological ethical theories?
            4.4 Kantian/Duty Ethics
            4.5. Devine command theory
            4.6. Self attempt question
4.1 Introduction
The purpose of this unit is to introduce nonconsequentialist/deontological ethical theories
which are contrary to the type of ethical theories, namely consequentialist/teleological
ethical theories.

Against the consequentialist or teleological ethical theories that emphasize consequences
of actions as the criteria for their morality, nonconsequentialist or deontological ethical
theories hold that morality of an action depends on factors other than its consequences.
Two major representatives of nonconsequentialist or deontological ethical theories are
Kantian ethics and Divine command ethical theory. Kantian ethics is one that emphasizes
duty of the agent. Devine command theory is a single-rule nonconsequentialist normative
theory that says that we should always do the will of God. You will study these two types
of ethical theories in that order, beginning by what is common to all
nonconsequentialist/deontological ethical theories.

4.2 Objectives

At the end of this unit students will be able to:
   -   Identify the common characteristics of the non-consequentialist/deontological
       ethical theories
   -   differentiate consequentiality/teleological and non-consequentiality/deontological
       ethical theories
   -   understand the essential features of Kantian/Duty Ethics and categorical
   -   explain the meaning and basis of the Devine command theory

4.3 What are non-Concequentialist (Deontological) theories?
Consequentialist ethical theories hold that any appraisal of the rightness or wrongness of
an action must take into account the motive from which it is done. These philosophers
contend that moral actions are those for which an agent can be held responsible. To say
this is to imply that they are actions which the agent intended to do. It is thus not
behavior per se which is capable of being right or wrong, but behavior which results from
one’s intensions and conscious motives. This explains why we do not morally condemn a
doctor who inadvertently kills a patient during an operation. According to the critics, it is
thus clear that no moral action can be evaluated as right or wrong apart from some
consideration of the agent’s intension in performing.

Deontological derives from the word deontology, which refers to the theory or study of
moral commitment. Deontological theories maintain that the morality of an action
depends on factors other than its consequences, and that is why these theories are
alternatively called nonconsequentialist theories.

Deontological theory is the direct opposite of the consequentialist or teleological theory
that you studied in the previous unit. As you recall from you lesson in Unit 3,
consequentialist or teleological theories morality (that is, rightness or wrongness) of
actions is determined by their consequences. According to the non-consequentialist or
deontological theories, on the contrary, morality of an action is determined by factors

other than consequences. According to these theories what makes an action right or
wrong is the actor’s conformity to his or her duty. An actors duty has nothing at all to do
with what might or might not happen – is the duty is not connected with the result or the
consequence of an action. Hence, whereas consequentialist/teleological ethics is one that
emphasizes     on    the   results   of    actions    as   the   tests   of   their   rightness,
nonconsequentialist/deontological ethics is one that emphasizes on the performance of
duty, rather than results, as the sign of right action.

The most influential nonconsequentialist theories can best be categorized either as
proposing a single rule that govern human conduct or proposing multiple rules. Two
significant single-rule nonconsequentialist theories are Kantian theory and Divine
Command theory. What are these two ethical theories? You will first study about Kantian
ethics and next the Divine Command theory.

4.4 Kantian (duty) ethics
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is the philosopher and an ethical theorist .Kantian ethics is
the ethical theory of Immanuel Kant. It is the theory that emphasizes the performance of
duty as the criteria of morality and that is why it is alternatively called duty ethics. The
third alternative name for Kantian ethics is “categorical imperative” or the ethics of
“categorical imperative”. This is because, as you will see later, categorical imperative is
the most central concept in Kant’s ethical theory.

His ethic is composed of a variety of deontological ethics as opposed to teleological
ethics. As we have seen the teleological theory of ethics is one which emphasizes the
intended consequences or results of actions as the criterion of their rightness. That is,
“such and such is the right action because it produces such and such results.” On the
contrary, the Kantian ethics holds that “the consequences or results of your actions have
nothing at all to do with their rightness or wrongness.” Here the criterion is not what
might or might not happen, but the intent to perform one’s duty or obligation. Because
they stress the nations of duty and obligation, these theories are sometimes described as
duty ethics.

The nature of morality as unconditional
The age of enlightenment saw a questioning of religion and traditional values, including
morality. As a result, philosophers needed to base moral systems on justifiable grounds.
Kant is one of such philosophers. His moral system is based on rationality. It attempts to
show how any rational being would agree to universal moral laws. Its influence is
enormous and modern philosophers still use Kant’s ideas as a starting point for
discussions on morality.

The attempt of Kant is to make morality unconditional, i.e. not conditioned by self
interest, majority interest, consequences, and the like. To that end, he makes distinction
between conditional “ought “and unconditional “ought”. Kant does this because morality
must be necessary and universal, that is, it must be absolutely binding, and absolutely
binding on everyone alike: whoever you are, what ever your situation, you ought to do X.
but the conditional “ought” involves “ifs” and “ in order that” and therefore gets mixed
up with all sorts of particular circumstances, changing desires, personal inclinations.

Good will as the basis of morality
According to the nature of morality, Kant eliminates from the start any suggestion that
morality can be based on our natural states and inclinations (gifts of nature) including
pleasure or happiness. He eliminates all innate gifts (such as intelligence, wit and
courage) or the accidental gifts (such as power, wealth, and honor). They cannot be the
basis of morality because none of them are absolute goods, or because they do not have
intrinsic or unconditional value; moreover, any one of them could be corrupted or turned
to be evil. There must be more than these and which is absolutely and unconditionally
good. And this is something that all other things depend on for their goodness, and
without which they would become corrupted and turned into evil.

Kant defined good will as “an intention to act in accordance with the moral law” and
moral law is what it is no matter what everything else. Good will is, in other words, to act
only out of respect for what is right and not for any other reason. To act out of good will

is, then, to do something because it is right to do it, and for no other reason. This would
be rational morality.

“Nothing in the world – indeed nothing beyond the world – can possibly be conceived
which could be good without qualification except a good will.” I. Kant

To put differently, by will Kant meant the uniquely human capacity to act according to
the concepts behind laws – that is, principles presumably operating in nature. A good
will, therefore, acts in accordance with nature’s laws. For Kant a will could be called
good without qualification only if it always had in view one principle: whether the maxim
of its action could become a universal law. This is the standard which is crucial part of
Kant’s theory of ethics. Kant formalizes this principle of all morality in the categorical
imperative, which you will find immediately below.
     Natural law is a pattern of necessary and universal regularity holding in physical
ration. It is also a moral imperative, a description of what ought to happen in human

Kant’s Categorical Imperative
He holds that the fundamental principle at the basis of all our moral duties is categorical
imperative, one of the most famous and important concepts in the history of ethics. The
categorical imperative is the fundamental principle of morality according to him. It is
imperative because it is a command. More precisely, it commands us to exercise our wills
in a particular way, not to perform some action or other. It is categorical in virtue of
applying to us unconditionally, or simply because we possess rational wills, without
reference to any ends that we might or might not have. It does not, in other words, apply
to us on the condition that we have antecedently adopted some goal for ourselves.

Categorical imperative as a test of moral actions
The categorical imperative is a test of moral actions. How? Before starting a certain
course of action I must ask: Does universalizing the principle of my action result in
(practical) contradiction? If so, the action fails the test and must be rejected as immoral.
In other words, the ability to universalize (apply to everyone) the rule by which we act in

a given situation is a sufficient guarantee of the morality of our action, or that it is being
done out of respect for the moral law alone.

For Kant human beings, as moral agents, are rational and autonomous (free to make
choices). He thinks that as rational beings we are able to judge whether an action is moral
by asking if the action is consistent with the categorical imperative. One formulation of
the categorical imperative is, “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the
same time will that it should become a universal law.” What Kant means by this is that
the way we judge an action to be moral is to universalize it: If I want to know whether
telling a lie on a particular occasion is justifiable, I must try to imagine what would
happen if everyone was to lie. Kant thinks that any rational being would agree a world in
which there is no lying is preferable to one in which lying is common. In a society where
lying is common no one would trust the word of anyone else.

Different versions of the categorical imperative
Kant provided several formulations of the categorical imperative, one of which is the one
stated above. These are different versions of the same fundamental principle of morality.
Certainly, they overlap with one another, and they suggest important and differing ways
in which the fundamental principle may be viewed and applied.

A second formulation of the categorical imperative is: “Act only so that the will through
its maxims could regard itself at the same time as making universal laws.”
Still another formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative is: “Always act to treat
humanity, whether yourself or others, as an end in itself, never merely as a means”. What
Kant means by this is that a rational being should not be used as a means to another
person’s happiness; if we use another person as a means to our ends then we have
removed that person’s autonomy.

Tree versions of Kant’s categorical imperative
1. “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it
should become a universal law.”
2. “Act only so that the will through its maxims could regard itself at the same time as
making universal laws.”
3. “Always act to treat humanity, whether yourself or others, as an end in itself, never
merely as a means”.

Alternative approach to Kant’s theory
Kant’s theory is known to be highly complex. To make the matter simpler one must use
different approaches. And one of the possible alternative approaches is to base the
discussion of the major questions that Kant attempts to answer.

To bring out the essential features of Kantian ethics, we have to center around Kant’s
efforts to answer the question, “What is the good life for man?” and How do we
determine morality of an action? Or “How can we tell whether our actions are morally
right?” However, Kant’s answer to the question “When does a person have a moral
worth?” Or, formulated alternatively, “What distinguishes a person of virtue from a
person who is not virtuous?” will take us to the heart of his moral theory.

Kant’s answer, in brief, is that what determines a person to be morally worthy is not what
he does, but why he does it. A man who repays debts out of the fear of imprisonment is
not a virtuous person, according to Kant, even though he does what he ought to do; nor is
a man morally worthy who pays debt because he is inclined to do so. Kant describes the
former person as acting from “prudential considerations” and the latter as acting “in
accord with duty”, not “from duty”. Insofar as a person acts from such considerations, he
is not virtuous. An agent has moral worth only when he recognizes that he ought to act in
a certain way because it is his duty to do so. One who takes care of his children properly,
because he understands that he is under obligation to do so and is motivated by this
consideration, is a person of virtue.

For the deontologist Kant, the rightness or wrongness of an action has nothing to do with
its consequences (unlike the consequentialist theories). The question of whether an act is
right or wrong arises only if there is some obligation on the part of the agent to do it; that
is, if in relevant circumstances, one could properly say to the agent, “It is your duty to do
so and so”. Therefore, an action is right if it ought to be done in those circumstances, and
wrong, given those circumstances, if it ought not to be done.

Kant’s view can therefore be summarized as maintaining that a morally good person is a
person of “good will” – a man who acts “out of reverence for duty”. To act in this way is
always to act in a morally justifiable manner, for as Kant says: “Nothing in the world –
indeed nothing beyond the world – can possibly be conceived which could be good
without qualification except a good will”.

These remarks bring us to the heart of Kant’s theory and enable us to answer the first of
Kant’s fundamental questions, “What is the good life for man?” The highest good, as
Kant conceives it, is a product of two elements: personal happiness and the possession of
a virtuous character.

4.5 Divine command theory
This theory is one of the two significant single-rule nonconsequentialist normative
theories, the other being Kantian theory which you studied above. It is the theory that
says we should always do the will of God.

According to the religious view of human nature, particularly the Judo-Christian
tradition, humans are made in the image of God. They are essentially divine beings,
because they contain something of the self-consciousness and ability to love that
characterizes their Creator. This ability to love is the distinguishing character of the
religious view. Where are as the Greeks (particularly Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) held
that only those capable of attaining theoretical and moral knowledge could realize the
purpose of living, the divine view contends that the two purposes of life – loving God and
serving God – are open to all regardless of intelligence. The single personal God created

man in His own image; that is, He endowed His creation with self-consciousness and the
ability to love. This ability is what makes humans unique.

The religious view on human nature fosters the following view of self: First, since the
universe is the expression of an intelligent mind (God), believers may see themselves as
part of a universe whose meaning and purpose they personally share through fellowship
with God. One’s purpose in life, therefore, is found in loving and serving God.

The religious view also fosters the concept of a moral self: Each of us is capable of great
good, but also of great evil. When we refuse to love and serve God, we commit our
greatest evil. This refusal is expressed in various ways such as injustice, vanity, pride,
and dishonesty.

Thus, in contrast to the Greek belief that we must develop our rational powers to perceive
the moral order in the universe, the divine view holds that intelligence is no prerequisite
for a moral sense. We do good when we make God the centre of our lives; we do wrong
when we retreat from this commitment. We are rational, but what makes us unique is our
divine likeness.

Divine command theory is, therefore, a single-rule nonconsequentialist normative theory
that says that we should always do the will of God. In other words, whatever the
situation, if we do what God wills, then we do the right thing; if we do not do what God
wills, then no matter what the consequences, we do wrong.

Notice that this theory does not state that we should obey God’s law because we will,
thereby, promote our own or the general good. Perhaps we may accomplish these ends,
but the sole justification for obeying God’s law is that God wills it. The theory also does
not defend the morality of an action by promising some supernatural reward to the
faithful; that is, though the faithful may be rewarded for his/her moral actions, egoistic
actions do not justify morality according to the divine command theorists.

Indeed, divine command theorists would see no intrinsic worth or value in such things as
pleasure, power, or knowledge; instead they propose something like a union with God as
taking the form of heavenly salvation. The great Christian theologian and philosopher
Thomas Aquinas, wring in one of his famous ethical works, Summa Contra Gentiles,
refers to the human’s ultimate happiness as being the contemplation of God. He arrives at
this conclusion after arguing that human happiness does not consist in wealth worldly
power, or sensual pleasures.

4.6 Self attempt questions
I choose the best answer from the alternatives given to each question
1. Which of the following is most relevant for Kant’s theory of morality?
A. the well being of society
B. consequences of actions
C. duty
D hypothetical imperative
E. none of the above
2. For Kant, the only truly good thing is
A. Categorical imperative
B. Hypothetical imperative
C. Good will
D. Happiness
E. Pleasure
3. Which of the following could be an alternative for Kant’s “categorical imperative”?
A. good will
B. the principle of universalizibility
C. a priori knowledge
D. a posteriori knowledge
E. none of the above
4. As a consequence of action is to teleological theory _________________________ is
to deontological theory.
A. result of action
B. the end of action

C. the nature of action
D. performance of duty
E. none of the above
5. What is the ultimate goal of human endeavors according to the divine command
A. pleasure
B. wealth
C. power
D. all of the above
E. none of the above

II Define the following terms
Nonconsequentialist (deontological) theory
Kantian/duty ethics,
Categorical imperative
Hypothetical imperative
Good will
Happiness (according to Kant)
Divine command theory
A priori

III Say true or false
1 Kantian ethics is an example of teleological ethical theories.
2. The purpose of life is found in loving and serving God, according to the religious view
   of human nature.
3. Good will is the highest of all goods, according to Kant.
4. Divine command theory states that we should obey God’s law because we will,
   thereby, promote our own or the general good.
5. In the final analysis, man’s ultimate happiness consists in the contemplation of God,
  according to Thomas Aquinas.

IV Questions for reflection and comprehension
1. Why Kant’s basic principle of morality called the “categorical imperative”?
   How does the categorical imperative become the test for moral action?
2. What do you think of the effort to establish morality on purely a priori foundation?
   Do you believe in objective moral law?
3. The Ten Commandments are good examples are said to be good examples of the
   God-established laws of morality. Can you think of other examples of similar

Donald Palmner (1996). Does the Center Hold? An Introduction to Western Philosophy.
(Chapter 7, Ethics; Chapter 8, Critique of traditional Ethical theories)

Miller, E. D. L.(1984) Questions That Matter: An Invitation to Philosophy. Part Four,
The Question of morality, Chapter 19 (pp 416-429)

Stroll Avrum and Richard H. Popkin, (1961) Introduction to Philosophy. (Chapter 5,
Ethics/Appraisal of Human Character, Conduct, and Aims)

Vincent Barry (1980) Philosophy: A Text With Readings. (Chapter 3, Ethics, pp. 44-78 ;

Wikipepea, the Free Encyclopeadia (Internet Explorer) Kantianism

Wikipepea, the Free Encyclopeadia (Internet Explorer) Deontological Ethics



       5.1 Introduction
       5.2 Aims and Objective
       5.3 Definition and Subject Matter of Civic Education
       5.4 The ultimate goal of civics
       5.5 The importance of civic education
       5.6 Check your progress

5.1 Introduction
Civic Education is very important to produce good citizens enable participate in the
public life of a democracy, identify and use their rights and to discharge their
responsibilities and duties with the necessary knowledge and skills that they acquire for
their own and their country.

Its’ aim is equipping citizens with the necessary knowledge that enable them to be
informed, responsible, competent and active participant in all the three life aspects
(political, social and economic). After having the necessary knowledge and skill citizens
are expected to develop attitude.

5.2 Objectives

The main objective of this unit is to explain the very nature, essence and intention of
civic education. And tries to give you the reason why you learn civics. It helps to
exercise, self administration, as a democratic citizens we need to enjoy those rights that
allow and encourage us to be active participant. The most important political right,
reserved to citizens is the right to participate in governing their nation.

At the end of this unit students will be able to:
      identify and explain what civic education means
      explain the goals of civic education
      explain the purposes and uses of learning civics.
      describe the interdependence between active participation of citizens and
      building democratic system
      discuss goal of civics.
      Understand the multi-disciplinary nature of civic education


The term came from Latin and civics means a citizen or free individual belonging to a
political community. The Latin term civis specifically refers to free native individuals
belonging to a civitas. Civitas is a Latin term, from which the English word city is
derived, signified not merely urban center or local municipality but the state or the
political community as a whole. In the ancient time the Greek small political units (city-
states) were known as civitas. The inhabitants particularly who were native and adult
were termed as citvis.

Civics as a multi-disciplinary study, specifically deals with the following issues
          The meaning and essence of citizens and citizenship.
          Ways of acquiring citizenship.
          How law is made, executed and interpreted.
          The nature and importance of constitution.
          The structures of state
          Theories concerning the essence, origin and development of state
          Forms of government
          Rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens, government bodies and
           their officials.
          The growing multi dimensional interdependence of nations of the world.


When citizens actively participate in their own socio-economic and political affairs it is
important for the realization of a healthy democratic system. Democracy is a political
system in which people are decision makers on their own affairs. It is a system in which
people exercise self administration (self governance). Self administration demands the
active participation of citizens. The participation should not be for the sake of
participation, but for the purpose of bringing change (betterment) in the society.

The ultimate goal of civics is to enable students to participate competently and
responsibly in the monitoring and influencing of public policy. Democratic self
government means that citizens are actively involved in their own governance; they do
not just passively accept the authoritative saying, statement, or pronouncement of others.
In a genuine democratic system citizens are expected to be critical thinkers. They
critically examine the government policy, behavior and activities. And when ever need
arises they influence the law making processes


To promote the development of democratic values and institutions requires careful
attention assiduous cultivation. Civic education aims at producing such kind of citizens
who are competent, vigilant, informed, and responsible citizens.
The active participation of citizens in their own socio-economic and political affairs is
vitally important for the realization of a healthy democratic system. Citizens require the
necessary knowledge, awareness and skills in order to actively participate in the political,
economic and social affairs. Taking civic education course involves acquiring the
necessary knowledge, skill, and attitudes for the students to become, active participant
and responsible citizens. And it can play a significant role democracy building with in a
given country.

Studying civic education is helpful because it enables citizens to

           have knowledge of democratic principles
          develop skills in interpreting political, social and economic activities and
          communication
           know concepts of democracy and citizenship;
          develop attitudes related to trust in government institutions, the nation, and
          Women’s Political Rights
          effectively participate in civic-related and other aspects of their life.

I. Select the best answer among the given alternatives.

1. Civic education does not borrow ideas or theories from one of the following
   science. Which one is that?

           A. Economics        C. Anthropology
           B. Sociology        D. Philosophy

2. Why are vigilant, informed, responsible and active citizens needed in a
   democratic society? Because

           A. in the system citizens administer themselves
           B. they control the activity and behavior of their government
           C. they can properly enjoy their rights and discharge their duties and
           D. all of the above
3. As citizen is to civis ______ to civitas
           A.   state
           B.   political community
           C.   citizenship
           D.   none
4. All of the followings are uses of studying civic education except

           A. It help us to know how government operates
           B. It enables us to develop the skill of protecting our rights and involving in
              political activities
           C. Developing political, social and economic awareness
           D. None
5. Which of the followings refer(s) to democracy?

             A. It is a government of the people
             B. It allows little participation of the people
             C. It is a political system in which people are decision makers
             D. A& B
             E. A&C
6. One of the following is not the purpose of civic education. Identify that one?

              A. It focuses at enabling citizens to be competent, responsible, active
              B. Providing the citizens with the necessary knowledge and skill that
                 make them capable of participating in different dimension of social life
              C. Establishing a self-governing society
              D. None

       A                                                  B
1. Free people                                   A. self-governance
2. Democracy                                           B. Civis
3. Civic education                                     C. Political community
4. State                                               D. Civics
5. The Greek city states                               E. Civitas
                                                       F. minority rule
                                                       G. multi-disciplinary study
                                                       H. government

III.Define the following terms

Civic                            Democracy                        Rule of Law
Civic education                  Government                       Self-governance
Civic Participation              Political Community              State

IV Questions for reflection

1. Why are citizens required to be watchful, alert, actively involving in the decision
making process, in democracy?

2. What kind of democratic system do you imagine in which the people are passive
recipient of orders?


1. R.Ball Alan Modern Politics and Government Hong Kong, 1978.
2. H.Street, Freedom of the Individual and the Law, Great Britain, 1972.
3. R.Robert Calling All Citizens, 1952.
4. R.S.Peter, Ethics and Education, London, 1987.
5. C.Aleeds, Political Studies, 1975.
6. Odera H.Oruka The Philosophy of Liberty, USA 1976
7. W.E.Barker. Social Political Theory
8. Kassaye Amare (2003) Fundamental Principle of Civic Education(ii)


6.2 Objectives
6.3 Origin and Essence of State.
       -   Definition of State
       -   Theories of state
       -   Divine Right Theory
       -   Social Contract Theory
       -   The Marxist Theory
       -   The Conquest Theory of the State
6.4 Structure of state
6.5 Forms of Government
6.6 State Organs
6.7 Check your progress

The concept state has been understood, interpreted and defined in different ways, by
political philosophers and even by lay persons or non-scholars. Some of the questions
raised by those prominent philosophers are: What political system is more preferable and
why? When, why and how state came in to existence? What are the essence and functions
of state? Who should rule and based on what? Where does the political legitimacy rulers
emanate from? Etc.
In this unit we will discuss important concepts like criticizes, state, territory, people,
sovereignty and government. And also, the interrelation among the above mentioned
concepts, implicitly and explicitly will be explained.

At the end of this lesson students will be able to
           identify the elements of state and explain each and their interdependence
           explain the difference between state and government.
           explain the different philosophical theories, concerning the origin and
           purpose of state.
          compare and contrast the purpose and functions of government in different
           political systems.
          explain how participation is related to the purpose of our constitutional
          discuss the advantages and disadvantages of political participation.
          explain ways of acquiring citizenship.
          understand the importance of rule of law and exercise it.

Definition of State
The term state is interchangeably used with nation, country, land and government. To
some extent, the interchangeable usage of these concepts, substituting state is possible. In
our day to day life we use these terms interchangeably; that means one substituting the
other. In casual language, the idea of a "state" and a "country" are usually regarded as
synonymous, although some speakers make efforts to use "country" or "nation" for the
sovereign entities. Others would primarily understand "the State" as a synonym for "the
Government ", or be careful to distinguish between a territorial "country” and a "nation”
of people. Generally, defined as “a state is an organized body of people occupying a
defined territory and living under a government entirely free from external control.” Let
us see each and examine the difference among them.

I. Country:It is the geographical area that includes the landmass (plateau, plain land,
mountain, hill etc.) and water bodies (river, lake, sea, ponds etc.)/ Generally, it refers to
the physical features.

II. Nation:Nation designates a people. Actually in common usage the two words (Nation
and State) are exchangeable. In scholarly discussion there is a distinction especially when
this topic is discussed As Defined by the New Oxford Dictionary of English, “A Nation is
a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history and culture inhabiting a
particular territory”.

A ‘people’ is also the problematic concept of a group of humans which are united by
some common factor. The sum total of individuals who have permanent existence;
sharing common cultural elements makes people. When individuals live collectively
together, in a given area, they develop tradition, custom, belief, language moral codes
that evaluate the action and behavior of the members and more or less similar way of life.
Every member of a group acts and behaves according to the normally or usually accepted
ways. So, a mere sum total of individuals do not make people. It is the existence of
culture that makes possible the existence of people. People, that share more or less
similar cultural elements are designated as nation. This is true in the case of Ethiopia
particularly in the present time.

III.Land: Land may be used for "a country and its people" but also thought of as country
belonging to a nation or a monarch. For instance, in the ancient time, the present time
northern part of Ethiopia, Eritrea, the western part of Yemen was ruled by queen Maceda
or commonly known as queen of Sheba, this area was called land of Sheba. So, Sheba
refers to both the people and the geographical area.

IV. Government: Government is the administrative agent of a state. It is responsible to
execute the laws. It is simply the law enforcing body. The State was a jurisdictional claim
to territorial sovereignty that persisted through time. The Government was the actual
agency that acted to carry out the laws, decrees and proclamations of the State. Thus, the
Government might change from time to time. It is the most dynamic element of state.
Ethiopia experienced different governments or administration systems. Through the
development of state formation, Ethiopia had exposure to different types of governments,
but the state Ethiopia remains unchanged. The government of Ethiopia in the reign

Emperor Haileselassei I was different from that of the Derge period and the present time
government. Each government has its own features and ways of implementing laws. In
the present Ethiopia, the Government at Federal level is the Council of Ministers
established and headed by the Prime Minister.

The following Convention, in America provides us with working definition of state. The
criteria for statehood are generally accepted to be those set out in Article 1 of the
Montevideo Convention Signed at Montevideo on 26 December 1933 and entered into
force on 26 December 1934.

The first article of the convention is read as follows,

The state 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.

There is still a controversy over the definition and essence of state. A major issue in
defining state is the difference between the constitutive and declarative theories of
recognition of states. According to the constitutive theory, a state exists only insofar as it
is recognized by other states. The declarative theory, by contrast, holds that the existence
of a state is independent of its recognition by other states. Which theory is correct is a
controversial issue in international law.


Traditional theories of international politics attribute four Characteristics to the state a
fixed territory a specific population, a government recognized as legitimate, and
sovereignty over its territory and population.

Territory:The presence of a distinct territory with in fixed bounders is the basic element
of the state. Boundaries are intended to be as clear as possible, surveyors plot out exact

lines not only on the land, but also through inland waters that form part of the border
under contemporary international law the territory of the state is considered to extend to
the oceans, air space, and the various resources.

Population: The population of the state consists of two groups, citizens and aliens
Citizens are persons formally recognized under law as having membership in the state.
The population of a state may also include aliens, inhabitants who are not citizens of the
state. According to international law, states are entitled to admit or exclude aliens, but
must observe standards of decent treatment toward those who are admitted.

Government: The third attribute of statehood is the possession of on effective
government capable of extending its authority throughout the territory of the state.
Traditional theories of the state emphasize that the government must be effective capable
of exercising real control over the territory and population, and must be viewed by the
majority of the population as legitimate legitimacy requires that the government be
considered morally acceptable according to prevailing political norms.

Sovereignty: According to the theory of sovereignty, there is no higher authority above
that of the government of the state, and the state possesses supreme decision-making
power with in its territory. In other words, sovereignty means that the state is the supreme
power, subject to the rule neither of some external power nor of a rival power with in its
own boundary.

    Theories of state

Through out the history of political philosophy, the meaning, purpose, function and
origin of state have been perplexing problems that were critically analyzed by the
philosophers existed in different periods. In the coming sub-division of the unit you will
study different political philosophers' theories concerning the essence and origin of state.

Historically, when political thinkers have attempted to discover the essential nature of
'the State' and whether it has legitimacy, they have looked to the origins of that institution
for answers. In general, there are four basic and somewhat overlapping theories of how

the State originated. Each theory carries different implications for the State's relationship
to Society and individual citizens.

     Divine Right Theory

The first theory is a supernatural one which claims that the State, or at least a certain
ruler, is in place through the will of God. State and its institutions, according to this
theory, are natural product. They are purposefully instituted by God/s or
Heavens/Divinity. In short the Super Natural entity      created the State, other institution
like prisons, courts, police and military force etc. and appoints rules who are placed to
fulfill the will of the Creator.

This theory results in theocracy and the Divine Right of Kings. The Divine Right of
Kings is a phrase which refers to European political and religious doctrines of political
absolutism. These are largely, though not exclusively, associated with the mediaeval era,
based on contemporary Christian belief that a monarch owed his rule to the will of God,
not to the will of people, parliament, the aristocracy or any other competing authority and
that any attempt to depose a monarch or to restrict his powers ran contrary to the will of
God. Both the 1931 and 1955(The Revised) constitution of Ethiopia described the blood
line and the divine legitimacy of the emperor. The following two articles (2nd and 4th
Articles) are extracted of the Revised Constitution.

             ARTICLE 2.

             The imperial dignity shall remain perpetually attached to the line of
             Haile Sellassie I, descendant of King Sahle Sellassie, whose line
             descends without interruption from the dynasty of Menlik I, son of
             the Queen of Ethiopia, the Queen of Sheba, and king Solomon of

              ARTICLE 4.
            By virtue of His Imperial blood, as well as by the anointing which
            He has received, the person of the Emperor is sacred. His dignity is
            inviolable and His power indisputable. He is, consequently, entitled
            to all the honors due to Him in accordance with tradition and the
            present Constitution. Any on so bold as to seek to injure the Emperor
            will be punished.
From the above two articles we can understand that the source of political legitimacy (the
reason why people accept the authority of Monarchs) is Divinity. The people had no right
to question, resist or oppose the authority of the monarch, because he had Imperial blood
and elected of God. Revolting against the monarch means, revolting against God.
The following Articles of the constitution indicate that the people were subjects (ruled
Ethiopian subjects shall have the right, in accordance with the conditions prescribed by
law, to assemble peaceably and without arms.
Every Ethiopian subjects has the right to engage in any occupation and, to that end, to
form or join associations in accordance with the law.
No Ethiopian subject may be banished from the Empire.

In the Epistle to the Romans, ch. 13, St. Paul wrote that earthly rulers, even though they
may not be Christians, have been appointed by God to their places of power for the
purpose of punishing evildoers. St. Augustine, the prominent Christian philosopher in
the medieval period, modified these emphases in his work The City of God. While the
City of Man and the City of God may stand at cross-purposes, both of them have been
instituted by God and served His ultimate will. God (or Heavens/Divine power) has a
"purpose" in creating the State, which is the establish God's rule on earth; that is, "God's
kingdom on earth". Even though the City of Man --- the world of secular government ---
may seem ungodly and be governed by sinners, even so, it has been placed on earth for

the protection of the City of God. Therefore, monarchs have been placed on their thrones
for God's purpose, and to question their authority is to question God.

   -   Examples of States that have justified themselves as creations of
   -   Christian States of Europe in the medieval period
   -   Rome and Roman Empire under Caesars
   -   Many Native American empires of Central/South America
   -   The State in China from ancient times to early 1900s
   -   The State in Japan from ancient times to the 1945

              Social Contract Theory

Social Contract Theory is the view that human beings' moral and/or political obligations
are dependent upon a contract or agreement between them to form state.

What in your opinion is the main purpose of government?

How should government get the authority or right to make laws telling
people what they can and cannot do?

What should the people have the right to do if their government does not
serve the purposes for which it was created? Why should they have this

According to this theory human beings for the purpose of securing their life they
deliberately agreed to establish law , law enforcing institutions like police force, court,
prison center etc and there by the state. State is not created. It is a result of the
development of society. Social Contract, agreement by which human beings are said to
have abandoned the "state of nature" in order to form the society in which they now live.
Hobbes, Locke and J.J Rousseau, each developed differing versions of the social contract,
but all agreed that certain freedoms had been surrendered for society's protection and that
the government has definite responsibilities to its citizens.

Socrates uses something quite like a social contract argument in the early Platonic
dialogue, Crito, Socrates makes a compelling argument as to why he must stay in prison
and accept the death penalty, rather than escape and go into exile in another Greek city.

   We admit of no government by divine right...the only legitimate right to govern is an
   express grant of power from the governed.

   William Henry Harrison (1773 - 1841)
   U.S. president.
   Inaugural presidential address

He personifies the Laws of Athens, and, speaking in their voice, explains that he has
acquired an overwhelming obligation to obey the Laws because they have made his entire
way of life, and even the fact of his very existence, possible. They made it possible for
his mother and father to marry, and therefore to have legitimate children, including
himself. Having been born, the city of Athens, through its laws, then required that his
father care for and educate him. However, Social Contract Theory is rightly associated
with modern moral and political theory and is given its first full exposition and defense
by Thomas Hobbes. After Hobbes, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau are the best
known proponents of this enormously influential theory, which has been one of the most
dominant theories within moral and political theory throughout the history of the modern
West. This theory is now widely implemented in many democratic nations of the world
including Ethiopia.

A. Thomas Hobbes
Thomas Hobbes, (1588-1679), rejects the theory of the Divine Right of Kings or the
Natural Power of Kings. Its’ view held that a king’s authority was invested in him (or,
presumably, her) by God, that such authority was absolute, and therefore that the basis of
political obligation lay in our obligation to obey God absolutely. According to this view,
then, political obligation is subsumed under religious obligation. He argues, radically for
his times, that political authority and obligation are based on the individual self-interests
of members of society who are understood to be equal to one another, with no single
individual invested with any essential authority to rule over the rest. At the same time, he

maintained the conservative position that the monarch, which he called the Sovereign,
must have absolute authority if society is to survive.

Hobbes' political theory is best understood if taken in two parts: his theory of human
motivation, Psychological Egoism, and his theory of the social contract, founded on the
hypothetical State of Nature. Hobbes has, first and foremost, a particular theory of human
nature, which gives rise to a particular view of morality and politics, as developed in his
philosophical masterpiece, Leviathan, published in 1651. The Scientific Revolution, with
its important new discoveries that the universe could be both described and predicted in
accordance with universal laws of nature, greatly influenced Hobbes. He sought to
provide a theory of human nature that would parallel the discoveries being made in the
sciences of the inanimate universe. His psychological theory is therefore informed by
mechanism, the general view that everything in the universe is produced by nothing other
than matter in motion. According to Hobbes, this extends to human behavior. Human
macro-behavior can be aptly described as the effect of certain kinds of micro-behavior,
even though some of this latter behavior is invisible to us. So, such behaviors as walking,
talking, and the like are themselves produced by other actions inside of us. And these
other actions are themselves caused by the interaction of our bodies with other bodies,
human or otherwise, which create in us certain chains of causes and effects, and which
eventually give rise to the human behavior that we can plainly observe. We, including all
of our actions and choices, are then, according to this view, as explainable in terms of
universal laws of nature as are the motions of heavenly bodies. The gradual disintegration
of memory, for example, can be explained by inertia. As we are presented with ever more
sensory information, the residue of earlier impressions ‘slows down' over time. From
Hobbes’ point of view, we are essentially very complicated organic machines, responding
to the stimuli of the world mechanistically and in accordance with universal laws of
human nature.

In Hobbes' view, this mechanistic quality of human psychology implies the subjective
nature of normative claims. ‘Love’ and ‘hate’, for instance, are just words we use to
describe the things we are drawn to and repelled by, respectively. So, too, the terms
‘good’ and ‘bad’ have no meaning other than to describe our appetites and aversions.

Moral terms do not, therefore, describe some objective state of affairs, but are rather
reflections of individual tastes and preferences.

In addition to Subjectivism, Hobbes also infers from his mechanistic theory of human
nature that humans are necessarily and exclusively self-interested. Human beings are self-
centered. All men pursue only what they perceive to be in their own individually
considered best interests - they respond mechanistically by being drawn to that which
they desire and repelled by that to which they are averse. This is a universal claim: it is
meant to cover all human actions under all circumstances – in society or out of it, with
regard to strangers and friends alike, with regard to small ends and the most generalized
of human desires, such as the desire for power and status. Everything we do is motivated
solely by the desire to better our own situations, and satisfy as many of our own,
individually considered desires as possible. We are infinitely appetitive and only
genuinely concerned with our own selves. According to Hobbes, even the reason that
adults care for small children can be explicated in terms of the adults' own self-interest
(he claims that in saving an infant by caring for it, we become the recipient of a strong
sense of obligation in one who has been helped to survive rather than allowed to die).

According to Hobbes, the justification for political obligation is this: given that men are
naturally self-interested, yet they are rational, they will choose to submit to the authority
of a Sovereign in order to be able to live in a civil society, which is conducive to their
own interests. Thus the origin of state is the desire of human beings to abandon the State
of Nature and enter in to agreement to form a state under the despotic monarch. Hobbes
argues for this by imagining men in their natural state, or in other words, the State of
Nature. In the State of Nature, which is purely hypothetical according to Hobbes, men are
naturally and exclusively self-interested, they are more or less equal to one another, (even
the strongest man can be killed in his sleep), there are limited resources, and yet there is
no power able to force men to cooperate. Given these conditions in the State of Nature,
Hobbes concludes that the State of Nature would be unbearably brutal. In the State of
Nature, every person is always in fear of losing his life to another. In such condition men
find themselves in the absence of freedom, security and peace. They have no capacity to
ensure the long-term satisfaction of their needs or desires. No long-term or complex

cooperation is possible because the State of Nature can be aptly described as a state of
utter distrust. Given Hobbes' reasonable assumption that most people want first and
foremost to avoid their own deaths, he concludes that the State of Nature is the worst
possible situation in which men can find themselves. It is the state of perpetual and
unavoidable war. It is a situation in which every one is the enemy of every other. His
Leviathan (1651) presents a bleak picture of human beings in the state of nature, where
life is "nasty, brutish, and short." Fear of violent death is the principal motive that causes
people to create a state, contracting to surrender their natural rights and to submit to the
absolute authority of a sovereign.

The situation is not, however, hopeless. Because men are reasonable, they can see their
way out of such a state by recognizing the laws of nature, which show them the means by
which to escape the State of Nature and create a civil society. The first and most
important law of nature commands that each man be willing to pursue peace when others
are willing to do the same, all the while retaining the right to continue to pursue war
when others do not pursue peace. Being reasonable, and recognizing the rationality of
this basic precept of reason, men can be expected to construct a Social Contract that will
afford them a life other than that available to them in the State of Nature. This contract is
constituted by two distinguishable contracts. First, they must agree to establish society by
collectively and reciprocally renouncing the rights they had against one another in the
State of Nature. Second, they must imbue some one person or assembly of persons with
the authority and power to enforce the initial contract. In other words, to ensure their
escape from the State of Nature, they must both agree to live together under common
laws, and create an enforcement mechanism for the social contract and the laws that
constitute it. Since the sovereign is invested with the authority and power to mete out
punishments for breaches of the contract which are worse than not being able to act as
one pleases, men have good, albeit self-interested, reason to adjust themselves to the
artifice of morality in general, and justice in particular. Society becomes possible
because, whereas in the State of Nature there was no power able to "overawe them all",
now there is an artificially and conventionally superior and more powerful person who
can force men to cooperate. While living under the authority of a Sovereign can be harsh
(Hobbes argues that because men's passions can be expected to overwhelm their reason,

the Sovereign must have absolute authority in order for the contract to be successful) it is
at least better than living in the State of Nature. And, no matter how much we may object
to how poorly a Sovereign manages the affairs of the state and regulates our own lives,
we are never justified in resisting his power because it is the only thing which stands
between us and what we most want to avoid, the State of Nature.

According to this argument, morality, politics, society, and everything that comes along
with it, all of which Hobbes calls ‘commodious living' are purely conventional. Prior to
the establishment of the basic social contract, according to which men agree to live
together and the contract to embody a Sovereign with absolute authority, nothing is
immoral or unjust - anything goes. After these contracts are established, however, then
society becomes possible, and people can be expected to keep their promises, cooperate
with one another, and so on. The Social Contract is the most fundamental source of all
that is good and that which we depend upon to live well. Our choice is either to abide by
the terms of the contract, or return to the State of Nature, which Hobbes argues no
reasonable person could possibly prefer. Reason led men to abandon their previous worst
condition of life, in the State of Nature and agree to establish ordered life in a state. In a
state there is no fear of death, no insecurity, no lack of peace, etc

B. John Locke
According to John Locke, 1632-1704, the State of Nature is a very different type of place,
and so his argument concerning the social contract and the nature of men's relationship to
authority are consequently quite different. While Locke uses Hobbes’ methodological
device of the State of Nature, as do virtually all social contract theorists, he uses it to a
quite different end. Locke’s arguments for the social contract and for the right of citizens
to revolt against their king were enormously influential on the democratic revolutions that
followed, especially on Thomas Jefferson, and the founders of the United States.

His most important and influential political writings are contained in his Two Treatises
on Government. The first treatise is concerned almost exclusively with the argument
intended to prove that political authority was derived from religious authority, also
known by the description of the Divine Right of Kings was wrong. The second treatise

contains Locke’s own constructive view of the aims and justification for civil
government, and is titled "An Essay Concerning the True Original Extent and End of
Civil Government".

According to Locke, the State of Nature, the natural condition of mankind, is a state of
perfect and complete liberty to conduct one's life as one best sees fit, free from the
interference of others. This does not mean, however, that it is a state of license: one is not
free to do anything at all one pleases, or even anything that one judges to be in one’s
interest. The State of Nature, although a state wherein there is no civil authority or
government to punish people for transgressions against laws, is not a state without
morality. The State of Nature is pre-political, but it is not pre-moral. Persons are assumed
to be equal to one another in such a state, and therefore equally capable of discovering
and being bound by the Law of Nature. The Law of Nature, which is on Locke’s view the
basis of all morality, and given to us by God, commands that we not harm others with
regards to their "life, health, liberty, or possessions" (par. 6). Because we all belong
equally to God, and because we cannot take away that which is rightfully His, we are
prohibited from harming one another. So, the State of Nature is a state of liberty where
persons are free to pursue their own interests and plans, free from interference, and,
because of the Law of Nature and the restrictions that it imposes upon persons, it is
relatively peaceful.

Property plays an essential role in Locke's argument for civil government and the contract
that establishes it. According to Locke, private property is created when a person mixes
his labor with the raw materials of nature. So, for example, when one tills a piece of land
in nature, and makes it into a piece of farmland, which produces food, then one has a
claim to own that piece of land and the food produced upon it. Given the implications of
the Law of Nature, there are limits as to how much property one can own: one is not
allowed to take so more from nature than oneself can use, thereby leaving others without
enough for themselves. Because nature is given to all of mankind by God for its common
subsistence, one cannot take more than his own fair share. Property is the linchpin of
Locke’s argument for the social contract and civil government because it is the protection

of their property, including their property in their own bodies that men seek when they
decide to abandon the State of Nature.

Locke believed that, the State of Nature is not a condition of individuals, as it is for
Hobbes. Rather, it is populated by mothers and fathers with their children, or families -
what he calls "conjugal society". These societies are based on the voluntary agreements
to care for children together, and they are moral but not political. Political society comes
into being when individual men, representing their families, come together in the State of
Nature and agree to each give up the executive power to punish those who transgress the
Law of Nature, and hand over that power to the public power of a government. Having
done this, they then become subject to the will of the majority. In other words, by making
a compact to leave the State of Nature and form society, they make “one body politic
under one government” and submit themselves to the will of that body. One joins such a
body, either from its beginnings, or after it has already been established by others, only
by explicit consent.

Because Locke did not envision the State of Nature as grimly as did Hobbes, he can
imagine conditions under which one would be better off rejecting a particular civil
government and returning to the State of Nature, with the aim of constructing a better
civil government in its place. It is therefore both the view of human nature, and the nature
of morality itself, which account for the differences between Hobbes' and Locke’s views
of the social contract.

C. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) wrote during what was arguably the headiest period
in the intellectual history of modern France--the Enlightenment. He was one of the bright
lights of that intellectual movement.
He has two distinct social contract theories. The first is found in his essay, Discourse on
the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men, commonly referred to as the
Second Discourse, and is an account of the moral and political evolution of human beings
over time, from a State of Nature to modern society. As such it contains his naturalized
account of the social contract, which he sees as very problematic. The second is his

normative or idealized theory of the social contract, and is meant to provide the means by
which to alleviate the problems that modern society has created for us, as laid out in the
Second Discourse.

Rousseau wrote his Second Discourse in response to an essay contest sponsored by the
Academy of Dijon. (Rousseau had previously won the same essay contest with an earlier
essay, commonly referred to as the First Discourse.) In it he describes the historical
process by which man began in a State of Nature and over time ‘progressed' into civil
society. According to Rousseau, the State of Nature was a peaceful and quixotic time.
People lived solitary, uncomplicated lives. Their few needs were easily satisfied by
nature. Because of the abundance of nature and the small size of the population,
competition was non-existent, and persons rarely even saw one another, much less had
reason for conflict or fear. Moreover, these simple, morally pure persons were naturally
endowed with the capacity for pity, and therefore were not inclined to bring harm to one

according to Rousseau, was the invention of private property, which constituted the
pivotal moment in humanity's evolution out of a simple, pure state into one characterized
by greed, competition, vanity, inequality, and vice. For Rousseau the invention of
property constitutes humanity’s ‘fall from grace’ out of the State of Nature.

Having introduced private property, initial conditions of inequality became more
pronounced. Some have property and others are forced to work for them, and the
development of social classes begins. Eventually, those who have property notice that it
would be in their interests to create a government that would protect private property
from those who do not have it but can see that they might be able to acquire it by force.
So, government gets established, through a contract, which purports to guarantee equality
and protection for all, even though its true purpose is to fossilize the very inequalities that
private property has produced. In other words, the contract, which claims to be in the
interests of everyone equally, is really in the interests of the few who have become
stronger and richer as a result of the developments of private property. This is the

naturalized social contract, which Rousseau views as responsible for the conflict and
competition from which modern society suffers.

The normative social contract, argued for by Rousseau in The Social Contract (1762), is
meant to respond to this sorry state of affairs and to remedy the social and moral ills that
have been produced by the development of society. The distinction between history and
justification, between the factual situation of mankind and how it ought to live together,
is of the utmost importance to Rousseau. While we ought not to ignore history, nor ignore
the causes of the problems we face, we must resolve those problems through our capacity
to choose how we ought to live. Might never make right, despite how often it pretends
that it can.

Rousseau says, "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains". Humans are
essentially free, and were free in the State of Nature, but the ‘progress' of civilization has
substituted subservience to others for that freedom, through dependence, economic and
social inequalities, and the extent to which we judge ourselves through comparisons with
others. Since a return to the State of Nature is neither feasible nor desirable, the purpose
of politics is to restore freedom to us, thereby reconciling who we truly and essentially
are with how we live together. So, this is the fundamental philosophical problem that The
Social Contract seeks to address: how can we be free and live together? Or, put another
way, how can we live together without succumbing to the force and coercion of others?
We can do so, Rousseau maintains, by submitting our individual, particular wills to the
collective or general will, created through agreement with other free and equal persons.
Like Hobbes and Locke before him, and in contrast to the ancient philosophers, all men
are made by nature to be equals, therefore no one has a natural right to govern others, and
therefore the only justified authority is the authority that is generated out of agreements
or covenants.

The most basic covenant, the social pact, is the agreement to come together and form a
people, a collectivity, which by definition is more than and different from a mere
aggregation of individual interests and wills. This act, where individual persons become a
people is "the real foundation of society”. Through the collective renunciation of the

individual rights and freedom that one has in the State of Nature, and the transfer of these
rights to the collective body, a new ‘person', as it were, is formed. The sovereign is thus
formed when free and equal persons come together and agree to create themselves anew
as a single body, directed to the good of all considered together. So, just as individual
wills are directed towards individual interests, the general will, once formed, is directed
towards the common good, understood and agreed to collectively. Included in this
version of the social contract is the idea of reciprocated duties: the sovereign is
committed to the good of the individuals who constitute it, and each individual is
likewise committed to the good of the whole. Given this, individuals cannot be given
liberty to decide whether it is in their own interests to fulfill their duties to the Sovereign,
while at the same time being allowed to reap the benefits of citizenship. They must be
made to conform themselves to the general will, they must be “forced to be free”.

Rousseau's social contract theories together form a single, consistent view of our moral
and political situation. We are endowed with freedom and equality by nature, but our
nature has been corrupted by our contingent social history. We can overcome this
corruption, however, by invoking our free will to reconstitute ourselves politically, along
strongly democratic principles, which is good for us, both individually and collectively.

D. The Marxist Theory
The Marxist and the fourth theories are ones of conflict or straggle. The Marxist theory
claims that the State emerges due to internal warfare within the Society. Karl Marx
popularized this view by analyzing the State as an agency of class warfare by which the
capitalists controlled the workers. For Marx and his belief in inevitable class conflict, the
State is an expression and protector of one segment of Society at the expense of another
segment. Marx and Engels asserted that the key to understanding human culture history
and the essence of state was the struggle between the classes. They used the term class to
refer to a group of people within society who share the same social and economic status.
The classes are antagonistic. According to Marx and Engels, class struggles have
occurred in every form of society, no matter what its economic structure, or mode of
production: slavery, feudalism, or capitalism. In each of these kinds of societies, a
minority of people own or control the means of production, such as land, raw materials,

tools and machines, labor, and money. This minority constitutes the ruling class. The vast
majority of people own and control very little. They mainly own their own capacity to
work. The ruling class uses its economic power to exploit workers by appropriating their
surplus labor.

Marx, in order to understand the origin, essence and function of state, studied the selected
past and capitalist societies’ social, economic and political conditions. Marx in his
analysis introduced five social systems: primitive social system, slave owning, feudalism,
capitalism, socialism and the last social system communism, which is the Marxist dream.
According to Marxists, state appeared at a certain evolutionary development human
society. State came in to existence with the appearance of private property in the slave
owning system. Private property resulted in the class division (propertied, the slave
master and property less, the slave). A state is a machine for the maintenance of the
domination of one class over another. Thus, when private property is abolished and when
and where there will be no class division (in a communist society) state gradually
‘weathers away’. Since in the classless society (Communism) in which property is owned
communally, the state has no function of defending the economic interest of any class. At
last, it brings about the no more existence of the state.

The state did not always exist. Until the appearance of classes the state did not exist. In
developed communism there will be no state. Thus, state has historical beginning and
end (in the communism). What is the earliest social system in which there was no class
division and state? What were the features of the society?

Prior to class division there appeared division of labor, in the antiquity societies
(primitive societies). At last, social division of labor gave birth to social classes division.
In other words, the emergence of the state is a product of the social division of labor. In
the primitive societies, the division of labor was based on nature. It was between males
and females. So long as this social division of labor is only at elementary or level, all
members of the society in turn exercise practically all its functions. There is no state.
There are no special state functions.

In the primitive communal society, there is no private property. Any thing that is
important for the members belongs to the community. It is a communal and egalitarian
society, in which every one is at equal status and enjoys communal property.

In the feudal society the feudal lord, and only he, exercises throughout his domain all
the functions enumerated above, functions that had devolved on the adult collectivity in
primitive societies.

This feudal lord is the absolute master of his realm. He is the only one who has the right
to bear arms at all times; he is the only policeman, the only constable; he is the sole
judge; he is the only one who has the right to coin money; he is the sole minister of
finance. He exercises throughout his domain all the classic functions performed by a state
as we know it today.

What does the feudal lord then do?

He partially delegates his powers to others - but not to free men, since the latter belong to
a social class in opposition to the seigniorial class. The feudal lord delegates part of his
power to people completely under his control: serfs who are part of his domestic staff.
Their servile origin is reflected in many present-day titles: “constable” comes from comes
stabuli, head serf of the stables; “minister” is the serf ministrable, i.e., the serf assigned
by the lord to minister to his needs - to act as his attendant, servant, assistant, agent etc.;
“marshal” is the serf who takes care of the carriages, the horses, etc. (from marah scalc,
Old High German for keeper of the horses).

Needless to say, in the course of the evolution of society, the function of the state
becomes much more complex, with many more nuances, than it is in a feudal regime
such as we have just very schematically described.

     The modern bourgeois state
This new society is no longer dominated by feudal lords but by capitalism, by modern
capitalists. As we know, the monetary needs of the modern state - the new central power,
more or less absolute monarchy - become greater and greater, from the fifteenth to
sixteenth century onward. It is the money of the capitalists, of the merchant and
commercial bankers, that in large part fills the coffers of the state.

Ever since that time, to the extent that the capitalists pay for the upkeep of the state, they
will demand that the latter place itself completely at their service. They will make this
quite clearly felt and understood by the very nature of the laws they enact and by the
institutions they create.

Several institutions which today appear democratic in nature, for example the
parliamentary institution, clearly reveal the class nature of the bourgeois state. Thus, in
most of the countries in which parliamentarianism was instituted, only the bourgeoisie
had the right to vote. This state of affairs lasted in most Western countries until the end of
the last century or even the beginning of the twentieth century. Universal suffrage is, as
we can see, of relatively recent invention in the history of capitalism.

The parliamentary institution is a typical example of the very direct very mechanical
bond that exists - even in the bourgeois state - between the domination of the ruling class
and the exercise of state power.

There are other examples. Let us look at the jury in the judicial system. The jury (a group
of people, usually twelve people, chosen to give a verdict (jury decision) on a legal case
that is presented before them in a court of law) appears to be an institution eminently
democratic in character, especially when compared to the administration of justice by

irremovable judges, all members of the ruling class over whom the people have no

But from what social layer were - and still in very large measure today, are - the members
of a jury chosen? From the bourgeoisie. There were even special qualifications,
comparable to property-holding requirements for voting, for being able to sit on a jury - a
juror had to be a homeowner, pay a certain amount of taxes, etc. To illustrate this very
direct link between the machinery of the state and the ruling class in the bourgeois era.
The parliament of Ethiopia in the reign of Emperor Haileselassie I had such nature. Who
were the members of the parliament, legislators? The then parliament was bicameral (A
parliament with two legislative chambers: having two separate and distinct lawmaking
assemblies) in its structure. The two chambers were Chamber of Deputy (“Yehege
Memeria Meker Bet”) and Chamber of the Senate (“Yehege Mewesegna Meker Bet”).
Both chambers were composed of nobilities, lords, princes, high rank persons, gentle men
from well to do families etc. Serfs, the majority were not represented in the parliament
nor had totally the right to be elected. The 1955 constitution of Ethiopia explicitly shows
that privet property or wealth was important requirement to join the parliament. Article
96 and 103 are dedicated to separate the eligibles from the nonstarters to be
parliamentarians. Article 96 prohibits those who are with out property, to be the members
of the Chamber of Deputy. It says;

         ARTICLE 96
To be eligible as a Deputy, a person must be, by birth, an Ethiopian subject who:
   (a)     has reached the age of twenty-five years;
   (b)     is a bona fide resident and owner of property in his electoral district, to the
         extent repaired by the electoral law; and
   (c)     is not disqualified under any provision of the electoral law.

Among the legal requirements (age, property, nationality and loyalty to the Emperor)
property is the most difficult one to possess. Property was owned by few lords, princes,
nobilities and the like

The majority of Ethiopian population was land or property less. These few propertied
privileged persons occupy sits in the parliament discuss issues, make laws and polices.
Do you think that the laws made by the propertied people reflect the interest of the
majority, the property less? Never at all. The laws made by the parliamentarians and the
above two articles are not intended to satisfy the majority or the poor. The propertied
class uses the parliament as a means of fulfilling their desire.

The appearance and withering away of law, similar to the appearance and withering of
the state, is connected with two extremely important historical limitations. Law (and the
state) appears with the division of society into classes. Passing through a long path of
development, full of revolutionary leaps and qualitative changes, law and the state will
wither away under communism as a result of the disappearance of classes and of all
survivals of class society.

To sum up, the state for Marxism is a special organ that appears at a certain moment in
the historical evolution of mankind and that is condemned to disappear in the course of
this same evolution. It is born from the division of society into classes and will disappear
at the same time that this division disappears. It is not the agreement of the people as the
consent theory says rather disagreement or internal conflict between the antagonistic
classes that gave birth to the state. It is born as an instrument in the hands of the
possessing class for the purpose of maintaining the domination of this class over society,
and it will disappear along with this class domination.

       The Conquest Theory of the State

All great civilizations, in their early stages, are based on success in war.

Kenneth Clark (1903 - 1983)
British art historian

The conquest theory of the state stands in sharp contrast to the preceding social contract
theory, and attempts to ground the primitive State in historical fact rather than political
conjecture. A common expression of the conquest theory runs as follows: originally there
were agricultural tribes who settled in certain areas where they became dependent upon
the land. Roving nomads, who were perhaps herders, waged war on the more sedentary
tribes for the obvious economic benefits to be gained. At first, the nomads killed and
pillaged, but they discovered it was in their long term economic interests to enslave and
extract tribute from the conquered people instead. This is used as the basic model for how
the institution of the State arose.

The advocates of this theory believed that material need was the prime motivator of
human beings and that progress is produced by economic causes, not by political ones.
The 19th-20th century German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer spearheaded an analysis
of these key terms in his classic work The State. Oppenheimer defined the State, "I mean
by it that summation of privileges and dominating positions which are brought into being
by extra-economic power....I mean by Society, the totality of concepts of all purely
natural relations and institutions between man and man..."(xxxiii). (1) He contrasted what
he terms 'the political means' with 'the economic means' of acquiring wealth or power.
The State uses the political means -- in other words, force -- to plunder and exploit
Society which used the economic means -- in other words, co-operation. The State may
be considered to be a continuing act of war committed against Society by a separate
group. Thus, the State was the enemy of Society.

Oppenheimer identified the two basic means by which men satisfy their material needs:
through their own labor or through expropriating the labor of others. The former is the
economic means: the latter is the political means.

Oppenheimer discovered the origin of the State within the 'economic impulse of man' --
or, rather, within those men who wished to satisfy this impulse through the political

means. He posited six stages through which a conquering group typically passes in order
to become a State. At first, a warlike group raids and plunders another vulnerable one.
Second, the victimized group ceases to actively resist. In response, the raiders now
merely plunder the surplus, leaving their victims alive and with enough food to ensure the
production of future plunder. Eventually, the two groups come to acknowledge mutual
interests, such as protecting the crops from a third tribe. Third, the victims offer tribute to
the raiders, eliminating the need for violence. Fourth, the two groups merge territorially.
Fifth, the warlike group assumes the right to arbitrate disputes.

Oppenheimer described the last stage in which both groups develop the 'habit of rule':

"The two groups, separated to begin with, and then united on one territory, are at first
merely laid alongside one another, then are scattered through one another...soon the
bonds of relations united the upper and lower strata."

Thus the State that originated from external conquest evolves into one of continuing
internal conquest by which one group -- or a coalition of groups -- use the political means
to attain wealth and power at the expense of those who actually labor. The State arises
and maintains itself as the enemy of Society.
Although the conquest theory has much greater historical validity than the consent
theory, debate continues as to what implication the origin of the State has upon the
legitimacy of current states.

Do you see any similarity between the Marxist and conquest theory of the state?

Oppenheimer's position may resemble Marx's but there are at least two key differences.
1. He contends that, however the State may evolve, its origin is to be found in external
conflict, not an internal one. For Marx the origin of state is internal conflict between the
propertied and property less section of the society. But for the conquest theory the source
of state is external conflict; that is, the powerful ones control the weak.

2. He defines two classes as entirely separate entities -- those who use the political means
(the State) and those who use the economic means (Society), thus removing the
inevitability of conflict within Society. The State is an imposed cost upon Society, not an
inevitable result of internal conflict.

6.4     structure of state
The states of the world are different in different ways. Their difference might be because
of either their structure (how power is distributed), the form of government (how the top
official is selected) that they have, the type of ideology that they use in order to the
leaders have political legitimacy, how and for how long the important public officials or
the representatives of the people are elected. Political legitimacy is the willingness of the
population to accept decisions of the state, its government and courts, which go against
personal choices or interests.If the leaders are periodically elected, the state in question is
a republic. On the other hand if the head of the state is a monarch, it will be believed that
he (king) or she (queen) had divine right. As it has been mentioned above, in a monarchic
system of government the head of the state is elected by God to rule the subjects till the
time of his or her death. There is no periodic election. The next diagram may help us to
observe the different characteristics of the state.

                                          Forms of State

Structure o f             Forms of                     Politico- legal system
State                     Government                   (Ideology)

                                                           Dictatorship         Monarchic
      Unita                   Presidenti
      ry                      al

      Federal                 Parliamentar                 Democrati            Republ
                              y                            c                    ic

      Confederal              Semi-presidential

(A) Unitary state structure

It is a type of state in which a constitution vests all governmental power in the central
government. Most countries are unitary systems, with laws giving virtually all authority
to the central government. The central government may delegate duties to cities or other
administrative units, but it retains final authority and can retract any tasks it has

This type of state structure is appropriate in relatively homogenous society; that means,
where there is no a great disparity in terms of language, culture, religion etc. in the
society. It is also appropriate in geographically compact country. The central government
in a unitary system is much more powerful than the central government in a federal
system. Cameroon, France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Morocco, South Korea, Sweden,
Uruguay and Ethiopia, during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie and Reign of Dergue
are examples of unitary systems.

(b) Federal State Structure
The word federal comes from the Latin term fidere, meaning “to trust.” Countries with
federal political systems have both a central government and governments based in
smaller political units, usually called states, provinces, or territories. These smaller
political units surrender some of their political power to the central government, relying
on it to act for the common good.

In federalism a constitution distributes powers between a central government and sub
divisional governments, giving to both substantial responsibilities and powers, including
the power to collect taxes and to pass and enforce laws regulating the conduct of

This state structure is common in the nations which have heterogeneous society and that
are not geographically compact (that is not easy for centralized administration). In a state
whose people are diversified in terms of ethnicity, language, tradition, custom, way of
life, psychological make-up, etc. implementing federal state structure is advisable.

In this state structure dual jurisdictions and dual systems of government exist. In a federal
system, laws are made both by state, provincial, or territorial governments and by a
central government. In the United States, for example, people who live in the state of
Ohio must obey the laws made by the Ohio legislature and the Congress of the United
States. In Canada, residents of the province of Québec follow the laws made by Québec’s
legislature and those made by the Canadian parliament. The same holds also true in
Ethiopia, for example, the residents of the Oromia regional state are obedient to both the
federal state law and the Oromia regional state law.

The division of powers is set down in written constitution. The mere existence of both
national and state governments does not make a system federal. What is important is that
a constitution divides governmental powers between the national government and the
constituent governments, giving substantial functions to each.
In USA constitutional court exists to settle disputes between the two levels of
government. In the existing Ethiopia this is done by the House of Federation whose main
task is interpreting the constitution. In a federal system of government, neither the federal
government nor the state government has the right to take away power and authority
constitutionally belonging to the other.
In the United States the subunits are called states (of which there are 50 Fifty) in
Germany Lander (10), in Austria also Lander (9) in Canada provinces (10) in
Switzerland, cantons (26) in Ethiopia also state or Kilele (9)

Federal political systems divide power and resources between central and regional
governments. The balance of power between the two levels of government varies from
country to country, but most federal systems grant substantial autonomy to state or
provincial governments. Central governments decide issues that concern the whole
country, such as organizing an army, building major roads, and making treaties with other
countries. In addition to the United States, Canada and Ethiopia countries that are

considered federalist include Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico,
Nigeria, and Switzerland.

(C) Confederal state structure

It is the kind state in which sovereign nations by a constitutional compact create a Central
government but carefully limit the power of the central government and do not give it the
power to regulate the conduct of individuals directly. A confederation is similar to a
federal system but gives less power to the central government. This political concept
refers to a union of sovereign states each of which is free to act independently. Some
times this is termed as loose federation. The loose alliances of countries or other political
entities that make up a confederation seek to cooperate with one another while retaining
ultimate control of their own internal policies. Unlike federal systems, confederations
usually give each member nation absolute control over its citizens and territory. The
central government decides only issues that affect all members of the confederation.


Regarding how the law should be implemented and what would be the power and
function of the head of state and head of government what ever government is one of
     1. Presidential form of government
     2. Parliamentary form of government
     3. Semi-presidential form of government

     1. Presidential form of government
It is a system of government that features a president as the nation's head of state and
active chief executive authority. The term is usually used in contrast to a parliamentary

According to this system, the central principle is that the legislative and executive
branches of government should be separate. This leads to the separate election by the
electorate or an electoral college of the president, who is elected to office for a fixed term

of office, and only removable in extreme cases for gross misdeamour by impeachment
and dismissal. In addition he or she does not need to choose cabinet members from or
commanding the support of, a parliamentary majority.

In a presidential system, the president usually has special privileges in the enactment of
legislation, namely the possession of a power of veto over legislation of bills, in some
cases subject to the power of parliament by weighed majority to over-ride the veto.
However, it is extremely rare for the president to have the power to directly propose laws,
or cast a vote on legislation. The legislature and the president are thus expected to serve
as a check on each other's powers. The fact that a presidential system separates the
executive from the legislature is sometimes held up as an advantage, in that each branch
may scrutinize the actions of the other. In a parliamentary system, the executive is drawn
from the legislature, making criticism of one by the other considerably less likely.
According to supporters of the presidential system, the lack of checks and balances
means that misconduct by a prime minister may never be discovered.
In this system, the legislature and the president have equally valid mandates from the

Presidential governments also make no distinction between the positions of Head of
Government and Head of State, both of which are held by the president. While many
parliamentary governments have a symbolic president or monarch whose constitutional
prerogatives may generally be exercised by the Prime Minister, presidents in presidential
systems are always active participants in the political process, and never symbolic
figurehead, though the extent of their relative power or powerlessness may be influenced
by the political makeup of parliament, and whether their supporters or opponents are
dominant. In some presidential systems such as South Korea or the Republic of China (on
Taiwan), there is an office of the Prime Minister or premier, but unlike semi-presidential
or parliamentary systems, the premier is responsible to the president rather than to the
legislature. Countries with Presidential systems include the United States, Mexico, and
most nations in South America.

     2. Parliamentary form of government

In short it is a multi-party form of government in which the executive branch (the
Cabinet) is formally dependent on the Parliament's acceptance. The Cabinet, or single
members thereof, can be removed by the Parliament through a vote of non-confidence. In
addition, the executive branch can dissolve the legislature and call extra-ordinary
elections. There is no clear-cut separation between the Parliament (the legislature) and
the other branches of government.
The leader of the executive Cabinet, the Prime Minister is usually the head of
government - at least in practice. In most parliamentary systems the Prime Minister and
the members of Cabinet are also members of the legislature. The leader of the leading
party in the Parliament is often appointed to Prime Minister. This is also true in the
present Ethiopia.

Under the parliamentary system the roles of head of state and head government are more
or less separated. In most parliamentary systems, the head of state is generally a
ceremonial position, often a monarch or president, however sometimes retaining duties
without much political relevance, such as Civil Service appointments. In many (but not
all) parliamentary systems, the head of state may have reserve powers which are usable in
a crisis. In most cases however, such powers are either by convention or by constitutional
rule only exercised upon the advice and approval of the head of government.
Parliamentary systems vary as to the degree to which they have a formal written
constitution and the degree to which that constitution describes the day to day working of
the government. They also vary as to the number of parties within the system and the
dynamics between the parties. Also, relations between the central government and local
governments vary in parliamentary systems; they may be federal or unitary states.
In contrast in parliamentary systems, government is usually carried out by a cabinet
headed by a Prime Minister who in many instances are members of parliament, are
directly accountable to parliament and may by parliamentary vote be dismissed.

A fusion of power exists between the legislative and the executive in which the executive
is not independently elected as in a presidential system, but instead is elected by the
members of the majority party or parties in the legislature,

At the heart of the parliamentary system is the concept of responsible government cabinet
responsibility to the legislature the prime minister and the

3. Semi-presidential form of government

system in that it has a president who is not a ceremonial figurehead and it differs from the
presidential system in that it has an executive prime minister who has some responsibility
to the legislature.

How the powers between president and prime minister are divided can vary greatly
between countries. For example, in France the president is responsible for foreign policy
and the prime minister for domestic policy. In this case, the division of power between
the prime minister and the president is not explicitly stated in the constitution, but has
evolved as a political convention.

Semi-presidential systems are sometimes characterized by periods of tense cohabitation,
in which the prime minister and president are elected separately, and often from rival
parties. This can create an effective system of checks and balances or a period of bitter
stonewalling, depending on the attitudes of the two leaders, the ideologies of their parties,
or the demands of their constituencies. Some current nations that feature semi-
presidential systems include: France, Finland, Peru, Russia, and South Korea.


As I try to mention earlier, in the second chapter, any democratic state is expected to have
three benches or organs that are separated in power and function have a check and
balance relation. The three branches are (1) Legislative that has power to make laws; (2)
Executive is responsible to implement and administer laws and (3) Judiciary has the task
of settling dispute and interpreting laws.

Legislature: is a branch of government empowered to make, change, or repeal its laws
and to levy and regulate its taxes. Most modern legislatures are representative- composed
of many members who are chosen directly or indirectly by popular vote. Legislatures that

provide direct representation are usually considered more democratic in practice because
they are less susceptible to being dominated by a single faction.

Nearly all modern governments have a bicameral, or two-house, legislature. The so-
called lower house is generally elected on a basis of direct representation; and the upper
house commonly on a basis either of indirect representation or of direct representation
limited to certain occupational, territorial, or hereditary categories. The traditional
theoretical justification for an upper house is that it can exercise moderation and delay on
legislation by the lower house and thus restrain the effects of impulsive or excessive
fluctuations of public opinion. Some states have unicameral, or single-house, legislatures.
For example, Ethiopia during the time of Derg had unicameral legislature (Shengo)

The various legislatures throughout the world are known by different names, such as
Congress, Parliament, Duma, Assembly and ‘Shengo’. Most are limited in their powers
by the Constitution.

Executive (Government): This branch of state (government) has a law administering and
implementing power. According to the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia, the executive
power of the state is vested in the Council of Ministers, whose head is the Prime Minister.
The law is made by the parliament (the legislative organ) administered and enforced by
the Council of Ministers. In the US, laws are written by the legislative branch (Congress),
approved by the president who is the head of the cabinet (the executive), and subject to
interpretation by the judicial branch.

The executive branch has major departments and scores of separate agencies. Executive
branch agencies, departments, and other entities are all bureaucracies—large
organizations composed of clerks, administrators, and other workers. Executive branch
bureaucracies disperse funds, manage programs and police, provide services, and enforce
regulations and laws. They also make rules that have the force of law behind them.

Judiciary: The important task of the judiciary branch is interpreting and setting disputes.
This refers to courts at different levels. In different nations, courts are established to
administer the civil and criminal law. The independency of this organ from any other

political organ or institution is very vital for the realization of a healthy democracy. The
present constitution of Ethiopia guarantees the independency of the judiciary. In the
present Ethiopia courts are found in three levels at federal and regional state level.

The three court levels found at central or federal level and member states level:

 1. the First Instance Court
 2. the Higher Court
 3. the Supreme Court


I. Select the best answer                       1. Identify the one that best describes the
Marxian theory of the state.

          A. The state came in to existence when society is divided in to
             the antagonistic social classes. The purpose of the state is to defend the
             the interest of the economically dominant class.
          B. The authority of political leaders emanate from the will of God.
             No authority exists with out God’s permission. The state emerges from
             consent of God.
          C. The state came in to existence due to contractual agreement between the
             people and the governing body.
          D. The state exists for the purpose of defending the people from external

             invasion and any injury in the territory of the state.

2. According to the social contract theory the head of the state is responsible to

           A. the people             C. parliament
           B. the divine power       D. either to the parliament or to the people

3. Identify the wrong proposition among the following
           A. In the parliamentarian form government the president is directly elected
               by the people.
           B. The parliament during the time of Emperor Hileselassei I was structured
               based on Bi-cameral
           C. In the presidential system the president acts both as the ceremonial head of
               the state and head of government.
           D. None of the above.
4. As republic is to the representative of the people ______to the divine power.

           A. Democracy                        C. Monarchy
           B. Federal                          D. Authoritarian

5. Concerning its structure one of the following is different from the others

           A. Unitary state                    B. Federal state
           C. Amalgamation state                D. Confederal state

II.True or False item
1. According to the social contract theory state theory, state has a historical mission to
  serve the economic dominant class of the society to exploit the property less section
  of the society.

2. According to the social contract theory, rulers are accountable to the people.
3. The very purpose of government is protecting the rights of citizens.

III.Define the following terms
State                   Country                      Legislative
Government              Land                         Executive
Territory                Sovereignty                  Judiciary
People                  Legitimacy                   Social contract
Monarch                  Divine right

IV.Questions for reflection
1. What does the next passage indicate?
“Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of
individuals life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness it is the
right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”
2. What conditions must prevail for the people to alter or abolish this type of
  government mentioned above. (Question № 1)?

  ●      McDermott, Timothy. Aquinas Selected Writings. New York: Oxford
         University Press, 1993.
  ●      McInerny, Ralph. Thomas Aquinas Selected Writings. London:
         Penguin Classics, 1998.
  ●      Locke, John, 1690, The Second Treatise of Government, ed. C.B.
         MacPerson, Indianapolis: Hackett 1980.
  ●      Marx, Karl, 1875, Critique of the Gotha Program, reprinted in: Marx-
         Engels-Werke (MEW) vol. 19, Berlin 1978, and in: Marx-Engels-
         Gesamtausgabe (MEGA-B), Berlin 1975 ff., vol. I 25.
   ●     McKerlie, Dennis, 1989, "Equality and Time," Ethics 99 (1989) 274-296,
         reprinted in L. Pojman & R. Westmoreland (eds.), Equality. Selected

        Readings, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997
   ●    R.Ball Alan Modern Politics and Government Hong Kong, 1978.
   ●    Progress Publisher, The theory of the State and Law, Moscow, 1987
   ●    R.S.Peter, Ethics and Education, London, 1987.
   ●    The Ethiopian Constitutions (1931, 1955, 1987and 1995)
   ●    Bernard Crick Basic Forms of Government, London, 1975
   ●    Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003. 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation.
    ●     Franz Oppenheimer, The State. New York: Free Life Editions, 1975.
    ●    As quoted in C. Hamilton's introduction to Oppenheimer's The State.
         New York: Free Life Editions, 1975,
    ●    Karen I. Vaugh, "John Locke's Theory of Property: Problems of
         Interpretation" in Literature of Liberty, Vol.III, No.1,Spring 1980,



7.1 Introduction
7.2 Objectives
7.3 The Origin and Definition of the terms Citizen and Citizenship
7.4 Citizenship as the Totality of Rights, Duties and Responsibility
7.5 Full membership of citizens
7.6 Nationals, Citizens and Subjects
7.7 Ways of Acquiring Citizenship
7.8 self attempt questions


Citizen means a legal and political member of the state. The sum total of rights and duties
that an individual has owing to his/her belongingness to certain political community is
called citizenship.   In this unit students will be familiar with concepts like citizen,
citizenship, subjects, law, duty, responsibility and rights. The first part is the
etymological meaning of citizen and citizenship. And then an explanation concerning the
characteristics of citizens will be presented. Plus to this, the similarity and difference
among the terms nationals, citizens and subjects will be explained. Citizenship can also
be understood as the legal and political relation between the state and citizens. It is the
political little that citizens possess. Finally, it dealing with the two ways and means of
acquiring citizenship.


As citizens you are charged with some duties and responsibilities, and entitled to some
rights which you enjoy. Those who properly discharge their duties and responsibilities
and enjoy their right are good citizens.

At the end of this unit students will be able to:

        explain the relation between state and citizens.
        identify and examine some problems likely to arise in situations where there is
        an absence of rules or other effective authority.
       explain the definition of the terms citizen and citizenship.
       describe the characteristics of a citizen.
       appreciate and enjoy the advantages of being a citizen.
       take part in a problem-solving activity in which you learn of various forms of
        political participation


Encarta Reference Library 2003 E-Encyclopedia defined citizen as “in its most general
sense, is an individual member of a given political society or state; by extension, a citizen
is one who owes allegiance to and may lawfully demand protection from the government
of that state.” The more specific sense of the term citizen is closely in accord with the
original meaning of the word. In the free republics of classical antiquity, the term citizen
signified not merely a resident of a town but a free, governing member of the state, just as
the Latin term civitas, from which the English word city is derived, signified not merely a
local municipality but the state as a whole.

As we have seen “Civis “a Latin term that has the English meaning “citizen” refers to
those free individuals who were the full members of the civitas and the right to
participate in political decision making process. Here by full membership we should
understand that the term civis was used to refer those who had the right to participate,
directly and fully in the socio-economic and political affairs of their Civitas, city-state,
political community or state to which they were Civis or citizens. Aristotle, the ancient
Greek philosopher expressed the Greek idea of citizens and citizenship. He expressed
citizens are those free individuals who had the right to participate in both the legislative
and judicial functions of their political community. This right was carefully guarded and
was rarely conferred on anyone of foreign birth.

In ancient Rome two classes of citizens were recognized. The first possessed the rights of
citizenship, including the privilege of voting in the public assembly; the other possessed
these rights and the additional right of holding offices of state. In the first category, the
citizens had limited political participation. They where excluded from holding political
power in government office. They had no chance to participate in a direct decision
making process except in the case of giving vote. In our state Ethiopia, the United States
and other modern states, citizenship in Rome, although usually acquired by birth, could
also be attained by naturalization, or by special grant of the state. Naturalization is a way
of acquiring citizenship with out birth related cases. It requires legal processes to be a
citizen of a given state.


Citizens of a given nation are charged with some rights, equalities, freedoms generally,
benefits that citizens enjoy because they are all both human beings and legal as well as
political members of a political community or state. They have also duties and
responsibilities that they are required to discharge, what they have been charged as
citizens. Citizens discharge their duties and responsibilities when they properly fulfill
what they are expected to perform by the law of the state. When somebody charges
whatever rechargeable battery he is loading power which enables the device to
accomplish certain tasks. Analogy to this fact, citizen is loaded (charged) with those legal
and moral obligations.
A citizen is a person who is acknowledged as a legal member of a community (usually a
nation). A person obtains this status through birth, the nationality of a parent or parents,
or by going through the “naturalization” process through which he/she is legally made a
citizen. It is presumed that a citizen shows loyalty to a country. Citizenship refers to the
status of citizens being a member of a state. Citizenship implies that people owe
allegiance to the government and are entitled to its protection and political rights. In
general, citizen is a legal and political member of the state. And citizenship is the legal as
well as the political status of citizens. Citizenship refers to the political and legal relation
that the citizens have with the state.


Being a citizen is not merely limited to having a legal document like passport from the
country in which one is born, or being a resident of a particular city, state, or country. But
Citizenship implies certain rights (e.g., legal, economic, political, and social) and also
responsibilities, (the well-being, or common good, of society before private and personal

Responsibilities can be classified into two areas: personal and civic. Personal
responsibilities include taking care of ones, accepting responsibility for the consequences
of one’s actions, taking advantage of opportunities to become educated, and fulfilling
responsibilities to one’s family, friends, and neighbors. Civic responsibilities, on the
other hand, comprise obeying laws, respecting the rights and opinions of others, paying

taxes, serving in the military, voting, and being informed and attentive to the needs of
one’s community and nation. Civic responsibility can also include the obligation to be
honest, compassionate, tolerant, fair, trustworthy, and respectful, open minded, and open
to negotiation and compromise.

Responsible citizens are expecting to involve socially and politically. Social activity
might require joining citizens’ groups that are devoted to solving societal problems, such
as homelessness, social relations, or neighborhood crime; social activity could also
involve volunteering in a local hospital, school, homeless shelter, or helping disabled

But Political activity is quite different from social activity. It refers to more than the
simple act of voting in periodic elections. And it might entail talking about public issues;
writing letters to public official; presenting a problem to a governmental council; staying
informed about important issues by reading the newspaper, listening to television news,
or attending public meetings; or getting involved in a political campaign.

Recent discussions of responsible citizenship have taken on new dimensions and have
expanded to include the concept of worldwide citizenship. As international travel,
communication, and exchanges have become easier and more common, citizens of
different countries are becoming more dependent upon one another. This interdependence
has given birth to the notion of world citizenship that is, being a citizen of the world. In
general, as a new type of citizenship, requires new sets of individual responsibilities.


Nationals were classed as citizens and non-citizens in ancient Greece and Rome, with
citizens often forming a minority of the population; this distinction still prevails in some

Nationality is a legal relationship existing between a person and a state. The person
becomes subject to the state's jurisdiction even while not on the state's territory; in
exchange the subject becomes entitled to the state's protection and to other rights as well.

The nationals of a state generally possess the right to reside in the territory of the state
they are nationals of, though there are some exceptions (e.g. British Nationality Law that
made distinction between subjects and privileged individuals or citizens).

During the monarchic administration, the Ethiopian people were treated as subjects not
citizens. The following articles which are taken from the 1955 Revised Constitution of
Ethiopia indicate this fact.

The first Article of Chapter I states…”All Ethiopian subjects, whether living within or
without the Empire, constitute the Ethiopian People”. From this article we can understand
that the people of Ethiopia are all subjects.

Chapter III. Article 38. “There shall be no discrimination amongst Ethiopian subjects
with respect to the enjoyment of all civil rights.” The term ‘Ethiopian subjects’ is found
else where in the Revised Constitution.

The 39th article of Chapter III made distinctions of subjects as it has been made by
British Nationality Law:

1. Born subjects

2. Naturalized subjects.

Chapter III, Article 39. “The law shall determine the condition of acquisition and loss of
Ethiopian nationality and of Ethiopian citizenship”. According to this article Ethiopian
nationality refers to born subjects whereas Ethiopian citizenship refers to naturalized
subjects (those who later became subject to the monarch. The Amharic version of this
article translates the later as ‘zegenet’ referring the naturalized one and the former as
‘tewelagenet’ referring the born subjects.

Nationality must be distinguished from citizenship: citizens have rights to participate in
the political life of the state they are a citizen of, such as by voting or standing for
election; while nationals need not have these rights, though normally they do.

Generally, nationality can be acquired by jus soli, jus sanguinis or naturalization. These
are discussed next. A person who is not a national of any state is referred to as a stateless
person. The nationality of a legal person is generally the state under whose laws the legal
person is registered.


Different states of the world provide different ways of acquiring citizenship. Generally,
acquisition of citizenship is divided in to two broad categories:

(I)         By birth (related to the place of birth of the child or inheriting the citizenship of
            the parent or parents).
(II)        Naturalization (This refers to any way of acquiring citizenship, other than cases
            related to birth). Naturalization is the process whereby a person becomes a
            national of a nation, or a citizen of a state other than the one of his birth.

      I.       Acquisition of Citizenship by birth

It is related to the place of birth of the child or inheriting the citizenship of the parent or
parents. The following are the most commonly known acquisitions of citizenship by

(A)        Jus sanguinis (Latin for "right of blood") is a right by which nationality or
citizenship can be recognized to any individual born to a parent who is a national or
citizen of that state. It contrasts with jus soli (Latin for "right of soil").

Usually a practical regulation of the acquisition of nationality or citizenship of a state by
birth to a parent who is already a citizen of the state is provided by a derivative law called
lex sanguinis. Most states provide a specific lex sanguinis, in application of the respective

jus sanguinis, but citizenship is not normally automatically inherited. This is to avoid the
creation of generations of overseas citizens with no real connection with the state, but
still being able to claim rights such as immigration and protection from that state.

Common practice among states at the beginning of the twentieth century was that a
woman was to have the nationality of her husband; thus upon marrying a foreigner she
would automatically acquire the nationality of her husband, and lose her own nationality.
Even once the nationality of a married woman was made no longer dependent on the
nationality of her husband, legal provisions were still retained automatically naturalizing
married women, and sometimes married men as well. This could lead to a number of
problems, including loss of the spouses' original nationality, the spouse losing the right to
consular assistance (since consular assistance cannot be provided to nationals under the
jurisdiction of a foreign state of which they are also nationals), and becoming subject to
military service obligations.

Article 6 (Chapter I) of the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia, regarding the Ethiopian
nationality, states as follows:
1. Any person of either sex shall be an Ethiopian national where both or either parent is
2. Foreign nationals may acquire Ethiopian nationality.
3. Particulars relating to nationality shall be determined by law.

Many states have both lex sanguinis and lex soli, including,Isreal,German, andIreland.
Despite this, the jus sanguinis laws of Israel are sometimes used to link Zionism and

(B) Jus soli (Latin for "right of the territory") is a right by which nationality and
citizenship can be recognized to any individual born in the territory of the related state. It
contrasts with sanguinis("right of blood")

Usually a practical regulation of the acquisition of nationality or citizenship of a state by
birth on the territory of the state is provided by a derivative law called lex soli. Most

states provide a specific lex soli, in application of the respective jus soli, and it is the
most common means of acquiring nationality.

However, increasingly countries are restricting lex soli by requiring that at least one of
the child's parents be a national of the state in question at the child's birth, or a legal
permanent resident of the territory of the state in question at the child's birth, or that the
child be a foundling found on the territory of the state in question.

I. Choose the best answer
1. One of the following does not characterize a citizen. Which one of that?
           A citizen is a person who is acknowledged as a legal member of a political
           B. A person becomes citizen if she or he is born in the territory of the state.
           C. A citizen is a person who belongs to a state and has a status of full
               participation in governmental affairs.
           D. A person who is legally recognized and full member of the state is the
              citizen of the political community.
           E. A citizen is a person who resides in the territory of the state.

2. A male child was born in a certain territory and yet he had no chance to be the citizen

   of the state in which he was born. From this we can understand , if the parents are not
the citizens of the state where the chilled was born
         A. the state does not implement lex soli
         B. the child is a naturalized citizen
         C. he is a stateless child
         D. the state does not implement lex sanguinis
3. What condition determines the child mentioned above (in question № 9)
    to acquire the citizenship of the state.
           A. The citizenship law of the state
           B. The citizenship of his parents
           C. The international convention on the rights of the child
           D. None of the above
II.True or False item
1. Citizens are individuals who are found in a dictatorial political system that enjoy their
   rights and discharge their duties
2. Subjects as members of a state that don't exercise full rights.
3. A person can get a new citizenship through the method called naturalization.

III.Questions for reflection

1. What does the present constitution of Ethiopia regarding nationality refer to? Is it Jus
soli or Jus sanguinis?

2. Can you identify and categoris the above articles of the Europian Convention on
Nationality in to jus sanguinis, jus soli and naturalisation

3. Citizenship law that states “a child becomes a citizen of the state provided that either
  of the two parents or both are the citizens of the state” often is related to racism. Do
  you agree with idea? Whether your answer is yes or no give your justification.

IV. Define the following terms
Citizenship                    Citizen
Subject                        Lex soli

Jus soli                   Jus sangunise
Lex sangunise              Naturalization

●   The Ethiopian Constitutions (1931, 1955, 1987and 1995)
●   Microsoft Encarta Reference Library 2003. 1993-2002 Microsoft
●   Karen I. Vaugh, "John Locke's Theory of Property: Problems of
        Interpretation" in Literature of Liberty, Vol.III, No.1,Spring 1980,
●   McKerlie, Dennis, 1989, "Equality and Time," Ethics 99 (1989) 274-296,
      reprinted in L. Pojman & R. Westmoreland (eds.), Equality. Selected
      Readings, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1997
●   Wood, A., 1998, "Kant on Duties Regarding Nonrational Nature"
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society Supplement, Volume LXXII.
●   Benn, Stanley I. & Richard S. Peters, 1959, Social Principles and the
    Democratic State, London: Allen & Unwin 1959.

UNIT 8. Constitution and Constitutionalism
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Objectives
8.3 Meaning of Constitution
8.4 Forms of Constitution
8.5 Constitutional Development in Ethiopia
8.6 Constitutionalism
8.7 Check your progress
8.8 Selected references

8.1 Introduction
This unit trying to describe the ideas about the government and how to protect the basic
rights of people. And also helps to distinguish differences between limited and unlimited
government. You also learn the difference about nations have constitutions, but not

constitutional governments vice versa. The essential characteristics that differentiate
constitutional government from autocratic or dictatorial government include the idea that
in a constitutional government the powers of a person or group in government are limited
by a set of laws and/or established customs (a constitution) which must be obeyed. The
constitution is a form of higher law, either written or unwritten that:
      sets forth the basic rights of citizens to life, liberty, and property;
      establishes the responsibility of the government to protect those rights;
      establishes limitations on how those in government may use their power;
      establishes economic, polices; and
      may not be changed without the widespread consent of the citizens.
Finally, you will see the historical development of constitution in Ethiopia.

8.2 Objectives
At the end of this unit students will be able to:

       explain the concepts of constitution and constitutional government
       explain the essential characteristics of constitutional governments that
       differentiate them from autocratic or dictatorial governments
       explain the essential characteristics of a constitution or higher law
       understand and explain the difference between limited and unlimited
       government, the difference between written and unwritten constitutions,
       explain why a government with a constitution is not necessarily a constitutional
       identify and explain the features of constitution
       describe the stages in which a constitution is formulated in a democratic way
       Compare and contrast the provisions and contents of the constitutions that
       Ethiopia experienced till the present.

8.3 Meaning of Constitution
Constitution is a basic low of a country that establishes the main organs of a government;
describes their structure, powers and principal functions; and that provides the relation of
the government with the people.
And also constitution gives directions to the country’s foreign policy; the economic,
political, and social policies of a given country are also indicated in the constitution of
that country.
In other words, a constitution is a document containing the basic principles on the
structure and distribution of governmental or state power. It establishes the relationship
between citizens and the state. That means it includes the power and responsibility of the
government and the rights of citizens. In that, it specifies the Limits of powers of the
government. Constitution is different form specific laws, because it is the supreme or
fundamental law of a given country. As supreme law no other laws may contradict the
constitution. A constitution also provides the major principles to be respected by any
concerned body or organ.
8.4 Forms of Constitution
Generally, forms constitutions are written and unwritten. Let us see each tern by tern.
(A) Constitution: - are constitutions that are found as a single, handy, and readable
document. They are written down with several sections, chapters, articles & sub articles.
Some nations of the world which have written constitutional experience are Ethiopia,
USA and India
(B) Unwritten constitution: - those rules, regulations, declarations and laws passed by
either a parliament or other competent government body at different times and are at the
same time not compiled in a single document.

Examples of state which still experience unwritten constitution are Israel, New Zealand,
Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom (Britain).
What is crucial about constitutions, written or unwritten, is their content and not their
form. It is their content that indicates their respective roles in the consolidation of sate
power in t heir societies.

8.5 Constitutional Development in Ethiopia
Until 1974, the political system in Ethiopia was set up on the basis of the divine right of
king. One of those earliest Ethiopian states was the Aksumite state that emerged in the
north in first century A.D. It was during the Aksumite civilization that Christianity was
introduced to Ethiopia. Ever since, Christianity had remained the dominant state religion
ideology up to 1974. On the other hand, a political system of monarchy was established
in the very early times in Aksume on the basis of divine right of kings.

Accordant to the divine right of kings, their rule was meant to be not only secular but also
spiritual. That means they were seen to be as partly human and partly supernatural
beings. Such rulers presented them selves, thus, as the only respected and trusted
representative of God for the service of the ruled or Subjects. With this ideology, they
made their people believe and accept kings as Unquestionable beings who cannot be
challenged by the people so their reign is made to Continue, while their subjects remain
to obedient and loyal to them. Religion particularly Christianity served as the ideology of
the state. This, in fact, is far from the truth. It is only a political strategy of enforcing and
strengthening the authority of kings on their subjects. It is the method of influencing the
people not develops challenging attitudes and questioning mentality. As a result, until
recent times, public expressions such as," a king can not be accused, as the sky can not be
ploughed” were part of the tradition in our society.

A monarchical system of the divine rule of kings is a type of political rule with the belief
that the right to rule is given only to those who are believed to be born to rule. These are
members of the families of kings. This political system being justified by the Orthodox
Church established the development of traditional constitution in Ethiopia. The
traditional Constitution gave absolute power to the monarchy over their “Subjects.” The
basic traditional documents that used to serve as the source of tradition constitution are
the Fetha Negest, the kibre Negest and the serate Mengist. The monumental Fetha Negest
was basically a codex of Law provding for secular and religious legal provisions rather
than a constitution. The Kibre Negest colorfully wove the legend of a Solomonic dynasty

and there by served certain politico-religious needs of the times in the constitutional
process. The Serate Mengist of the 19thc entury also provided certain administrative and
protocol directives useful to the constitutional process. But none of these were
constitutions in the modern sense even though they were instrumental documents that
served specific purposes with in the constitutional process. Thus it is safe to say that prior
to 1931 Ethiopia had no written Constitution.

Before the introduction of the first written and modern constitution in Ethiopia, in 1931
Ethiopia had constitutional experience, but not a written type. It had unwritten
constitutional experience. One should hasten, though to make the point that the absence
of a written constitution does not signify the absence of a constitution. Indeed, Ethiopia
had a sophisticated traditional, Unwritten constitution.

Some of the major principles of rule stated in these traditional documents include:
Only the descendants of the Solomonic Dynasty has the divine right to rule, Kings must
be members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church; Only male descendants must be crowned
as kings.

Therefore, Ethiopia had a complex traditional Constitutional experience. The change in
1931 involved the introduction not of a constitution, only of a written formal for the
The 1931 Constitution: it was the first written constitution in Ethiopian history.
This Modern Written Constitution was introduced in Ethiopia in 1931 by Emperor Haile
Selassie I. The introduction of the Written Constitution however, does not mean that a
new philosophy or ideology was introduced to the Ethiopian political system instead; it
was an attempt of simply changing the Unwritten dynastic claim in to a Written form.
The fourth Article of the Revised (1955) constitution proves this fact.
            ... He [the Emperor] is, consequently, entitled to all the honors due
            to Him in accordance with tradition and the present Constitution.
            Any on so bold as to seek to injure the Emperor will be punished.

In other words, the 1931 Constitution was founded up on the very idea of the divine right
of kings. You have seen this, in the previous unit that dealt with theory of state.
Therefore, it did not; provide genuine freedom to the Ethiopian peoples. Its main aim was
to give the Country and the Imperial rule on image of modernity. By and large, the
measure aimed at guaranteeing the continuity of the rule of the emperor. This can be
clearly seen in the constitution of 1931 that the king was presented as the representative
of God. In the some constitution, the king is presented as Niguse Negest seyume
Egziabher, which literally means king of kings elect of God. Those who were
participating in the political leadership were only the noblemen. Even then, the power
was absolutely in the hands of the Emperor. Generally, the main objectives of the 1931
Constitution were to achieve or get diplomatic recognition abroad and to strengthen the
basis of political legitimacy i.e. to justify the rule of king.

The 1931 Constitution laid foundation for the modern government system such as:
1. Parliament system: The Constitution Created a semblance of a bicameral (two - house)
parliament – upper House and Lower House. The upper House (the senate) was strong
Composed of important members of the nobility selected & appointed by the Emperor.
The Lower House (deputies) had on advisory role, which was composed of individuals
elected by the nobility in the upper house therefore; there was no popular election of any
of the members of the Houses.

2. Another innovation of the written constitution was the concept of a fixed annual
budget for government traditionally; authorization on expenditure was carried out
through the mazeja- a written order by the Ministry of pen on the Emperor’s instructions.
During Scheduled audiences with the Emperor, Known as Akabe Saat, individual
ministers presented their requests. The Mazeja would then authorize the transfer of
government funds from the Ministry of Finance to respective ministries. No over-all
balance sheet had ever been prepared before the written constitution, which now expected
a Ministry of Finance       budget proposal to deliberated up on by the chambers and
submitted to the Emperor for approval-The budget concept never became viable during
the life-time of the constitution of 1931 and remained an embarrassing paper model.

3. Introduced a ministerial system of government: these were executive bodies which
were responsible to the emperor, not to the parliament. The constitution mentioned both
individual and collective ministerial responsibilities to the Emperor. All power emanates
from the sovereign; it is an inevitable, “logical” out come of the centralization of power
that the one closest to the sovereign becomes the most influential.

4. Introduced judicial branches: it provided for two separate systems of courts regular
courts & administrative tribunals. The regular court would handle civil and criminal
cases. Civil cases affecting government, however, would be “with drown from the
jurisdiction of ordinary (regular) Courts and placed in the administrative tribunals. The
head of the Court was the Emperor.

In general, the 1931 Constitution was Undemocratic because it didn’t give the right to
self-governance, democratic and human rights, fundamental freedom of citizens, nations,
nationalities and people. They remained “Subjects of the king.”

The Revised Constitution of 195: this constitution was also a grant given by the
Emperor to “his subjects” the emperor has unquestionable power over the executive, the
legislative and the judiciary.   The political principles and objectives of the revised
constitution was similar to the 1931 Constitution But it was clearer in defining the power
and Functions of the government. In that period the social process had altered to such an
extent that The Constitutional frame work provided by the written constitution was
visibly inadequate.
- The world war had affected Ethiopia tremendously
- The short Italian occupation had created closer ties with the out side world. The war had
enhanced the movement of goods, ideas, and people. The Italians left in their wake a
modern communication infrastructure
- In 1945 Ethiopia become a founding member of the United Nations organization

- Political alliances brought western ideas and socio-economic reorientation, Then in
1952 came the Eritrean Federation. The General Assembly of the United Nations passed
a resolution, the federal Act, by which Eritrea, as an autonomous Unit, came Under the
sovereignty of the Ethiopian crown. This necessitated incorporation of the Federal Act in
to the Ethiopian Constitutional system and the ratification of the Eritrean Constitution by
the newly created Eritrean Representative Assembly and the Emperor.

The written constitution, on the one hand, and the Federal Act and Eritrean Constitution
on the other, were poles apart in their ideologies and conceptions of government. The
federal Act was modeled after the declaration of Human Rights and contained
progressive concepts.
For instance, according to the federal law Eritrea had an elected government while
Ethiopia had an absolute monarchy system. In the some sovereign state there were
different political systems. The Eritrean Constitution was Liberal and granted political
and religious diversities and equality while in Ethiopia political parties were illegal
Thus the legal engineering necessary to make the two systems function was an acrobatic
feat. The revised Constitution therefore, took over. The 1995 revised Constitution
however, failed to guarantee political and human rights of the people. The only individual
rights guaranteed were Limited to property, life and private affairs.

The Constitution of the people’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.(The
1987 constitution)
In 1974 there was a popular uprising that leads to the fall of the reign of Emperor Haile
Sellasie I and suspension of the 1955 revised constitution. Under the absolute rule of the
Emperor, the large majority of the Ethiopian societies suffered a great deal. The messes
of the Ethiopian peasants suffered from the economic relation of the Feudal system. The
peasants were forced to share to the land lord up to three-fourth of their small yield in
every production cycle. The peasants had no guarantee of ownership of the land

Due to these different challenges began to surface against the absolute monarchy. Among
those revolves was the 1961 coup d’etat, was not successful and the movement of

students with slogan like “Land to the tiller.” The second was the historical movement,
which was based upon the basic problems and voices of the Ethiopian peoples.

Peasants in different region made rebellions against the Imperial rule. Other forms of the
struggle included several strikes by Teachers, Taxi drivers and other workers. As Living
standards deteriorated and oppression become worst, the Conditions for a revolution
emerged through out the country, then, in 1974 the Imperial government was overthrown.

However, the popular Uprising was suppressed by military coup d’etat Known Derg
which took power. The 1955 constitution was suspended and the country was ruled by
decrees and proclamation until 1987. The Junta nationalized all lands, extra houses,
industries, commercial farms, private school etc and monopolized political power.
In 1987, a new constitution was ratified and a new government was formed called
peoples Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE). The new constitutions justified the
power of the junta (Derg).

The 1987 Constitution was different from the previous constitutions because it was
drafted by popular participation (though limited to voting) which was major contribution
for constitutional development in Ethiopia. It incorporated some democratic principles. It
declared the source of the government to be the National shengo (a legislative body).
However in reality the national shengo was nominal supreme organ of the state. The
national shengo led the responsibility to endorse the election of the presidents and other
higher officials.

Recognized the cultural identify and equality of nations and nationalities.

However, the 1987 constitution failed to address the national question in Ethiopia. The
state organ was highly centralized.

The constitution officially took effect on February 22, 1987, when the People's
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was proclaimed, although it was not until September
that the new government was fully in place and the Provisional Military Administrative
Council (PMAC) formally abolished. The document, which established the normative
foundations of the republic, consisted of seventeen chapters and 119 articles. The

preamble traced Ethiopia's origins back to antiquity, proclaimed the historical heroism of
its people, praised the country's substantial natural and human resources, and pledged to
continue the struggle against imperialism, poverty, and hunger. The government's
primary concern was proclaimed to be the country's development through the
implementation of the Program for the National Democratic Revolution (PNDR). In the
process, it was assumed that the material and technical bases necessary for establishing
socialism would be created.

The Social Order
Chapter 1 of the constitution defined Ethiopia's social order. The People's Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) was declared to be "a state of working peasants in which
the intelligentsia, the revolutionary army, artisans, and other democratic sections of
society participate." The commitment to socialist construction was reaffirmed, as was the
idea of egalitarianism within the context of a unitary state. The official language
remained Amharic. The functioning and organization of the country was proclaimed to be
based on the principles of democratic centralism, under which representative party and
state organs are elected by lower bodies. The vanguard character of the WPE was
asserted, and its roles as well as those of mass organizations were spelled out.

Chapter 2 dealt with the country's economic system. The state was dedicated to the
creation of a "highly interdependent and integrated national economy" and to the
establishment of conditions favorable to development. In addition, the constitution
committed the state to central planning; state ownership of the means of production,
distribution, and exchange; and expansion of cooperative ownership among the general

Chapter 3 addressed social issues, ranging from education and the family to historical
preservation and cultural heritage. The family was described as the basis of society and
therefore deserving of special attention by means of the joint efforts of state and society.
In addition, the constitution pledged that health insurance and other social services would
be expanded through state leadership.

National defense was the subject of the first article asserted the nation's need to defend its
sovereignty and territorial integrity and to safeguard the accomplishments of the
revolution. It was declared that the Ethiopian people had a historical responsibility to
defend the country. The defense force was to be the army of the country's working
people. The army's fundamental role would be to secure peace and socialism.

Foreign policy objectives were spelled out in four brief articles in Chapter 5 and were
based on the principles of proletarian internationalism, peaceful coexistence, and

Citizenship, Freedoms, Rights, and Duties

Chapters 6 and 7 were concerned with defining citizenship and spelling out the freedoms,

rights, and duties of citizens. The language was egalitarian, and Ethiopians were declared

to be equal before the law, regardless of nationality, sex, religion, occupation, and social

or other status. They had the right to marry, to work, to rest, to receive free education,

and to have access to health care and to a fair trial. Ethiopians were guaranteed freedom

of conscience and religion. As was not the case in imperial Ethiopia, religion and the

state were proclaimed to be separate institutions. Citizens were assured the freedoms of

movement, speech, press, assembly, peaceful demonstration, and association. Regarding

political participation, citizens had the right to vote and the right to be elected to political

office. Their duties included national military service, protection of socialist state

property, protection of the environment, and observance of the constitution and laws of

the country.

In spite of the attention the constitution paid to basic freedoms, until the last days of the
regime international human rights organizations were virtually unanimous in condemning

the Mengistu’s regime. Summary execution, political detention, torture, and forced
migration represented only some of the violations cited by these groups.
National Shengo (National Assembly)

The constitution's most detailed sections related to the central government's organization
and activities. In these sections, the document described the various state organs and
explained their relationship to one another.

The supreme organ of state power was the National Shengo (National Assembly). Its
responsibilities included amending the constitution; determining foreign, defense, and
security policy; establishing the boundaries, status, and accountability of administrative
regions; and approving economic plans. The National Shengo was also responsible for
establishing the Council of State; the Council of Ministers, ministries, state committees,
commissions, and state authorities; the Supreme Court; the Office of the Prosecutor
General; the National Workers' Control Committee; and the Office of the Auditor
General. In addition, the National Shengo elected the president and officials of the
Council of State and approved the appointment of other high-ranking authorities.

Candidates to the National Shengo had to be nominated by regional branches of the
WPE, mass organizations, military units, and other associations recognized by law.
Balloting for seats in the National Shengo was required to be secret, and all individuals
eighteen years of age and above were eligible to vote. Elected members served five-year
terms, and the body met in regular session once each year. These sessions were usually
public but might on occasion be held in camera. In 1987 the National Shengo had 835

Council of State
The Council of State, consisting of the president of the republic, several vice presidents, a
secretary, and other members, was an organ of the National Shengo. The Council of State
served as the most active oversight arm of the government, and it exercised the national
legislative role when the National Shengo was not in session. In addition to its normal
functions, the Council of State was empowered to establish a defense council and might

be assigned special duties by the National Shengo . The Council of State had the further
authority to issue decrees in the pursuit of the duties stipulated by law or assigned by the
National Shengo. The power of this organ was evident in the constitutional provision that
stated, "When compelling circumstances warrant it, the Council of State may, between
sessions of the National Shengo, proclaim a state of emergency, war, martial law,
mobilization or peace."

The President
The 1987 constitution established the office of president. Theoretically, the Council of
State ruled along with the president and exercised legislative oversight in relation to other
branches of government. In reality, however, the office of the president in particular and
the executive branch in general were the most powerful branches of government. The
president was able to act with considerable independence from the National Shengo.
Although the constitution stipulated that the president was accountable to the National
Shengo, Mengistu demonstrated repeatedly that there was no authority higher than his
own office. By law he was responsible for presenting members of his executive staff and
the Supreme Court to the National Shengo for election. At the same time, the president,
"when compelling circumstances warrant it" between sessions of the National Shengo,
could appoint or relieve the prime minister, the deputy prime minister, and other
members of the Council of Ministers; the president, the vice president, and Supreme
Court judges; the prosecutor general; the chairman of the National Workers' Control
Committee; and the auditor general. The National Shengo was by law supposed to act on
such decrees in its next regular session, but this appeared to be only pro forma.

The president, who could be elected to an indefinite number of successive five-year
terms, had to submit nominations for appointment to the Council of Ministers (his
cabinet) to the National Shengo for approval. However, by the time nominations reached
the National Shengo for consideration, their appointment was a foregone conclusion. In
practice, President Mengistu would chose individuals for particular offices without any
apparent input from the National Shengo, the WPE, or the Council of State.
The president, who was also commander in chief of the armed forces, was also
responsible for implementing foreign and domestic policy, concluding international

treaties, and establishing diplomatic missions. If he deemed it necessary, the president
could rule by decree.

Council of Ministers

The Council of Ministers, defined in the constitution as "the Government," was the
government's highest executive and administrative organ. The body consisted of the
prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the ministers, and other members as
determined by law. Members were accountable to the National Shengo, but between
sessions they were accountable to the president and the Council of State. Members of this
council were chosen from regularly elected members of the National Shengo and served
five-year terms, unless they resigned or were removed by the president. For example, in
early November 1989 Prime Minister FikreSelassie Wogderes resigned his office,
allegedly for health reasons. However, some reports maintained that he was forced out by
Mengistu because of his apparent loss of enthusiasm for the regime's policies. At the
same time, Mengistu reshuffled his cabinet. Significantly, these events occurred weeks
after the annual session of the National Shengo had concluded.

The Council of Ministers was responsible for the implementation of laws and regulations
and for the normal administrative functions of national government. It prepared social
and economic development plans, the annual budget, and proposals concerning foreign
relations. In their respective areas of responsibility, members of the Council of Ministers
were the direct representatives of the president and the government; and because they
typically held parallel offices within the WPE, as a group they tended to be the most
significant political actors in the government.

In 1991 there were twenty-one ministries. Portfolios consisted of the Ministry in Charge
of the General Plan and the ministries of agriculture; coffee and tea development;
communications and transport; construction; culture and sports affairs; domestic trade;
education and fine arts; finance; foreign affairs; foreign trade; health; industry;
information; internal affairs; labor and social affairs; law and justice; mines, energy, and
water resources; national defense; state farms; and urban development and housing. In

addition to these ministries, there were several other important state authorities, such as
the Office of the National Council for Central Planning, the Institute for the Study of
Ethiopian Nationalities, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, and the National
Bank of Ethiopia.

Judicial System
The constitution provided for Ethiopia's first independent judiciary. Traditionally, the
Supreme Court and various lower courts were the responsibility of the Ministry of Law
and Justice. After Haile Selassie's overthrow, much of the formal structure of the existing
judicial structure remained intact. Over the years, regional and district level courts were
reformed somewhat. However, the new constitutional provisions had the potential to
change Ethiopia's national judicial system significantly.

The constitution stipulated that judicial authority was vested in "one Supreme Court,
courts of administrative and autonomous regions, and other courts established by law."
Supreme Court judges were elected by the National Shengo; those who served at the
regional level were elected by regional shengos (assemblies). In each case, the judges
served terms concurrent with that of the shengo that elected them. The Supreme Court
and higher courts at the regional level were independent of the Ministry of Law and
Justice, but judges could be recalled by the relevant shengo.

The Supreme Court was responsible for administering the national judicial system. The
court's powers were expanded to oversee all judicial aspects of lesser courts, not just
cases appealed to it. At the request of the prosecutor general or the president of the
Supreme Court, the Supreme Court could review any case from another court.
Noteworthy is the fact that, in addition to separate civil and criminal sections, the court
had a military section. In the late 1980s, it was thought that this development might bring
the military justice system, which had been independent, into the normal judicial system.
However, it became evident that it would be some time before the Supreme Court could
begin to serve this function adequately.

Between 1987 and 1989, the government undertook a restructuring of the Supreme Court
with the intent of improving the supervision of judges and of making the administration
of justice fairer and more efficient. The Supreme Court Council was responsible for
overseeing the court's work relating to the registration and training of judges and lawyers.
The Supreme Court Council's first annual meeting was held in August 1988, at which
time it passed rules of procedure and rules and regulations for judges. Although the
government reported that the courts were becoming more efficient, it admitted that there
was much to be done before the heavy case burden of the courts could be relieved.

Chapter 15 of the constitution established the Office of the Prosecutor General, which
was responsible for ensuring the uniform application and enforcement of law by all state
organs, mass organizations, and other bodies. The prosecutor general was elected by the
National Shengo for a five-year term and was responsible for appointing and supervising
prosecutors at all levels. In carrying out their responsibilities, these officials were
independent of local government offices.

Local tribunals, such as kebele tribunals and peasant association tribunals were not
affected by the 1987 constitution. People's courts were originally established under the
jurisdiction of peasant associations and kebeles. All matters relating to land redistribution
and expropriation were removed from the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Law and Justice
and placed under the jurisdiction of the peasant association tribunals, whose members
were elected by association members. In addition, such tribunals had jurisdiction over a
number of minor criminal offenses, including intimidation, violation of the privacy of
domicile, and infractions of peasant association regulations. The tribunals also had
jurisdiction in disputes involving small sums of money and in conflicts between peasant
associations, their members, and other associations. Appeals from people's tribunals
could be filed with regional courts. Kebele tribunals had powers similar to those of their
counterparts in peasant associations.

The Charter of the Transitional period (July 22, 1991 August 21, 1995)

After the down fall of Derg a transitional government was established in July 22, 1991
and terminated on August 21, 1995. During this period, our country was led by the
transitional period Charter of Ethiopia.

A charter is a document of important principles and lows that serve as a highest low in
the country in place of a constitution. In other words, the Charter was a basic legal &
general document similar to that of a constitution that addressed the problems of the
period The Transitional factors that necessitated the transitional period charter included.
- The period between the over thrown of the military regime & the formation of a new
  government required marinating peace & stability by introducing low & order;
Attempts had to be made to solve some of the problems inherited from the previous
The Derg institutions & practices of repression had to be terminated
Mutual Confidence among people had to be brought for long period of time with positive
Disintegration had to be avoided and the way for peaceful transition to a democratic
Order paved.
Based on the transitional period Charter a Transitional Government came in to being by
convening a peace and Democratic Transitional conference in Addis Ababa between July
1 and 5, 1991 to ensure its democratic nature the conference represented different
political entities, national Liberation movements, religious institutions and intellectuals
from various sectors. This conference drafted, discussed and ratified the charter. The
peace and democratic conference established the major principles and ideas by which the
country was to be governed Until a Constitutionally Limited government was formed.
The charter gave opportunity for self-governance & recognized the diversity of the
Ethiopian Societies and laid down foundation for the 1995 Constitution.

The F.D.R.E. Constitution (The 1995 constitution)
The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was different from the
Previous Constitution. It was formulated through popular participation based up on the

reality need and demand of the people was based up on major UN Human Rights
instruments and other international Conventions endorsed by Ethiopia.
The formulation of the 1995 (F.D.R.E) Constitution
The 1995 Ethiopian Constitution has passed through three stages
1. Drafting
2. Discussion and Development
3. Adoption/ratification.

1. The drafting stage
A special body known as a Constitutional commission carried out the drafting task. The
Commission took enough time and conducted a number of activities. Various seminars
and workshops have been held in order to come up with the initial from of the
constitution. More over, experts with a good deal of experiences form other countries
were invited to such seminars and workshops that have helped immensely in sharing
others’ experience.

2. The Discussion and development stage
The Second stage is the form of popular ratification of the initial draft of the constitution.
That was the opportunity given to all citizens of the country where by they examined,
commented and improved the various tentative provisions of the draft constitution.
That was important since it enabled citizens to know the tentative provisions that would
be parts of their final Constitution. Amend or improve the provisions before they are
enforced in to action and to participate in the formulation of their own constitution. In the
nation wide discussion on the initial draft, different ideas and views have been shared and
obtained that enriched the final form of the constitution.

3. The Ratification stage
This was the final phase of the series of decisions on the draft to be rationally accepted as
the constitution of the country. A Constitutional Assembly –a Specially Constituted body
of elected representatives of the nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia-
accomplished the historic task of ratifying or endorsing the draft Constitution In the
constitutional Assembly 538 elected Citizen participated. The Assembly thoroughly

discussed on the draft constitution for three weeks. Each article of the draft Constitution
was passed by vote.

Finally, The Constitutional Assembly ratified the Constitution of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia on 8 December 1994. It established the new federal structure where
power is shared between central and regional government. The constitution came in to
effect on the 21st day of August, 1995. The new government began its five-year term in
August of the same year.

explicitly recognized that Ethiopia is to have a Federal system and parliamentarian form
of government. In this course of action there are at present nine member states that
formed the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia whereby member states of the
Federation have equal rights and powers. By and large the Federal Democratic Republic
of Ethiopia comprises the Federal Government and the State members with their own
legislative, executive and judicial powers. Based on the constitution a general election
was held and EPRDF won the election and formed a government at federal level.
At state level, from the nine member states of the Federation, the majority party, EPRDF
won a majority only in four states, i.e., the State of Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya, and
Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. In the rest five States i.e. the State of Afar,
Somalia, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella peoples and the Harari People the minority
parties won the election and formed government.
The present federal parliament is have two houses: the House of Peoples' Representatives
(HPR) and the House of the Federation (HF). Members of the HPR are directly elected by
the people for a term of five years on the basis of universal suffrage by secret ballot. HPR
is the highest authority of the Federal Government. Currently there are 548 members who
have been elected from different parties and independent members by way of democratic
electoral processes. Out of the 548 seats EPRDF has the majority seats of 496 and the rest
are under minority parties and independent members. Each member of the HPR
represents 100,000 constituencies. By the same token, they are representatives of the
Ethiopian People at large and have the power of legislation in all matters assigned by the

constitution to Federal jurisdiction. There are nine standing committees in the HPR of
which two of them are being chaired by the members of minority parties. This shows that
the minority parties have shared power in the parliament with the majority party, EPRDF.
It is not only in the parliament that the minority parties shared power with the majority,
but also in the government i.e. they are members of the cabinet. In order to share
parliamentary experience with other countries eight parliamentary friendship groups have
been formed and have started functioning so as to cultivate friendly relationship with
other countries.

1. The House of Federation
It is composed of representatives of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia. Each
Nation, Nationality and People is to be represented by at least one member and by one
additional representative for each one million of its population. Members are to be
elected by the State Council or by the people of the State directly. At present there are
108 members in the House. The House has the power to interpret the constitution, decide
on the issues relating to the rights of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples to self
determination including the right to secession, strive to find solutions to disputes or
misunderstandings that may arise between states, determine the division of revenue to the
States and the like. The House of the Federation holds at least two sessions annually and
its term of mandate is five years.

As it has been mentioned above the House of Federation has unique duties and
responsibilities such as interpreting the Constitution and protecting the rights of the
nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia. In many countries, matters of constitutional
interpretation are decided by the Constitutional Court (as in the case of Germany) or by
the Supreme Court (as in the case of USA). The Constitutional Assembly, elected to
ratify the Constitution, decided that because of the multitude of nations and nationalities
in Ethiopia, the House of Federation would be the best place to protect and ensure the
rights of all nations and nationalities.

Article 62 (3-11) of the Constitution gives the House of Federation responsibility for
   interpreting the Constitution;

    organizing the Council of Constitutional Inquiry;
    deciding on claims based upon the rights of nations, nationalities, and peoples to self-
     determination, including their right to secession;
     Promoting the equality of the peoples of Ethiopia enshrined in the constitution and
     promoting their unity based on their mutual consent;
     exercising the powers and the functions concurrently entrusted to it and the Council
    Peoples’ Representatives;
    Striving to find solutions to disputes or misunderstandings that may arise between
    States;
    determining the division of revenues derived from joint Federal and State tax sources
    and the subsidies that the Federal Government may provide to the States;
     identifying civil cases that require legislation by the House of Peoples’
    Ordering Federal intervention if any State, in violation of this Constitution, endangers
     the constitutional order

The House of Federation has 108 representatives who are elected by the state
governments for a five-year term of office. The composition of the House of Federation
is determined according to a system of proportional representation where each nation and
nationality is entitled to at least one member and one additional representative for each
one million of its population. The House holds at least two sessions annually, each lasting
a week, and also holds a joint meeting annually with the House of Peoples'
Representatives at the start of the Parliamentary session. Both Houses hold a joint session
concerning election of the president of the Republic, at the commencement of the annual
session of the parliament, human rights problem, amending the constitution etc.
The members of the House of Federation are usually members of their state governments
as well and, in this way, they are close to the issues of their people.
The House of Federation is semi-autonomous in that its budget is submitted for approval
to the House of Peoples' Representatives. Regarding this article 65 says that “The House

of the Federation shall submit its budget for approval to the House of Peoples’

2. The House of Peoples' Representatives
The members of House of Peoples’ Representatives are the representative of the
Ethiopian People as a whole” (Article 54 Sub-article 4). It has 548 members elected for a
term of five years. One month before the expiry of the House’s term election for a new
House shall be held. The House of Representatives has one annual session from October
to June. Decisions are made if they are supported by the majority members of the House.
The House of Peoples' Representatives is a powerful legislative body with its legitimacy
based on popular election and representation. It is granted broad legislative powers in a
large number of areas and it controls the purse strings of the national government, which
cannot levy taxes or spend money without its approval.
The Constitution entrusts Parliament with significant electoral, legislative and budgetary
powers. Article 55 of the Constitution lists the legislative powers of the House of Peoples'
Representatives, which include the power to legislate in the areas of:
   Land and natural resources;
   Inter-State and foreign commerce;
   Transportation, postal and telecommunication services;
   Enforcement of political rights;
   Nationality and immigration;
   Standards of measurement and calendar;
   Patents and copyrights;
   The possession and bearing of fire arms;
    Labor, commercial and Penal Codes
   Civil laws "which the Federal Council deems necessary to maintain and sustain one
    economic community" and the organization of national defense, public security and
    national police force.
   In addition, the Constitution gives the House of Peoples’ Representatives important
    fiscal and budgetary powers, including the power to:

   Approve general policies and strategies of social and economic development, and
    fiscal and monetary policy of the country;
   Enact laws on matters relating to the administration of the National Bank, exchange
    of foreign currency, and local currency;
   Levy taxes and duties on revenue sources reserved to the Federal State. It shall ratify
    the Federal budget.

The President of the F.D.R.E is the Head of State. The President is elected by a two-
thirds majority vote of a joint session of the House of Peoples' Representatives and the
House of Federation. The term of duty is six years and the President shall not be elected
for more than two terms.

Prime Minister and the Council of Minister
The highest executive powers of the Federal Government are vested in the Prime
Minister and in the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is elected from among
members of the House of Peoples' Representatives and power of government shall be
assumed by the political party, or a coalition of political parties, that constitutes a
majority in the House of Peoples' Representatives. The Prime Minister is the chief-
executive, the chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Commander-in-Chief of the
National Armed Forces.
A notable feature of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is
that it accords a dignified and crucial position to the Judiciary. Ethiopia's judicial
machinery is well ordered and well regulated, with the Supreme Court at the top. The
Ethiopian Government is federal in nature. Ethiopia has a dual system of courts - a
Federal Judiciary with the Supreme Court at the top along with a separate and parallel
judicial system in each Regional State. The Federal Supreme Court, the Federal High
Court and the Federal First Instance Court constitute a single Federal Judiciary, having
jurisdiction over all cases pertaining to federal matters. Likewise, there is a similar court
structure in each Regional State that has jurisdiction over all regional matters. The

Judiciary in Ethiopia has been assigned a significant role. It has to dispense justice not
only between individuals, but also between the state and the citizens. It interprets and
applies all the laws of the land. To enable the courts to discharge their functions
impartially, without fear or favor, the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of
Ethiopia contains provisions which guarantee and safeguard independence. Thus,
independence of the Judiciary is enshrined in the Constitution for the first time, which is
rightly considered a historic landmark. The Judiciary is independent. Judicial powers,
both at Federal and State level, are vested in the courts. Judges shall exercise their
functions in full independence and shall be directed solely by the law. The Federal
Supreme Court shall have the highest and final judicial power over Federal matters.
The judges of the Federal Courts are appointed by the House of Peoples' Representatives
and the Regional State judges are appointed by the Regional State Council, after
consultation with those most competent to advise on the subject - the Federal Judicial
Administration Commission and the State Judicial Administration Commission.

Once appointed, the judges hold office until they reach pension age, and thus their tenure
is independent of the will of the executive. A special procedure has been laid down for
removal of judges on the grounds of incompetence, inefficiency or misbehavior. Judges
are supposed to exercise their function in full independence and shall be directed solely
by the law. The Federal Supreme Court draws up and submits the Federal Court budget to
the House of Peoples' Representatives for approval and, upon approval, administers the

         Protection of Rights and Freedoms
Articles 13 to 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
pertain to fundamental rights. The fundamental rights have been grouped under several
headings. The Constitution guarantees rights and freedom, equality before the law, equal
protection of laws, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, belief and
opinion, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of person, freedom against
jeopardy and ex post fact laws, the right to property.

In this regard, the Judiciary has the power and duty to ensure effective and speedy
enforcement of the rights of individuals. To ensure the fundamental rights effectively and
speedily the courts in Ethiopia have yet to develop full capacity. Towards this end,
special efforts are underway to build the capacity of the courts. One such effort is
focusing on increasing the supply of qualified lawyers, with impeccable integrity and
honesty for appointment as judges. Given the independence of the Judiciary, which is
enshrined in the constitution, the unreserved efforts to fully build the capacity of the
Judiciary and the commitment, sincerity and good intention of those on the bench,
individuals surely have remedies in the case of infringement of their rights.

8.6 Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism is descriptive of a complicated concept, which subjects the officials
who exercise governmental powers to the limitations of a higher law or constitution.
Constitutionalism proclaims the desirability of the rule of law as opposed to rule by the
arbitrary judgment or mere flat of public officials (Rule of Man). Thus Charles H.
Mcllwain has written that the essential quality of constitutionalism is that “it is a legal
limitation on government; it is the antithesis of arbitrary rule...” (Constitutionalism:
Ancient and Modern, p. 21). Another eminent scholar of constitutional law, Howard Jay
Graham, has observed that “constitutionalism... is the art and the process of assimilating
and converting statute and precedent, ideals and aspirations, into the forms and the Rule
of Law—into a Fundamental and Supreme Law” (Everyman's Constitution, p. 6).

The concept of constitutionalism is that in political society government officials are not
free to do anything they please in any manner they choose; they are bound to observe
both the limitations on power and the procedures which are set out in the supreme,
constitutional law of the community. As you have seen in the previous unit, one of the
important tasks of constitution is limiting the power of governors. It may therefore be
said that the touchstone of constitutionalism is the concept of limited government under a
higher law.

         Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women;
         when it dies there, no constitution, no law,
         no court can save it.... While it lies there,
         it needs no constitution, no law, no court to
         save it.

         Learned Hand, jurist

The higher law of the constitution is not subject to formal alteration by ordinary
legislative procedures, and the constitution, unlike statutes, emanates directly from the
whole body of citizens in the form of an organic document written and ratified in some
special way which stresses that the people are the ultimate repository of political power,
and that their enduring will must be obeyed by government officials.

8.7 self attempt questions
I. Read each of the following questions carefully. Select the best answer
among the given alternatives.
1. Which of these is not included in a constitution?
        A. government structure and functions
       B. powers and functions of the legislative organ of the state
       C. The socio-economic policy of the country
       D. Rights, duties and responsibilities of citizens
       E. None of these

2. Which one of the following is wrong about the president of the federal
            Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
      A. The head of state
      B. Elected by the House of peoples’ Representative
      C. The term of office of the president is six years
      D. He shall award medals, prizes and gifts in accordance with conditions &
       procedures established by law
      E. None of these

3. What do you understand from the following statement?
           The constitution is the supreme law of the land any law, customary practice
           or decision of an organ of state or public official which contravenes this
           constitution shall be no effect
       A. The sovereign Authority of the people
       B. Supremacy of the Constitution
       C. Separation of state & religion
       D. Separation of power
        E. All of these
4. One of the following does not refers to the 1931 constitution
       A. It is the first written constitution in Ethiopia
       B. It introduced parliamentary system
       C. Its main aim was to give the country and the Imperial rule and image of
          Modernity in the minds of the Westerners
       D. It was drafted by popular participation
       E. None of these
5. The 1987 constitution was different from the previous constitutions because it
       A. Incorporated some democratic principles
       B. Recognized the cultural identify and equality of nations and nationalities
       C. was founded upon the very idea of the divine right of kings
       D. A& B
       E. B &C

6. Which of the following best describes constitution
          A. Constitution is a document that contains the fundamental principles
              in which a given state is established and governed whether embodied
              in the low, custom or convention
          B. A government document that contains different rules principles.
          C. Constitution is concerned with how decisions are reached, how power

            D. It is a document that limits governmental authority.

7. From which constitution of Ethiopia is the following passage taken?
            ‘Ethiopian subjects shall have the right in accordance with the
            conditions prescribed by law to assemble peaceably and without
            A. from the revised constitution
            B. from the first written constitution
            C. from the 1955 G.C constitution
            D. from the present constitution
            E. both A and B are correct
II.True or false
1. The 1931 constitution of Ethiopian did not include the Universal Human
2. Constitutionalism refers to that public officials and ordinary citizens act and behave
according to the law
3. By unwritten constitution we mean the highest law of the state which is not in the text
form but that orally transmitted from generation to generation.

III.Define the following terms

Constitution                          Rule of law
Constitutionalism                     Unwritten constitution          written constitution
IV. Questions for reflection

Consider the following passage and answer the questions that come after
the passage.

              It shall, on its own initiative, request a joint session of the House of the
              Federation and of the House of Peoples’ Representatives to take
              appropriate measures when State authorities are unable to arrest
              violations of human rights within their jurisdiction. It shall, on the basis
              of the joint decision of the House, give directives to the concerned State
1. What is the structure of the state mentioned in the passage?
2. Does the state have a parliament? If it does what type of parliament does the

    states have?
3. From which constitution of Ethiopia is the passage taken?
4. What do you understand from the passage?
5. What is the form government that the state mentioned in the passage has?

● Charles H. McIlwain, Constitutionalism and the Changing World
    (New York, 1939)
● Charles H. McIlwain, Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern (Ithaca, 1947).
    Howard Jay
● Graham, Everyman's Constitution (Madison, 1968);
● Fasil Nahum Constitution for Nation of Nations The Ethiopian perspectives
    Asmara Red sea press Inc
●    The Ethiopian constitutions (1931,1955, 1987 and 1995)

UNIT 9 the theory and Practices of Democracy

9.1 Introduction
9.2 Objectives
9.3 Origin and definition of democracy
     -   democracy and democratic system
9.4 Types of Democracy
     -   Direct/Pure democracy

    -   Indirect /Representative democracy
9.5 principles and values of a democratic system
9.6 Constitutional Democracy and Participation of Citizens
9.7 Check your progress

9.1 Introduction
Theories of governance can be classified in to two broad categories. These are
authoritarian government, which allow little or no participation in decision making by
individuals and groups outside the upper reaches of the government. The other one is
democratic a government which allows much broader and more meaningful participation.

The term democracy is as old as the golden age of Greek. The Athenians, in the fifth
century BC reached at the highest level in democratic development in comparison with
other city-states of the time. In a short period of time, they were able to promote it
surrounding world. In the existing world many nations are building the political system in
which the citizens are in the process of self-governance.

In Ethiopia, the word democracy is commonly used, but some people wrongly
understand. In this unit you learn the meaning of democracy; what democracy is all
about; the two ways of implementing democracy; the features of democracy the necessity
of rule of law for effective and full participation of citizens in the process of building
constitutional democracy.

At the end of this lesson students will be able to:
   explain the meaning of democracy
   identify and explain the two ways in which citizens exercise democracy
   describe how the historical development of democracy proceeded
   identify and explain the roles played by citizens in the building up process of

   identify and explain the fundamental principles of democracy `
   develop the value of the culture of tolerance, skills of conflict resolution and
   respect for the rule of law

9.3 Origin and definition of democracy
The term democracy and the classical conception of democratic rule are firmly rooted in
Ancient Greece. “Demo” means people, and “kratien” means to rule. There fore in
democracy the people are the source of political power.

   Democracy and democratic system
Democracy is a concept that has very complex and wide meaning the following
definitions are among the common ones;
1. Democracy is a system of government in which the supreme political power resides
    in the people
2. Democracy is a form of government in which political control is exercised by the
    people either directly or through their elected representatives
3. Democracy (rule by the people) is a system of government in which all adults with
    the exception of disqualified by criminal behavior or mental incapacity have the right
    and the means to exercise some form of genuine control over government
4. In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln democracy is a government ‘ of the people , by the
    people and for the people’

A democratic system is systems of government in which people are governed by persons
whom they elected are their leaders. Democracy is the way to social and economic
development of the people. One reason people need to build democracy is to secure
sustainable social and economic development of the people. One reason people need to
build democracy is to secure sustainable social and economic development in democracy
involves fair distribution of resources.

Democracy is management of conflict, composed of values of tolerance co-operation
Compromise, consensus pragmatism, compassion, civility etc. These values are

instruments to resolve differences peacefully therefore; democracy is peaceful resolution
of differences.

9.4 Types of Democracy
As we have seen, democracy is a political system in which the citizens administer or
govern themselves. But how do people administer or govern themselves? For this and
some other season there are two types of democracy, such as:
1. Direct
2. Indirect democracy

1. Direct democracy (pure democracy/ participatory democracy): it is classically
termed as pure democracy, is any form of government in which all citizens can directly
participate in the decision-making process. All citizens, with out the intermediary of
elected or appointed officials can participate in making public decisions. A political
system that does not participate citizens directly, in decision making process is not
democracy. It is when citizens are able to pass decisions on their own affairs that can be
said that they are governing themselves. At theoretical level democracy means a political
system in which all eligible citizens directly involve in law making, implementing and
interpreting activities.

Nowadays, at manageable population size level for example keble, town meeting,
community and trade union, direct democratic system is practical. Referendum and
election are two processes in which people exercise direct democracy. In these processes
not the representatives but the citizens themselves appear in person and pass their own
decision. In this system the people pass decision on behalf of themselves. But in the case
of indirect or representative democracy, the representatives pass decision on behalf of the

2. Indirect /Representative democracy: is at best, a limited and indirect form of
democracy It is Limited in the sense that popular participation is both frequent and brief
being reduced to the act of voting every few years depending on the length of the political
term It is indirect in the sense that the public is kept at arm’s length from government the

public participate only through the choice of who should govern it, and never, or only
rarely exercise power itself.

Some advocates of representative democracy argue that it is the only practicable form of
democracy in modern conditions Because, a high level of popular participation is
possible with in relatively small Communities in that face-to-face communication can
take place between and amongst citizens moreover, to consult the general public on each
and every issue, and permit wide-ranging debate and discussion threatens to paralyze the
decision- making process and make a country virtually ungovernable

The most fundamental objections to direct democracy is however, that ordinary people
lack the time, maturity and specialist knowledge to rule wisely on their won behalf. In
this sense, representative democracy merely applies the advantages of the division of
labor to politics specialist politics able to devote all their time and energy to the activity
of government, can clearly do a better job than would the general public.

9.5 principles and values of a democratic system
1. Sovereign Authority of the people: - It is the with mate power vested in all the people
    rather than in some of them to make political decisions
   Sovereignty:- Supreme power, or the ultimate decision making power
   Vestment (dispositions) in the people power possession of the people or the source of
    power is in the people
   The ‘People’ all adult citizens (Citizens who are in the legal –maturity)
There fore, sovereignty of the people implies the ultimate decision making power of the
2. The rule of law (The supremacy of the constitution)
Democracy is characterized by the rule of low In democracy Constitutional government
lead the political order In such Cases, both public officials and citizens live and behave
according to the low public officials abide by constitution their power is granted and
limited by low The transfer of power is also made peacefully through periodic elections
this is essential features of the prevalence of the rule of low

3. Separation of powers:- It avoids the concentration of political power at the centre or
in the hands of the few Instead, political power is shared among different organs and
levels of government In democracy decision making is usually shared among three
branches of government These are the legislative the executive and the judiciary this
helps to check and balance political power among independent bodies of the government
separation of power therefore, avoids the possession or control of political power by a
single body
4. Human and Democratic Rights democracy provides to the people (citizens) fund
mental rights & freedoms these rights includes the most basic ones such as the right to
life, liberty, equality, and other economic social and political rights and freedoms because
without which one can not think of a democratic system

5. Conduct and accountability of government
This refers to the transparent activity of government that enables the people to make the
government officials accountable for the failure that they committee to discharge their
official duties
6. Majority Rule and minority Rights
In the system of democracy, decisions are usually made based on majority vote the
opinion and believes supported by majority members would be accepted and implement
by minorities who oppose it. However, the basic rights of the minority would be
protected and served and their voices is also heard (Listened)
7. Multi-party system
In a democratic political system there exist two or more political parties competing
peacefully for political power the parties generate different views, ideas or opinions etc,
for the benefit of society. In multi-party system elections are conducted fairly, freely and
periodically. The winner party assumes power independently or in coalition with minority
parties. The activities of the party in power which is checked and observed by other
parties which are not in power

8. Free, Fair and periodic Elections
In the process of democracy Periodic election is common. And public officials are
chosen to positions at every specified time through this process citizens determine those

who assume leadership. Not all elections serve this purpose but those that are
Characterized for being free from biases and corruption, fair for allowing the opportunity
for all eligible persons and periodic in that the government is constantly renewed by
citizens’ political participation

Generally, in democracy the people exercise self-governance either directly or through
their chosen representatives. Democratic government means popular government in
theory; the people are fundamentally responsible for their own political well-being.
However, the people are the source of governmental power, they can’t simply do any
thing they wish virtually every democracy imposes Limitations on majority rule.
Furthermore, well-established rules and regulations usually dictate the procedures
according to which government operates where governments are determined by
meaningful elections and where such limitations are in force, the government is said to be
a constitutional democracy

9.6 Constitutional Democracy and Participation of Citizens
Civic participation refers to the active involvement of citizens in the political, economic
and social affairs which are their own. Providing human and democratic right
constitutional democratic system facilitates the active participation of citizens in the three
spheres mentioned above.

As it has been cited in the previous unit, a constitution is defined as sets of laws,
principles, policies etc serving as guiding and the highest law of the state. It describes a
government and its operation. It has also a function of issuing of rights, freedoms,
equalities, and liberties to citizens to play active role in socio-economic and political
affairs of their own. Thus, constitutional democracy (democratic system based on
constitution) has a great importance for the active participation of citizens and in turn a
great contribution for the healthy development of constitutional democracy.

The government bodies and their officials have the duty to obey and observe the
constitution. The government is expected to protect not violet, the rights of citizens
issued by the constitution. The rights include

   Right of Thought, Opinion and Expression
   The Right of Assembly, Demonstration and Petition
   The Right to Vote and to be Elected etc.

Constitutional democracy depends on a participation of enlightened citizens, those who
control their representatives (public officials). Limited government remains limited only
by vigilance of citizens who prevent on protest ethical and constitutional violation. It is
only through thoughtful participation of citizens that the promises can be achieved and a
healthy democracy can be established.

9.7 self attempt questions
I. Select the best answer among the given alternatives.

1. As hereditary authority is to monarchy __________is to democracy.
        A. periodic election
        B. republicanism
        C. Federalism
        D. parliamentarianism
        E. Both A and B
2. Sovereign Authority of the people implies
          A. Public officials have absolute power over the people
          B. People are the source of Political power
          C. Political power comes by force
          D. Peaceful Transition of political power
          E. All of these
3. Which one of the following is not the principle of democracy?

          A. It enables the people to be sovereign.

          B. It recognizes and protects the individuals as well as group rights, liberties
               and equality.
          C. Rule of Law
          D. Decision is made based on majority vote system.
           E. None of the above
4. In an Indirect democracy, decisions are passed by
              A. All citizens
              B. peoples’ Representative
              C. Investors
              D. Media
5. Which one of the following best express sovereignty
           A. It refers to the supremacy of rulers in implementing laws.
           B. It is an attribute of the state
           C. It refers to having an ultimate law making and implementing power.
           D. It refers to power of the people to elect their representatives.

II. True or false
1. At present time implementing direct democracy at community level is possible.
2. Uni-party system is one of the important features of democracy.
3. There is interdependence relation between civic participation.
4. Periodic election of rulers is one of the important values of democracy

III.Define the following words and phrases

Democracy                          Representative Democracy
Sovereignty                        Majority Rule and minority Rights
Rule of law                        Constitutional Democracy
Participatory democracy            Direct Democracy
Indirect Democracy
Accountability of government

IV.Questions for reflection
1. Mention the reason why indirect democracy is sometimes said to be representative

2. Is there any means of implementing direct democracy in the present condition of the
  World? Give your justification for your answer
 4. List any of two indicators of constitutional democracy

● Markoff, John, Waves of Democracy, 1996,
● Muhlberger, Steve, Phil Paine, Democracy's Place in World History, Journal of
  World History.
● Charles Tilly, Contention and Democracy in Europe, 1650-2000, Cambridge
  University Press, 2004, Google Print
● Miller L(ed)(): Questions that Matter   1984
● Ball Alan Modern Politics and Government Hong Kong, 1978.

UNIT 10 Fundamental Human Rights
10.1 Introduction
10.2 Objectives
10.3 Meaning and Nature of Human Rights
10.4 Principles of Human Rights
10.5 Families of Human Rights
10.6 Universal Declaration o Human Rights
10.7 The Present Ethiopian Constitution and Human and Democratic Rights

10.8 Check your progress
10s as .9 Selected references

10.1 Introduction
Rights define as a liberty or choice about having in a certain way with which other must
not interfere. Now a day, human Rights are the great ethical measure that is used to
measure a government's treatment of its people. A broad consensus has emerged in the
twentieth century on rhetoric that frames judgment of nations against an international
moral code prescribing certain benefits and treatment for all humans simply because they
are human. On the other hand Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of
his existence. Of this kind are all the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all
those rights of acting as an individual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not
injurious to the natural rights of others.

This unit dealing with natural rights as well as human rights. In this unit you will
introduce working definition and features of human rights. And also introduce important
principles of natural benefits of human beings. Generally you will learn about different
types of human rights as well as natural rights.

10.2 Objectives
At the end of this unit students will be able to
   define human rights
   explain what the nature of human rights is
   identify and explain the features of human rights
   identify and explain the different branches of human rights
   develop a positive attitude to wards the protection or□ enjoyment of human rights
   identify and exercise the rights included in the present constitution of Ethiopia

10.3 Meaning and Nature of Human Rights

Human rights are the rights available to human beings by virtue of their being human and
natural rights which a human being acquires simply through birth. That is why Rights are
our advantages or benefits that we obtain as the member of community in which we

There are some rights which we enjoy because of our nature (human being). These are
rights that are considered by most societies to belong automatically to everyone, for
example, the rights to life, freedom, justice, and equality, liberty etc. Thus, they are
inalienable and inviolable rights of all human beings living in whatever country and
political system.

10.4 Principles of Human rights
   ●    Inalienability: human rights are inalienable and cannot be separated from human
   ●    Inviolable: human rights are secured from infringement, violence or attack
   ●    Universality: human rights are universal and are available to all individuals and
        peoples without discrimination on the basis of gender, political affiliation, race,
        religion and so on;
   ●    Indivisibility: human rights are indivisible and all rights are dependent on other
         rights. There are no hierarchies of human rights. And human rights cannot be
         applied selectively (this does not mean that all states have accepted and
         implemented all rights contained in the Universal Declaration and the
         international human rights conventions).

10.5 Families of Human Right

(1) Civil and Political rights;
(2) Economic and Social rights;
(3) Minority and Group rights; and
(4) Environmental rights.

(1) Civil and Political Rights

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and expression. This right includes freedom
to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers,
either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art, or through any other medium of one's
choice. (American Convention on Human Rights, Article 13.1)
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association
with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his
interests (ECHR, Article 11).
Every citizen shall have the right to participate freely in the government of his country,
either directly or through freely chosen representatives in accordance with the provisions
of the law. 2. Every citizen shall have the right of equal access to the public service of his
country. 3. Every individual shall have the right of access to public property and services
in strict equality of all persons before the law (African Charter, Article 13).

These rights fit the general idea of human rights suggested above. First, they are political
norms that primarily impose responsibilities on governments and international
organizations. Second, they are minimal norms in that they protect against the worst
things that happen in political society rather than setting out standards of excellence in
government. Third, they are international norms establishing standards for all countries --
and that have been accepted by more than 140 of the world's countries. Finally, it is
plausible to make claims of high priority on their behalf, and to support these claims of
importance with strong reasons. Consider the right to freedom of movement. One
approach to justifying this right and its high priority would argue the importance of free
movement to being able to find the necessities of life, to pursuing plans, projects, and
commitments, and to maintaining ties to family and friends. A related approach argues
that it is impossible to make use of other human rights if one cannot move freely. The
right to political participation is undermined if a person is not permitted to go to political
rallies or to the polls (that means in the electoral process).

Civil and political rights are not absolute, and they may sometimes be suspended. Some
civil and political rights can be restricted by public and private property rights, by
restraining orders related to domestic violence, and by legal punishments. Further, after a
disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake free movement is often appropriately

suspended to keep out the curious, to permit access of emergency vehicles and
equipment, and to prevent looting.

(2) Economic and Social Rights

Besides the "civil and political" rights just discussed, the UDHR includes "economic and
social" (or welfare) rights. For example, the UDHR included a putative right to holidays
with pay (Article 24), and such a right pertains to a good life, not to a minimally good
life. In addition to this there are equality and nondiscrimination for women and
minorities, access to employment opportunities, fair pay, safe and healthy working
conditions, the right to form trade unions and bargain collectively, social security, an
adequate standard of living (covering adequate food, clothing, and housing), health care,
and education. These rights were made part of international law by treaties such as the
European Social Charter, the ICCPR. which amended the American Convention on
Human Rights. Whether economic and social rights are genuine human rights is
discussed below.
The International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR's) list
of rights includes nondiscrimination and equality for women in the economic and social
area (Articles 2 and 3), freedom to work and opportunities to work (Article 4), fair pay
and decent conditions of work (Article 7), the right to form trade unions and to strike
(Article 8), social security (Article 9), special protections for mothers and children
(Article 10), the right to adequate food, clothing, and housing (Article 11), the right to
basic health services (Article 12), the right to education (Article 13), and the right to
participate in cultural life and scientific progress (Article 15).
Article 25, sub-article (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is read as
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of
himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and
necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment,
sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances
beyond his control.”

These are as important rights as others. To show their importance we better to use two
welfare rights as examples: the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to
free public education. These rights require governments to try to remedy widespread and
serious evils such as hunger and ignorance.
The significance of food and other basic material conditions of life is easy to show. These
goods are essential to people's ability to live, function, and flourish. Without adequate
access to these goods, interests in life, health, and liberty are endangered and serious
illness and death are probable. The connection between having the goods the right
guarantees and having a minimally good life is direct and obvious -- something that is not
always true with other human rights.

In the modern-day world lack of access to educational opportunities typically limits (both
absolutely and comparatively) people's abilities to participate fully and effectively in the
political and economic life of their country (Hodgson 1998). Lack of education increases
the likelihood of unemployment and underemployment.
Another way to support the importance of welfare rights is to show their importance to
the full implementation of civil and political rights. If a government succeeds in
eliminating hunger and providing education to everyone this promotes people's abilities
to know, use, and enjoy their liberties, due process rights, and rights of political
participation. This is easiest to see in regard to education. Ignorance is a barrier to the
realization of civil and political rights because uneducated people often do not know what
rights they have and what they can do to use and defend them. It is also easy to see in the
area of democratic participation. Education and a minimum income make it easier for
people at the bottom economically to follow politics, participate in political campaigns,
and to spend the time and money needed to go to the polls and vote.

In support of this UDHR Article 26, (2) says this: “Education shall be directed to the full
development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and
friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of
the United Nations for the maintenance of peace”.

(3) Minority and Group Rights

Regarding to the rights of minorities is a longstanding concern of the human rights
movement. Human rights documents emphasize that all people, including members of
minority ethnic and religious groups, have the same basic rights and should be able to
enjoy them without discrimination. The right to freedom from discrimination figures
prominently in the UDHR and subsequent treaties. The ICCPR, for example, commits its
participating states to respecting and protecting their people's rights "without distinction
of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth, or social status."

Individual rights are especially important to ethnic and religious minorities, including
rights to freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom
from discrimination. Human rights documents also include rights that refer to minorities
explicitly and give them special protections. For instance, the ICCPR in Article 27 says
that persons belonging to ethnic, religious, or linguistic minorities "shall not be denied
the right, in community with other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to
profess and practice their own religion, or to use and develop their own language."

Minority groups are often targets of violence and human rights norms call upon
governments to refrain from such violence and to provide protections against it. This
work is partly done by the right to life, which is a standard individual right.

(4) Environmental Rights

Environmental rights often defined as rights of animals or of nature itself. Conceived in
this way they do not fit our general idea of human rights because the right holders are not
humans or human groups. But more modest formulations are possible; environmental
rights can be understood as rights to an environment that is healthy and safe. Such a right
is human-oriented: it does not cover directly issues such as the claims of animals,
biodiversity, or sustainable development.

The right to a safe environment can be sculpted to fit the general idea of human rights
suggested above by conceiving it as primarily imposing duties on governments and
international organizations. It calls on them to regulate the activities of both
governmental and nongovernmental agents to ensure that environmental safety is
maintained. Citizens are secondary addressees. This right sets out a minimal
environmental standard, safety for humans, rather than calling for higher and broader
standards of environmental protection.

After the slaughter of Jews by Germen during World War II (1939-1945), the UN
adopted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration affected the terms of
several national constitutions that were written after World War II. The declaration was
adopted on December 10, 1948, which is now celebrated annually as Human Rights Day.
It is an international document affirming the dignity and rights of all human beings.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was prepared by the Commission on Human
Rights of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.. French
jurist and Nobel laureate René Cassin was the declaration’s principal author. In 1968
René Cassin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace.

The rights described in the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
include the right to life, liberty, and security of person; to freedom of conscience,
religion, opinion, expression, association, and assembly; to freedom from arbitrary arrest;
to a fair and impartial trial; to freedom from interference in privacy, home, or
correspondence; to a nationality; to a secure society and an adequate standard of living; to
education; and to rest and leisure. The declaration also affirms the rights of every person
to own property; to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; to travel from a home
country at will and return at will; to work under favorable conditions, receive equal pay
for equal work, and join labor unions at will; to marry and raise a family; and to
participate in government and in the social life of the community.

It proclaims that “all human beings are born free and equal” (Article 1) and the second
article of the declaration mention the entitlement of all human races with out any
discrimination to these basic rights. Article 2 says that “Everyone is entitled to all the
rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as
race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status.

10.7 The Present Ethiopian Constitution and Human and Democratic Rights
The Revised Constitution of Ethiopia (during the reign of Hileselassie I) included
Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the first time. The 1955 constitution was
different from that of the 1931 because the former included human rights following the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The following are some of the human rights
provisions of the constitution:

Article 41 Freedom of speech and of the press is guaranteed throughout the Empire in
           accordance with the law.
Article 45 Ethiopian subjects shall have the right, in accordance with the conditions
prescribed by law, to assemble peaceably and without arms.
Article 46 Freedom to travel within the Empire and to change domicile therein is assured
to all subjects of the Empire, in accordance with the law.
Article 47 Every Ethiopian subject has the right to engaged in any occupation and, to that
end to form or join associations in accordance with the law.
Article 56 No one shall be subjected to cruel and inhuman punishment.
Article 61 All persons and all private domiciles shall be exempt from unlawful searches
and seizures.

The latest, 1987 constitution also included the basic human rights. Chapter Seven (Article
35- Article 58) was concerned with the issuance of human and democratic rights. Article
35, sub article 1 guaranteed all Ethiopians would enjoy equality before the law,
regardless of nationality, sex, religion, occupation, and social or other status. They had
the right to marry (Article 37), to work, to rest, to receive free education, and to have
access to health care and to a fair trial. Ethiopians were guaranteed freedom of

conscience and religion. As was not the case in imperial Ethiopia, religion and the state
were proclaimed to be separate institutions. Citizens were assured the freedoms of
movement, speech, press, assembly, peaceful demonstration, and association. Regarding
political participation, citizens had the right to vote and the right to be elected to political
office (Article 50). Sub-article 1&2 of the 2nd article says that all Ethiopian nationalities
would be given equal recognition in the republic.

The existing constitution of Ethiopia made distinction between human and democratic
rights. The chapter three that deals with fundamental rights and freedoms has two parts:

Part One (Article 14 - Article 28) contains Human Rights. The first three articles (Article
14, 15 and 16) are about the right to life, the security of person and liberty. This is based
on the crucial point of the Social contract theory which was the foundation of modern
western states societies- all men are created equal as well as free. The above mentioned
articles of the existing constitution of Ethiopia prohibit arbitrary arrest, deprivation of life
and liberty. They are made in conformity with article 3, 5 and 9 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. Article 18 of the present constitution is about the
prohibition against cruel or inhuman treatment-no serfdom or slavery. As any individual
citizens arrested, accused or those persons who are held in custody are all human beings.
Thus, they are expected to enjoy the human rights and be treated as any other human
beings. Article 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23 are reserved to the rights of persons arrested,
accused, held in custody and imprisoned. These are human beings who are either
suspected criminals or proved to be guilty (sentenced) but still human beings. Thus, “All
persons held in custody and imprisoned upon conviction and sentencing have the right to
treatment respecting their human dignity” (Article 21). They must obtain fair and timely
justice. This may remind us the famous saying; “Justice delayed is justice denied”.
Referring to this the 1995 constitution of Ethiopian says that “accused persons have the
right to a public trial by an ordinary court of law within a reasonable time after having
been charged….” (Article 20). It also indicates that arrested persons would be required to
be told immediately, the reason why they were arrested.” Persons arrested have the right
to be informed promptly, in a language they understand, of the reasons for their arrest and
of any charged against them” (Article 19, Sub- article 1). “Persons arrested have the right

to be brought before a court within 48 hours of their arrest” (Article 19 Sub-article 3).
According to article 24 every Ethiopian has the right to respect for his/her human dignity,
the free development of his/her personality and recognition as a person. Article 25
guarantees that all Ethiopians with no discrimination on the basis of social status,
religion, political opinion, skin color, sex, language etc. are entitled to equal treatment or
protection of the law. The right to privacy is another important right issued by the
constitution. It prohibits arbitrary searches of citizens’ home or his or her personal
seizure. This includes the right of citizens to use their own telephone, postal service, e-
mail or any other means of correspondence with out the interference of any political
organ, institution or person.

The second part of chapter three (Article 29 –Article 44) contents civil rights or
democratic rights. The first article of this part (Article 29) states the right of thought,
opinion and expression. Every Ethiopian citizen has the right to hold his/her personal
view, freedom of      expression that includes “freedom to seek, receive and import
information and ideas of all kinds, regardless pf frontiers either orally, in writing or in
print, in the form of art, or through any media of his choice”(Article 29, Sub-article 2).
Provided that the assembly and the demonstration are peaceful and not war propagating
“every one has the right to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peaceably
nd unarmed, and to petition….”(Article 30 Sub-article10). Freedom of association and
movement are also the other important freedoms included in the constitution. Article 31
and 32 respectively point out freedom of association and movement. Every one has the
right to be the member of any organization or association whose purpose of establishment
is not against the well-being of the society. Regarding freedom of movement, any
Ethiopian has the right to establish his residence any where in the territory of the state.
And any one is free to leave the state and return to the state at any time he wishes.

According to Article 35 women have equal rights with men in what ever respect: social,
political and economic. Children as the foundation of the coming society have to have
some basic rights. The rights of children ( Article 36) includes the right to life; a name
and nationality; know and be cared for by his or her parents or legal guardians; not to be

forced to work which my cause hazard or harm to his or her physical or psychological
condition or well-being.

Article 38 assures that all Ethiopian citizens “…with out any discrimination based on
race, color nation, nationality, sex, language, religion political and other opinion or other
status… have the right to vote and to be elected.

Article 39 is regarding group rights (Rights of Nations Nationalities, and Peoples). Sub-
article 1 of the same article states that “Every Nation, Nationality, and People in Ethiopia
has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.”(Sub-
article 1) .This means any Nation, Nationality, and People of Ethiopia is free to separate
(secede) itself from the union (federation) and establish its own independent state. The
Nations, Nationalities and peoples in Ethiopia have “the right to speak, to write and to
develop [their] own language; to express, to develop and to promote their culture; and to
preserve its history.”(Sub- article 2)

Articles 40, 41, 42 and 43 deal with economic, social and cultural rights. The right to own
private property is guarantied by article 40. However this does not include land and other
natural resources. “ …ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural
resources, is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia.” It also goes
on saying that “Land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of

Every Ethiopian has the right to engage in whatever economic activity and choose his/her
occupation or profession. In order to protect their rights in group; improve their living
and working conditions civil servants, factory workers, farmers etc have the right to
establish professional associations or trade unions.

The last article of this chapter (Article 44) is about environmental rights. It indicates that
every one has the right to live in clean and healthy living area.

10.8 Self attempt questions
I. Select the best answer among the given alternatives.

1. Identify the one that indicates the universality of Human Rights
         A. They cannot be separated from human beings;
         B. They are available to all individuals and peoples without discrimination on
              the basis of gender, political affiliation, race, religion and so on.
         C. There are no hierarchies of human rights
         D. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile"

2. Which one of the following does not characterize The Universal Declaration of
   Human Rights?
        A. It is a declaration that includes natural rights which are interdependent
        B. They are enjoyed the whole human race
        C. All human rights are interrelated to one another.
        D. Human rights are inalienable and natural rights.
        E. All of the above
3. One of the following Ethiopian constitutions was the first to include the Universal
  Declaration of Human Rights. Which one of that?
       A. The 1931 constitution              C. The revised constitution
       B The 1955 constitution              D. The 1995 constitution

4. The following article is extracted from the 1995 constitution of Ethiopia. What does
the article e refer to?
Every Ethiopian has the right to choose his or her means of livelihood, occupation and
        A. Minority and Group Rights
        B. Environmental Rights
       C. Economic and Social Rights
       D. Civil and Political Rights
II.True or false item
1. All human rights are for all human beings.
2. Let a person be in what ever political system, he is entitled with all the benefits that he

  obtained naturally.
3. Democratic rights are established on the natural rights

III.Define the following words and phrases

Human Rights            Duty
Democratic rights       Declaration

IV.Questions for reflection

1. What are the possible results of violation of human rights?
2. The important task of government is protecting the natural rights of citizens. Do you
  agree? Do you think that this is true in what ever political system?

● Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, New York: Penguin Books, 1985
● Douglas Husak, "The Motivation for Human Rights", (1985)
● Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Ithaca:
  Cornell University Press, 1989
● Allan Gewirth, "Why There Are Human Rights", (1985)
● Douglas Husak, "Why There Are No Human Rights", (1984)
● John O'Manique, "Universal and Inalienable Human Rights, (1990)
● Gayle Binion, "Human Rights: A Feminist Perspective," (1995)

UNIT 11. International Relations and Contemporary Global Issues
11.2 Objectives
11.3 Meaning and Historical Development of International Relations
11.4 Contemporary Global Issues
      Political tension and armed conflicts:
      Globalization
      Terrorism
      Legal and Security Issues
11.4 The principles and objectives of the International Organizations
11.5 The Major International Organizations

11.1 Introduction
The relation each regional state with the federal government as well as with other states is
known as international relation. It is true that there is no self-sufficiency at individual or
nation level. Due to lack of self sufficiency, there is interdependency among nations for
the purpose of fulfilling their demands. In addition to that a territorial dispute between or
among the neighboring countries may arise. For this or other reasons, the interaction
among the world nation is unavoidable.

This unit deals with the international relations among the world nations. Under this lesson
definition of concept explain about international relations as well as you will discuses the
important present global issues.

On the other hand to resolve the problems that the world nations faced, they established
regional or international organizations. And you will learn the importance of that national
and international relation.

11.2 Objectives
Citizens require an appropriate knowledge and understanding of the situations in which
the surrounding world is found. The problems that the world faces are the problems that
affect many people of the world. So the people should be fully aware of these problems
and ways of solving them.

At the end of this unit students will be able to

          internalize the value of the culture of tolerance, skills of conflict resolution and
            respect for the international order;

          use their intellectual and participatory skills in investigating issues related
           to the affairs of their community and their nation;

          develop awareness national policies and international relations
          Identify and explain the current global issues.

11.3 Meaning and Historical Development of International Relations
International relations (IR) is a branch of political science, regarding to the link and
connection that a certain country with other countries, including the roles of states, Inter-
Governmental Organizations (IGOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and
Multinational Corporations (MNCs). These are companies that operate in more than one

When we see the historical development of IR often traced back to the Peace treaty of
Westphalia which was, signed on October 24, 1648. The main participants were France
and Sweden and their opponents Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. By the terms of the
treaty, the sovereignty and independence of each state of the Holy Roman Empire was
fully recognized, making the Holy Roman emperor virtually powerless.
The peace treaty closed the Thirty Years' War and readjusted the religious and political
affairs of Europe. Thirty Years’ War is known in the history of Europe as               series of

European conflicts lasting from 1618 to 1648, involving most of the countries of Western
Europe, and fought mainly in Germany. At first the struggle was primarily based on the
profound religious antagonism engendered among Germans by the events of the
Protestant Reformation. Religious animosity, especially among non-German adherents of
the contending Protestant and Roman Catholic factions, broadened the war. In 1648 the
war came to an end and the peace treaty was signed in the German cities of Münster and
Osnabrück, in Westphalia.

After this treaty the modern state system was developed ever before. Prior to this, the
European medieval organization of political authority was based on a vaguely
hierarchical religious order. Westphalia peace treaty instituted the notion of sovereignty,
which essentially meant that rulers, or sovereigns, would recognize no internal equals
within a defined territory, and no external superiors. Classical Greek and Roman
authority at times resembled the Westphalian system, but both lacked the notion of
sovereignty.   Westphalia    encouraged     the   rise   of   the   nation-state   and   the
institutionalization of diplomacy and armies. This particular European system was
exported to the Americas, Africa, and Asia via colonialism and the "standards of
civilization". The contemporary international system is established on and facilitated by
the advancement of science and communication technology.

Today, many of the foundations of the interstate system are being challenged by changes
in technology and international norms. The idea of territorial integrity and a nation’s
sovereignty—that is, it’s absolute authority over its own internal matters—are being
undermined. Neither ballistic missiles nor television signals respect borders. Television,
the mass media, telephones, and the Internet are erasing the boundaries between nations,
blending once-distinct cultures together and expanding transnational connections. Mass
communication is also drawing worldwide attention to domestic issues that in the past
were of little concern to other nations, such as human rights, the status of women,
environmental practices, and democracy. These may relate violation sovereignty. Thanks
to the development of science and technology, and the appearance of new phenomenon
(Globalization) the world nations interaction or relation is now very intense. It is because
of this reason that it was said the world was becoming a village. In addition, the

territories of nations are changing from time to time. Some nations are becoming
integrated into larger entities—for example, the European Union. Others are fragmenting
into smaller units, as did the Soviet Union and Ethiopia.

Since the 1970s the importance of economics in international relations has grown and the
study of international political economy has received increased attention. Scholars in this
field believe that the primary force driving the interaction between nations is economic,
not military. They focus on trade and economic relations among nations, especially the
political cooperation between nations to create and maintain international organizations
which benefit all nations involved, such as the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund

Conflicts among nations are inevitable since their political and economic aims and
interests often diverge. Cooperation does not refer to the absence of conflict but to the
ability of nations to peacefully resolve their differences in a way that is acceptable to all
parties involved. When cooperation fails, conflicts often escalate into coercion and
ultimately war. As you know war costs so many things including human life. Still some
nations of the world find themselves in armed conflict or war. In the following sub-unit
you see ways of handling conflicts in a peaceful manner.

11.4 Contemporary Global Issues

Today the major issues and problems that confront the peoples and the world states at
present are related to political tension and armed conflicts, economic integration and
globalization, terrorism, legal and security issues.

Political tension and armed conflicts: Globally, political tensions manifest
themselves through ideological differences, territorial disputes, trade imbalances, dispute
over utilization of natural resources etc.
If political tensions are not properly managed, they could lead to conflicts and eventually
to violence or war. Therefore, it is essential to curb political tensions from maturing to
armed conflicts through proper mechanism of conflict management and resolution—

peaceful ways of resolving conflicts. Three peaceful ways of resolving conflicts are
identified: Mediation, Arbitration and Negotiation.

Arbitration is the process of resolving disputes between people or groups by referring
them to a third party, either agreed on by them or provided by law, that makes a judgment
(Arbitrator). In this case the third party passes decision which is expected to be binding
for the conflicting groups.

Negotiation is a process of reaching of agreement through discussion and compromise. In
this case there is no the third body that either passes decisions or that facilitates the
resolution of the dispute. It requires also the willingness of the conflicting parties
(Negotiators) to settle their disputes through discussion and compromise.

The third type of a peaceful way resolving conflicts is mediation. This way of settling
disputes is possible through the intervention by a third party (Mediator) between two
sides in a dispute is an attempt to help them reach an agreement. The task of the third
body is facilitating a favorable condition in which those that are in conflict would come
to agreement.

Globalization: Thanks to the contemporary world development in science and
technology, conditions have been created for international economic integration, rather
than, isolation and semi-independence among the world nations. This new phenomenon
in the world affecting all aspects of life is called globalization. Microsoft Encarta
Reference Library Encyclopedia gives a comprehensive definition of globalization and it
defines that “Globalization is [phenomenon] of integration and democratization of the
world’s culture, economy, and infrastructure through transnational investment, rapid
proliferation of communication and information technologies, and the impacts of free-
market forces on local, regional and national economies.” (Microsoft Encarta Reference
Library [Encyclopedia], 2003 Globalization: Microsoft Corporation 1993-2002)

Thanks again to the advancement of science and technology speedy communication and
information exchange among the world people are now possible. Due to the appearance
of internet and satellite communication which are incredibly speedy means of
information exchange system, space diminishes. According to physics speed is distance
per time. From the relation among speed, distance (space) and time we can say that as
the speed is high the time required to link different areas becomes negligible and thereby

the distance between distant areas conceptually diminishes. Business people on different
continents now engage in electronic commerce (internet and communication satellite);
television allows people situated anywhere to observe the impact of terrible wars or
terrorist attack occurred far from the comfort of their living rooms; teleconference, a
conference or seminar held among people in different places by means of
telecommunications equipment, made the physical appearance of participants less
important.   Using this technology seminars or conferences are organized in which
participants are located at disparate geographical locations. The Internet allows people to
communicate instantaneously with each other notwithstanding vast geographical
distances separating them. Nowadays sending messages around the world in a split
second becomes an easy task. This situation enables corporations to manage far-flung
operations and currency traders to make their trades anywhere, anytime. In 1848 in the
communist manifesto the German socialist theorist Karl Marx pointed out that the
historical development of capitalist production inevitably drove the bourgeoisie
(capitalists) to “nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, and establish connections
everywhere.” In Marx's account the international feature of industrial capitalism
constituted the most basic source of technologies resulting in the compression of space,
helping to pave the way for “intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of
nations.” (Marx, 1979 [1848]: 476) Communications technology literally makes the
global corporation and global markets easy. People around the globe are more connected
to each other than ever before. The flow of information and money, at global level
became quicker than ever before. This is possible due to the existence of transnational
corporations here and there. Goods and services produced in one part of the world are
increasingly available in all parts of the world. International travel is more frequent.
International communication is commonplace. This phenomenon made the world a small
village (“Global village”).

Pros and cons of Globalization

Nowadays globalization is becoming a debatable issue different of scholars. There are
two views about globalization: the first view is in favor of globalization and the other one

against it or it says that the negative impact weighs more than its positive aspects. Let us
see the two views below.

According to globalization advocates, globalization makes more goods available to more
people, disseminates new technologies, and encourages a more efficient allocation of
resources among nations. In addition, supporters note that trade helps hold down inflation
and increase product quality around the world because imports create competition that
compels domestic industries to keep prices down while producing better goods and
services. Those who are in favor of this phenomenon are telling us that free trade
encourages the national or domestic industries that inevitably in competition with those
giant transnational corporations to produce good quality commodities. Thus,
globalization has a positive effect on the production of goods that have the highest or
finest standard. On top of this, they argued that globalization would promote international
trade that would lift living standards around the world. It favors the world nations in
different aspects: it facilitates the rapid flow of information from one corner of the world
to the other; it encourages the development of industries. The World Trade Organization
(WTO) director-general Michael Moore noted that increased trade was the best tool to
raise living standards in developing nations. Through trade, he explained, a country such
as South Korea has living standards that rival those of many wealthy nations. Thanks to
trade, it has moved from having an agricultural economy to being an industrial
powerhouse, producing automobiles, television sets, and other sophisticated products. On
the other hand, there are those who are averse to globalization. Some scholars criticize
globalization because it impoverishes the developing nations while it enriches the
industrial nations ever before. Developing nations are expected to implement liberal
economy and democratize themselves, so as to get loans from IMF and World Bank. The
following article indicates how globalization suffered developing nations.

At the end of the 20th century many developing countries, especially in Africa, still
lacked a strong industrial sector.
These countries continued to rely on money earned from exports of cash crops and raw
materials to buy manufactured goods and service their debts. An emphasis on the
export of cash crops and raw materials leads to increases in production. As

transportation became more efficient, countries began to compete to sell the same
goods and more goods and increased competition drove down prices. This cycle
perpetuated poverty.
Facing an inability to attract further investment or pay for imports, many debtor
nations turned to the World Bank and the IMF during the 1980s and 1990s for relief
in the form of extended credit and new loans. In exchange for this relief, debtor
countries had to present a plan of reforms to the lending institutions. These reforms
often included privatization plans and reductions in government expenditures. The
measures were intended to ensure that these countries could repay their loans, but
reforms were often painful.

(Microsoft Encarta Reference Library Encyclopidia article: Life in the Global
Marketplace, Microsoft Corporation, 1993-2002.)

Globalization has an impact on the sovereignty of nations. Opponents of globalization
argue that freedom from outside interference and the right to self-government of states
were violated by the globalization that brought about economic integrity and
interdependence. Governments themselves are joining regional trade groupings to give
themselves more size and power in a globalizing world. European nations have
submerged much of their national sovereignty in the European Union (EU), by far the
most evolved of these groupings. The EU nations are using a common currency, the euro.
in January 1999, and several others are expected to join. Over time, many analysts
believe the common currency will force EU nations to coordinate many other policies,
such as budgeting and taxation (see below). Analysist anticipated a single European
government and euro is widely viewed as a decisive step towards it. Despite growing
regional cooperation, national governments have seen globalization erode much of their
ability to control their own economies as traders and corporations move beyond the reach
of national law. For the world's market-oriented democracies, erosion of national
sovereignty means a reduction in the power of the ordinary citizen's ability to influence
events through the vote; hence, they concluded that it had the potential to erode

Terrorism:One of the problems that the present world faces is terrorism. “Terrorism”,
defines dictionary, “is violence or the threat of violence, especially bombing, kidnapping,
and assassination, carried out for political purposes” (Microsoft Encarta Dictionary,
Terrorism results in violation of the basic human rights; such as the right to liberty
(kidnapping), the right to life. In the present world terrorism is a great threat of the world
that required the collaborative effort of world nations. Regarding this the UN Secretary-
General Kofi Annan pointed out that

“Terrorism is a global threat with global effects; ... its consequences affect every aspect
of the United Nations agenda – from development to peace to human rights and the rule
of law. … By its very nature, terrorism is an assault on the fundamental principles of law,
order, human rights, and the peaceful settlement of disputes upon which the United
Nations is established. … The United Nations has an indispensable role to play in
providing the legal and organizational framework within which the international
campaign against terrorism can unfold” (The UN office on Drugs and Crime press
release: Global Programme against Terrorism on internet on Monday, 24 May 2004).

Terrorism often targets innocent civilians in order to create an atmosphere of fear,
intimidation, and insecurity. Some terrorists deliberately direct attacks against large
numbers of ordinary citizens who simply happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong
time. Terrorism disturbs the peaceful living condition of civilians. It prefers war, threat or
violence to round table discussion or peaceful ways of resolving conflicts that has been
discussed above.    Terrorists attempt to introduce sudden feeling of fear or anxiety,
especially among the victims or their target country. Terrorism is therefore designed to
have psychological effects that reach far beyond its impact on the immediate victims or
object of an attack. Terrorists mean to frighten and thereby intimidate a wider audience,
such as a rival ethnic or religious group, an entire country and its political leadership, or
the international community as a whole.

A terrorist act is a political act “because it involves the acquisition and use of power for
the purpose of forcing others to submit, or agree, to terrorist demands. A terrorist attack,
by generating publicity and focusing attention on the organization behind the attack, is

designed to create this power. It also fosters an environment of fear and intimidation that
the terrorists can manipulate. As a result terrorism’s success is best measured by its
ability to attract attention to the terrorists and their cause and by the psychological impact
it exerts over a nation and its citizens.” (Microsoft Encarta Reference Library, 2003
Encyclopedia article on Terrorism     Microsoft Corporation. 1993-2002)

Legal and Security Issues: Among the legal issues that arise between states of the world
are those related with genocide, drug trafficking, international robbery, violation and
abuse of human rights etc. Border disputes, nuclear proliferation and building of war
weapons, nuclear waste disposal, the problem of the equitable use of international waters
and natural resources etc. are referred as security issues.

The relations among states are basically regulated by International Law. International
Law is a body of principles and rules of conduct that nations regard as binding upon them
and, therefore, are expected to and usually do observe in their relations with one another.
It is a law of the international community. The International Court of Justice, the UN
judiciary organ is responsible to interpret and execute this International Law.
Whenever legal or security disputes arise between states it is expected that the parties to
the dispute should resolve their differences with mutual comprehension or understanding.
If they fail to come up with a solution they possibly present their cases for arbitration to
the International Court of Justice. (see below for further explanation about the
International Court of Justice)

11.5 The principles and objectives of the International Organizations
International relation is the method created to deal with the above mentioned current
global issues and problems. So as to deal their relations or problems world states
establish international or regional organizations.
The main conditions for the establishment of the regional or international institutions are:
        due to the division of the world in to different states as independent political
        due to the necessity of relations interdependence between the states.

       because states must develop an awareness of the problem which arise out of their
       coexistence
       states must also recognize the need for creation of systematic methods
       for regulating their relations with each other.
The interdependence of nations in the modern world means that no single nation can
dictate the outcome of international conflicts. Nor can private groups and individuals rely
on national governments to solve major world problems. Therefore, both governments
and individuals will continue to turn to the International Organizations as an important
way to address these problems and to protect their own interests.
The following international and regional organizations are the results of development in
the above areas.

11.6 The Major International Organizations
The United Nations Organization (UNO):In 1945, representatives of 50 countries met
in San Francisco at the United Nations Conference on International Organization to draw
up the United Nations Charter. The Organization officially came into existence on 24
October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by the five veto powers: China, France,
the previous Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and a majority of other
signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October. The charter is the
constituting instrument of the United Nations, setting out the rights and obligations of
Member States, and establishing the Organization's organs and procedures.

Purpose: The purposes of the United Nations, as set forth in the Charter one are to
maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to
cooperate in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problems
and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a centre
for harmonizing the actions of nations in attaining these ends.

Structure: The six principal organs of the United Nations are the: General Assembly,
Security Council, Secretariat, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council and
International Court of Justice. In addition to these the United Nations has 15 agencies and
several programs and bodies that assist the organization to perform its intended tasks

The General Assembly
The General Assembly is the main deliberative organ of the United Nations. It is
composed of representatives of all Member States, each of which has one vote. Decisions
on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new Members
and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are
reached by a simple majority.


Under the Charter 4, article 10 of the UN the functions and powers of the General
Assembly include:
●     to consider and make recommendations on the principles of cooperation in the
maintenance of international peace and security, including the principles governing
disarmament and arms regulation;
●   to discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where
a dispute or situation is being discussed by the Security Council, to make
recommendations on it;
●     to discuss and, with the same exception, make recommendations on any question
within the scope of the Charter or affecting the powers and functions of any organ of the
United Nations; to initiate studies and make recommendations to promote international
political cooperation, the development and codification of international law, the
realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, and international
collaboration in economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields;
●    to make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of any situation, regardless of
origin, which might impair friendly relations among nations;
●    to receive and consider reports from the Security Council and other United Nations

●          to consider and approve the United Nations budget and to apportion the
contributions among Members;
●    to elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council, the members of the
Economic and Social Council and those members of the Trusteeship Council that are
●     to elect jointly with the Security Council the Judges of the International Court of
Justice; and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, to appoint the Secretary-

The Security Council
The Security Council is the most powerful body in the UN. It has primary responsibility,
(under the Charter, article 23) for the maintenance of international peace and security and
for restoring peace when conflicts arise. The same Chapter and article determined that the
Security Council would consist of fifteen Members of the United Nations. Its decisions
are binding on all UN members. The Security Council has the power to define what is a
threat to security, to determine how the UN should respond, and to enforce its decisions
by ordering UN members to take certain actions. For example, the Council may impose
economic sanctions, such as halting trade with a country it considers an aggressor.

The Council convenes any time there is a threat to peace. A representative from each
member country who sits on the Council must be available at all times so that the Council
can meet at a moment’s notice. The Security Council also frequently meets at the request
of a UN member—often a nation with a grievance about another nation’s actions.
Out of the 15 members of the Security Council the five “great powers” hold permanent
seats. The Assembly elects the other ten members for two-year terms. The five permanent
members—the United States, Britain, France, Russia (formerly the Soviet Union), and
China—have the most power. These nations were the winning powers at the end of
World War II, and they still represent the bulk of the world’s military might. Decisions of
the Council require nine votes. But any one of the permanent members can veto an
important decision. This authority is known as the veto right of the great powers. As a
result, the Council is effective only when its permanent members can reach a consensus.
This created problems during the Cold War, the post-1945 struggle between the United

States and Soviet Union that ended when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. The period
of Cold War was a situation in which the council has exhibited no further progress to
solve the dispute between United States and Soviet Union, because the two ideologically
antagonistic states were unwilling to change their positions or to compromise In the
1990s, increased cooperation between the United States and Russia has enabled the
council to become more effective.

The Council has a variety of ways it can try to resolve conflicts between countries.
Usually the Council’s first step is to encourage the countries to settle their disagreements
without violence. The Council can mediate a dispute or recommend guidelines for a
settlement. It can send peacekeeping troops into a distressed area. If war breaks out, the
Council can call for a ceasefire. It can enforce its decisions by imposing economic
sanctions on a country, or through joint military action.

Since the 1990s, there has been growing controversy over which countries should have
permanent seats on the Council. Some nations believe that other countries beside the
original five should be included. For example, Japan and Germany are powerful countries
that pay large membership dues and make substantial contributions to the UN, yet they
do not have permanent seats. There is no easy solution to this problem. Political scientists
argue that adding more permanent members would create its own set of complications,
including how to decide which countries get a seat and which do not. For example, if
Germany joined, three of the permanent members would be European, giving that region
an unfair advantage. Several proposals for addressing this problem have been considered,
including adding Germany and Japan as permanent members, waiving the veto power of
the permanent members, and limiting Council membership to one year. Thus far, none of
the proposals have been adopted, partly because the present structure works well for the
five permanent members and they can veto any changes to it.

The Security Council, it has primary responsibility, under the Charter 5, article 23 for the
maintenance of international peace and security. The same Chapter and article
determined that the Security Council would consist of fifteen Members of the United
Nations. The Republic of China, France, the previous Union of Soviet Socialist

Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United
States of America would be permanent members of the Security Council. Ten other
Members of the United Nations would be elected by the General Assembly to be non-
permanent members of the Security Council,
When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council's first
action is usually to recommend to the parties to try to reach agreement by peaceful
means. Article 33, sub-article 1 states the pacific settlement of disputes in the following
                 “The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the
                 maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a
                 solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial
                 settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful
                 means of their own choice.”

When a dispute leads to fighting, the Council's first concern is to bring it to an end as
soon as possible. On many occasions, the Council has issued cease-fire directives which
have been instrumental in preventing wider hostilities. It also sends United Nations
peace-keeping forces to help reduce tensions in troubled areas keep opposing forces apart
and create conditions of calm in which peaceful settlements may be sought. The Council
may decide on enforcement measures, economic sanctions (such as trade embargoes) or
collective military action.

A Member State against which preventive or enforcement action has been taken by the
Security Council may be suspended from the exercise of the rights and privileges of
membership by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council. A
Member State which has persistently violated the principles of the Charter may be
expelled from the United Nations by the Assembly on the Council's recommendation.

Under the Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:
●   to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and
    purposes of the United Nations;

●   to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
●   to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
●   to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
●   to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to
    recommend what action should be taken;
●   to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving
    the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
●   to take military action against an aggressor;
●   to recommend the admission of new Members;
●   to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in "strategic areas";
●   to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General
    and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of

The Secretariat
The Secretariat is the UN’s executive branch. It oversees the administration of the UN’s
programs and policies and carries out day-to-day operations. This branch is headed by the
secretary general, who acts as the UN’s spokesperson.

The UN’s Secretariat staff includes administrators, experts on technical issues such as
environmental protection, and economic advisors working on various programs and
projects in the member countries. These workers have a variety of responsibilities, such
as overseeing the operations of peacekeeping missions, preparing studies on world issues,
organizing international conferences, and surveying economic and social trends. The
largest concentration of staff outside New York City is in Geneva, Switzerland, where
several UN programs and agencies have headquarters.

One purpose of the Secretariat is to develop an international civil service of diplomats
and bureaucrats whose loyalties are not tied to any one country. The staff answers only to
the UN and takes an oath not to obey any outside authority. The UN charter calls on its
members to respect the independence and international character of the staff. However,
the UN has had mixed success following through on this ideal. The secretary general is

generally seen as an independent diplomat. But member nations still compete to place
their citizens in control of staffs that administer important UN programs.
In the early 1990s the UN bureaucracy came under increasing criticism for inefficiency
and even corruption. Much of this criticism came from the United States, which believed
it was bearing an unfair share of the costs of supporting the UN. By the mid-1990s, these
criticisms had led to a series of reforms, including budget and staff reductions.

The secretary general
The secretary general is a powerful public figure who oversees the daily operations of the
UN and plays a major role in setting the organization’s agenda in international security
affairs. The secretary general under Article 99 of the charter can bring to the Security
Council any matter that might threaten world peace. The secretary general has the
authority to serve as a neutral mediator in international conflicts and to bring hostile
parties together to negotiate. The secretary general’s personal attention to a problem can
often help bring about a resolution. For example, in the 1990s Secretary General Boutros
Boutros-Ghali personally mediated conflicts in Somalia, the former Yugoslavia, and

The Economic and Social Council
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) works under the authority of the General
Assembly to coordinate the economic and social work of the UN. ECOSOC has 54
member countries elected by the General Assembly for overlapping three-year terms.
Seats on the Council are allotted based on geographical representation with fourteen
allocated to African States, eleven to Asian States, six to Eastern European States, ten to
Latin American and Caribbean States, and thirteen to Western European and other States.

The Economic and Social Council coordinates the work of the 14 UN specialized
agencies, 10 functional commissions and five regional commissions; receives reports
from 11 UN funds and programs); and issues policy recommendations to the UN system
and to Member States. The agencies operate independently but work with other programs
in the UN. Those programs include the World Health Organization (WHO), the United

Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International
Labor Organization (ILO), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Under the UN Charter ECOSOC is responsible for promoting higher standards of living,
full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international
economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational
cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms. Article 62 of the Charter lists the following powers and functions of the
1. The Economic and Social Council may make or initiate studies and reports with
respect to international economic, social, cultural, educational, health, and related matters
and may make recommendations with respect to any such matters to the General
Assembly, to the Members of the United Nations, and to the specialized agencies
2. It may make recommendations for the purpose of promoting respect for, and
observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.
3. It may prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly, with respect
to matters falling within its competence.
4. It may call, in accordance with the rules prescribed by the United Nations,
international conferences on matters falling within its competence.
In carrying out its mandate, ECOSOC consults with academics, business sector
representatives and more than 2,100 registered non-governmental organizations. The
Council holds a four-week substantive session each July, alternating between New York
and Geneva. The session includes a high-level segment, at which national cabinet
ministers and chiefs of international agencies and other high officials focus their attention
on a selected theme of global significance. This year, the high-level segment will cover
"Resources mobilization and enabling environment for poverty eradication in the context
of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for
the Decade 2001-2010". The Council will adopt a Ministerial Declaration, providing
policy guidance and recommendations for action.

The Trusteeship Council
In setting up an International Trusteeship System, the Charter established the Trusteeship
Council as one of the main organs of the United Nations and assigned to it the task of
supervising the administration of Trust Territories placed under the Trusteeship System.
Trusteeship System refers to the administration of a country that is not self-governing by
a foreign country under terms laid down by the United Nations
Major goals of the System were to promote the advancement of the inhabitants of Trust
Territories and their progressive development towards self-government or independence.
The Trusteeship Council is made up of the five permanent members of the Security
Council --China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States.
The aims of the Trusteeship System have been fulfilled to such an extent that all Trust
Territories have attained self-government or independence, either as separate States or by
joining neighboring independent countries. For example, Eritrea between the years was
trust territory under the administration of Britain (1942-1952) until it was unified with
Ethiopia in 1952.

Under the Charter, the Trusteeship Council is authorized to examine and discuss reports
from the Administering Authority on the political, economic, social and educational
advancement of the peoples of Trust Territories and, in consultation with the
Administering Authority, to examine petitions from and undertake periodic and other
special missions to Trust Territories.

The International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court, is the principal
judicial organ of the United Nations. Its seat is at the Peace Palace in The Hague
(Netherlands). It began work in 1946, when it replaced the Permanent Court of
International Justice which had functioned in the Peace Palace since 1922(in the period of
League of Nations). It operates under a Statute largely similar to that of its predecessor,
which is an integral part of the Charter of the United Nations.

Functions of the Court
The Court has a dual role: to settle in accordance with international law the legal disputes
submitted to it by States, and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by
duly authorized international organs and agencies.

The Court is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the
United Nations General Assembly and Security Council sitting independently of each
other. It may not include more than one judge of any nationality. Elections are held every
three years for one-third of the seats, and retiring judges may be re-elected. The Members
of the Court do not represent their governments but are independent magistrates.

The judges must possess the qualifications required in their respective countries for
appointment to the highest judicial offices, or be jurists of recognized competence in
international law. The composition of the Court has also to reflect the main forms of
civilization and the principal legal systems of the world. When the Court does not include
a judge possessing the nationality of a State party to a case that State may appoint
a person to sit as a judge ad hoc for the purpose of the case.

Organization of African Unity (OAU) that preceded African Union, established in 1963
at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by 37 independent African nations to promote unity and
development; defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of members; eradicate all
forms of colonialism; promote international cooperation; and coordinate members'
economic, diplomatic, educational, health, welfare, scientific, and defense policies. The
OAU was, at the time, the most significant result of Pan-Africanism which anticipated
the establishment of the United States of Africa. The organization mediated several
border and internal disputes and was instrumental in bringing about majority rule and the
end of apartheid in South Africa, which in 1994 became the 53rd nation to be admitted to
the organization. In 1997, OAU members established the African Economic Community
(AEC), envisioned as an African common market; the AEC signed an agreement with

regional African economic groupings that was intended to lead to harmonization of
policies of those common markets.

A more radical expansion and transformation of the OAU was adopted at Lome, Togo, in
2000, in the form of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU). The AU is a
successor organization to the OAU with greater powers to promote African economic,
social, and political integration, and a stronger commitment to democratic principles. The
AU was first proposed in 1999 by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as a more effective
institution for increasing prosperity throughout the region. In general, it is hoped that the
new AU will have the authority and the ability to achieve true economic and political
integration among its member states by promoting democratic values, defending human
rights and providing a forum for internal and regional conflict. The 53 African states who
composed the OAU are now members of the new inter-governmental organization, the
AU, modeled after the European Union (EU). It is headquartered in Ethiopia.

The Vision of the AU
●    The AU is Africa’s premier institution and principal organization for the promotion
of accelerated socio-economic integration of the continent, which will lead to greater
unity and solidarity between African countries and peoples.
●     The AU is based on the common vision of a united and strong Africa and on the
need to build a partnership between governments and all segments of civil society, in
particular women, youth and the private sector, in order to strengthen solidarity and
cohesion amongst the peoples of Africa.
●   As a continental organization it focuses on the promotion of peace, security and
stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and
integration agenda of the Union.

The Objectives of the AU
● To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples
of Africa;
● To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member

● To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent;
● To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the
   continent and its peoples;
● To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the
   United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
● To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent;
● To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good
● To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African
   Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments;
● To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful
   role in the global economy and in international negotiations;
● To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as
   well as the integration of African economies;
● To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of
   African peoples;
● To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional
   Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union;
● To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in
   particular in science and technology;
● To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases
   and the promotion of good health on the continent.

The Organs of the AU
The Assembly
"Assembly" means the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Union.
1. The Assembly shall be composed of Heads of States and Government or their duly
accredited representatives.
2. The Assembly shall be the supreme organ of the Union.
3. The Assembly shall meet at least once a year in ordinary session. At the request of any

Member State and on approval by a two-thirds majority of the Member States, the
Assembly shall meet in extraordinary session.
4. The Office of the Chairman of the Assembly shall be held for a period of one year by a
Head of State or Government elected after consultations among the Member States

Powers and Functions of the Assembly
1. The functions of the Assembly shall be to:
(a) determine the common policies of the Union;
(b) receive, consider and take decisions on reports and recommendations from the other
organs of the Union;
(c) consider requests for Membership of the Union;
(d) establish any organ of the Union;
(e) monitor the implementation of policies and decisions of the Union as well ensure
compliance by all Member States;
(f) adopt the budget of the Union;
(g) give directives to the Executive Council on the management of conflicts, war and
other emergency situations and the restoration of peace;
(h) appoint and terminate the appointment of the judges of the Court of Justice;
(i) appoint the Chairman of the Commission and his or her deputy or deputies and
Commissioners of the Commission and determine their functions and terms of office.
2. The Assembly may delegate any of its powers and functions to any organ of the Union.

Decisions of the Assembly
1. The Assembly shall take its decisions by consensus or, failing which, by a two-thirds
majority of the Member States of the Union. However, procedural matters, including the
question of whether a matter is one of procedure or not, shall be decided by a simple
2. Two-thirds of the total membership of the Union shall form a quorum at any meeting
of the Assembly.

The Executive Council
"Executive Council" means the Executive Council of Ministers of the Union. It
iscomposed of Ministers or Authorities designated by the Governments of Members
States. The Executive Council is responsible to the Assembly.
1. The Executive Council shall be composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs or such
other Ministers or Authorities as are designated by the Governments of Member States.
2. The Executive Council shall meet at least twice a year in ordinary session. It shall also
meet in an extra-ordinary session at the request of any Member State and upon approval
by two-thirds of all Member States.

Decisions of the Executive Council
1. The Executive Council shall take its decisions by consensus or, failing which, by a
two-thirds majority of the Member States. However, procedural matters, including the
question of whether a matter is one of procedure or not, shall be decided by a simple
2. Two-thirds of the total membership of the Union shall form a quorum at any meeting
of the Executive Council

The Commission
1."The Commission" means the Secretariat of the Union. 1. There shall be established a
Commission of the Union, which shall be the Secretariat of the Union.
2. The Commission shall be composed of the Chairperson, his or her deputy or deputies
and the Commissioners. They shall be assisted by the necessary staff for the smooth
functioning of the Commission.
3. The structure, functions and regulations of the Commission shall be determined by the
The Permanent Representatives' Committee
Composed of Permanent Representatives of Member States accredited to the Union. The
Permanent Representatives Committee is charged with the responsibility of preparing the
work of the Executive Council.

Peace and Security Council (PSC)
By decision AHG/Dec 160 (xxxvii) of the Summit of Lusaka, July 2001, a decision was
made for the creation within the African Union of the Peace and Security Council. The
Protocol establishing the PSC is in the process of ratification

Pan-African Parliament.
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council, an advisory organ composed of different A
Pan-African Parliament and organ to ensure the full participation of African peoples in
governance, development and economic integration of the Continent. The protocol
relating to the composition, powers, functions and organization of the Pan-African
Parliament has been signed by Member States and is in the process of ratification. It was
in       this    year,   2004    that    the     pan-African      Parliament     was    established.
The             Economic,       Social         and     Cultural        Council         (ECOSOCC)
social and professional groups of the Member States of the Union. The statutes
determining the functions, powers, composition and organization of the Economic, Social
and Cultural Council have been prepared and will be submitted to Maputo Summit.

The Court of Justice
          A Court of Justice of the Union shall be established. The statutes defining the
           composition and functions of the Court of Justice have been prepared and will be
           submitted to the Assembly in Maputo.

           The Specialized Technical Committees
           The following Specialized Technical Committees are meant to address sartorial
           issues and are at Ministerial Level:
          The Committee on Rural Economy and Agricultural Matters;
          The Committee on Monetary and Financial Affairs;
          The Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters;
          The Committee on Industry, Science and Technology, Energy, Natural Resources
           and Environment;

        The Committee on Transport, Communications and Tourism;
        The Committee on Health, Labor and Social Affairs; and
        The Committee on Education, Culture and Human Resources.
        The Financial Institutions
        The African Central bank
        The African Monetary Fund
        The African Investment Bank

The original impetus for the founding of (what was later to become) the European Union
was the desire to rebuild Europe after the disastrous events of World War II, and to
prevent Europe from ever again falling in disaster.

The body was originally known as the European Economic Community (informally
called the Common Market in the UK), this later changed to the European Community
and then to the European Union. The EU has evolved from a trade body into an economic
and political partnership.

Member States
At present, the European Union comprises 15 member states. In 1950 the six founding
members were:
France                       Italy                    West Germany
Belgium                      Netherlands              Luxemburg

Nine further states have joined in successive waves of enlargement:
in 1973: Ireland the United Kingdom and Denmark and
in 1981:Greece
in 1987Spain and Portugal in 1995: Finland, Sweden and Austria
EU territories outside Europe

France: the four overseas departments d'outre-mer (DOM) of French Guiana in South
America, Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean Sea, and La Reunion in the Indian
Ocean., Spain: Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Ceuta and Melilla, in Africa.
Portugal: Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean.
France: French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, New Caledonia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon,
Mayotte and uninhabited territories...
Denmark: Greenland, FaroeIsland..

Extension of the EU
The total area of the European Union is 3,235,000 km2 Were it a country, it would be the
eighth largest in the world by area. The number of EU citizens (all EU member State
citizens are EU citizens under the terms of the Maastricht treaty) is approximately 379
million as of October 2001. In population size this is the third largest in the world after
China and India.

Economic Status
The EU, considered as a unit, has the second largest economy in the world, with a 2002
GDP of 8,447 billion euro, second only to that of the United States (9,239 billion euro,
2002 equivalent). The EU economy is expected to grow further over the next decade as
more countries join the union - although the new States are usually poorer than the EU
average, and hence GDP per capita over the whole Union will fall over the short-term.
Main Policies
Free Trade of goods and services among member states A common external custom
tariff, and a common position in international trade negotiations
Removal of border controls between its member states (excluding the UK and Ireland,
which have derogations)

Freedom for citizens of its member states to live and work anywhere within the EU,
provided they can support themselves (also extended to the other EEA states).
Freedom for its citizens to vote in local government and European Parliament elections in
any member state

Free movement of capital between member states (and other EEA states).
Harmonization of government regulations, corporations law and trademark registrations
A single currency, the Euro (excluding the UK, Sweden and Denmark, which have
derogations).These three states still use their own monetary unit.
A large amount of environmental policy co-ordination throughout the Union.
A Common Agricultural Policy and a Common Fisheries Policy.
Co-operation in criminal matters, including sharing of intelligence (through EUROPOL),
agreement on common definition of criminal offences .A Common foreign policy as a
future objective, however this has some way to go before being realized. A Common
security policy as an objective, including the creation of a 60,000-member Rapid
Reaction Force for peacekeeping purposes, an EU military staff and an EU satellite enter
(for intelligence purposes)
Common policy on asylum and immigration
Common system of indirect taxation, the VAT, as well as common customs duties and
excises on various products
Funding for the development of disadvantaged regions (structural and cohesion funds)
Funding for programmes in candidate countries and other Eastern European countries, as
well as aid to many developing countries
Funding for research
As the deadline for EMU approached, misgivings arose from many quarters that the
economic climate was not right, that levels of economic performance across the countries
were still too disparate, and that several countries had not strictly met the Maastricht
criteria. However, the EU officially agreed in May 1998 to adopt a single European
currency—the euro—for 11 of the 15 member countries beginning on January 1, 1999.
This agreement also created the European Central Bank (ECB) to oversee the new
currency and to take charge of the monetary policies of the EU. The countries that
adopted the euro were Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Greece adopted the euro in January
2001, becoming the 12th member of the euro zone.
The United Kingdom, Sweden, and Denmark met the economic criteria to join in the
adoption of the euro but decided not to participate. Greece had hoped to be included in
the first wave of countries to adopt the euro but did not meet the criteria. On January 1,

1999, the 11 nations began to use the euro for electronic money transfers and for
accounting purposes, while continuing to use their individual currencies for other uses. In
2002 the ECB will begin issuing euro coins and banknotes. At that point the currency of
the countries that have adopted the euro will cease to be legal tender.

The members of the EU cooperate in three areas, often referred to as pillars. At the heart
of this system is the EC pillar with its supranational functions and its governing
institutions. The EC pillar is flanked by two pillars based on intergovernmental
cooperation: Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and Justice and Home Affairs
(JHA). These two pillars are a result of the Maastricht agreement to develop closer
cooperation in these areas. However, because the members were unwilling to cede
authority to supranational institutions, policy decisions in these pillars are made by
unanimous cooperation between members and cannot be enforced. For the most part, the
governing institutions of the EC pillar have little or no input in the other two.

The CFSP and JHA pillars are based entirely on intergovernmental cooperation, and
decisions have to be made unanimously. CFSP is a forum for foreign policy discussions,
common declarations, and common actions that work toward developing a security and
defense policy. It has successfully developed positions on a range of issues and has
established some common policy actions; however, the CFSP has failed to agree on a
common security and defense. Some countries, led by France, want an integrated
European military force, while others, especially the United Kingdom, insist that United
States involvement via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is vital for
European security.
This second argument was reinforced when the EU failed to resolve the Yugoslavian
crisis that began in 1991. Between 1991 and 1992 the Yugoslav republics of Slovenia,
Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia declared independence, leaving a
Yugoslavia that consisted only of the republics of Serbia and Montenegro. The Croatian
and Bosnian secessions were strongly opposed by Serbia, and violent conflict resulted
between ethnic Bosnian, Croat, and Serb populations. The EU attempted to find a
settlement for these conflicts. However, these efforts were ineffective because EU

members could not agree on how they should be involved, and they feared being dragged
into military intervention. The Yugoslav crisis underlined the difficulties in achieving a
common foreign policy for the EU. Effective international intervention in Yugoslavia
ultimately came only with U.S. and NATO involvement, acting under the auspices of the
United Nations. (Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia 2003. ar1993-2001 Microsoft

The EC pillar contains all the governing institutions of the EU. The major organs of the
EU are the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European
Parliament, the European Court of Justice, and the Court of Auditors. In addition, there
are many smaller bodies in the EU, such as the Economic and Social Committee, and the
Committee of the Regions.

European Commission
The European Commission is the highest administrative body in the EU. Unlike the
European Council, which oversees all three pillars of the EU, the commission
concentrates almost solely on the EC pillar. It initiates, implements, and supervises
policy. It is also responsible for the general financial management of the EU and for
ensuring that member states adhere to EU decisions. The commission is meant to be the
engine of integration, and it spearheaded the preparations for the single market and the
moves toward establishing the euro.

Currently there are 20 commissioners, who are appointed by the member governments
and are supported by a large administrative staff. The United Kingdom, France,
Germany, Italy, and Spain each appoint two commissioners; the other countries appoint
one each. The policy of each member state selecting a commissioner has become an issue
with the possibility that the EU will become larger during the next decade. If each
country in an enlarged EU were allowed to appoint at least one commissioner, the
commission would be much larger, making it too unwieldy to be an effective executive
and decision-making authority. In addition, the fact that the commission is appointed by
member governments and not elected by the people has raised questions about how much
power it should be allowed to exercise. The lack of democratic accountability has become

a more important issue with the expansion of EU control into different policy areas and
the intention to admit more countries into the EU.

Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union (formerly called the Council of Ministers) represents
national governments. It is the primary decision-making authority of the EU and is the
most important and powerful EU body. Although its name is similar to that of the
European Council, the Council of the European Union’s powers are essentially limited to
the EC pillar, whereas the European Council oversees all three pillars of EU cooperation.

When the Council of the European Union meets, 15 government ministers, one from each
member state, are present. However, the minister for each state is not the same for every
meeting. Each member state sends its government minister who is most familiar with the
topic at hand. For example, a council of 15 defense ministers might discuss foreign
policy, whereas a council of 15 agriculture ministers would meet to discuss crop prices.

The Council of the European Union adopts proposals and issues instructions to the
European Commission. Paradoxically, the council is expected to further EU integration
while at the same time protecting the interests of the member states—two goals that are
not always compatible. This contradiction will probably become more difficult to
reconcile as the EU continues to expand.

Decision making in the council is complex. A few minor questions can be decided by a
simple majority. Many issues, however, require what is called qualified majority voting,
or QMV. In QMV each country has an indivisible bloc of votes roughly proportional to
its population. It takes two-thirds of the total number of votes to make a qualified
majority. QMV was introduced in some areas to replace the need for a unanimous vote.
This has made the decision-making process faster and easier as it prevents any one state
from exercising a veto. QMV was extended to more areas by the Single European Act.
Many important decisions, however, still require unanimous support.

The European Parliament

The European Parliament (EP) is made up of 626 members who are directly elected by
the citizens of the EU. Direct elections to the EP were implemented in 1979. Before that
time, members were appointed by the legislatures of the member governments. The
European Parliament was originally designed merely as an advisory body; however, its
right to participate in EU decision making was extended by the later treaties. It must be
consulted about matters relating to the EU budget, which it can reject; it can remove the
European Commission as a body through a vote of no confidence; and it can veto the
accession of member states. The European Parliament was originally designed merely as
an advisory body. The European Parliament’s influence is essentially negative: It can
block but rarely initiate legislation, its consultative opinions can be ignored, and it has no
power over the Council of the European Union. Its effectiveness is limited by two
structural problems: It conducts its business in 11 official languages, with consequent
huge translation costs, and it is nomadic, using three sites in different countries for its
meetings. Unless changes are made, these weaknesses will most likely intensify as the
union grows larger. At the same time, there have been frequent calls for expanding the
power of the European Parliament, which would increase the democratic accountability
of the EU. The weaknesses of the European Parliament can be remedied, however, only
by the national governments.

European Court of Justice (ECJ)
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the judicial arm of the EU. Each member country
appoints one judge to the court. The ECJ is responsible for the law that the EU
establishes for itself and its member states. It also ensures that other EU institutions and
the member states conform to the provisions of EU treaties and legislation. The court has
no direct links with national courts and no control over how they apply and interpret
national law, but it has established that EU law supersedes national law.

Historically, the ECJ has declared both for and against EU institutions and member
states. Its assertion that EU law takes precedence over national law, and the fact that there

is no appeal against it, have given the ECJ a powerful role in the EU and have on
occasion drawn criticism from both national governments and national courts.

Historically the ECJ had a very high caseload, but this was eased in 1989 when the Court
of First Instance was created. This court hears certain categories of cases, including those
brought by EU officials and cases seeking damages. Rulings by the Court of First
Instance may be appealed to the ECJ, but only on points of law.

Court of Auditors
The Court of Auditors is made up of 15 members, one from each EU member state. The
court oversees the finances of the EU and ensures that all financial transactions are
carried out according to the EU budget and laws. The court issues a yearly report to the
Council of the European Union and the European Parliament detailing its findings.

European Central Bank (ECB)
The European Central Bank (ECB) began operations in 1998. It is overseen by a six-
member executive board that is chosen by agreement of the EU member governments
and includes the ECB president and vice president. The ECB has exclusive authority for
EU monetary policy, including such things as setting interest rates and regulating the
money supply. In addition, the ECB played and continues to play a major role in
overseeing the inauguration and consolidation of the euro as the single EU currency. Its
authority over monetary policy and its independence from other EU institutions make the
ECB a very powerful body. There are misgivings that the ECB has been given too much
independence, leading to a debate over whether it should be subject to political direction.

Other Bodies
Other important bodies in the EU include the Economic and Social Committee and the
Committee of the Regions. The Economic and Social Committee is a 222-member
advisory body drawn from national interest groups of employers, trade unions, and other
occupational groups. It must be consulted by the European Commission and the Council
of the European Union on issues dealing with economic and social welfare. The
Committee of the Regions, also with 222 members, was formed in 1994 as a forum for

representatives of regional and local governments. It was intended to strengthen the
democratic credentials of the EU, but it has only a consultative and advisory role.

One of the major goals of the EU has been to establish a single market in which the
economies of all the EU members are unified. The EU has sought to meet this objective
in three ways: by defining a common commercial policy, by reducing economic
differences among its richer and poorer members, and by stabilizing the currencies of its

The 1957 Rome treaties obliged the EU to adopt a common commercial policy. The EU
adopted several common policies, the main ones being the Common Agricultural Policy
(CAP) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). By 1968 the EU had also created a
customs union in which all tariffs and duties among members were eliminated. Finally,
members had defined uniform commercial practices for trade with nonmember states.

The EU has attempted to address regional economic differences through agencies such as
the European Social Fund, the European Regional Development Fund, the Cohesion
Fund, and the European Investment Bank (EIB). These agencies provide money through
loans or grants to further economic development in the poorer areas of the EU.

Finally, the EU attempted to stabilize the currencies of its members with the European
Monetary System (EMS). The EMS was prompted not only by the desire for a single
market, but also by international economic problems and fluctuations in exchange rates.
These problems also convinced the EU of the importance of Economic and Monetary
Union (EMU), in which both the economies and the currencies of the members would be

Self attempt question
I. Select the best answer
1. Which one of the following best describes Globalization
                A. It is a new phenomenon of cultural proliferation
                B. It is integration and democratization of the world’s culture, economy,
                   and infrastructure through transnational investment,
                C. It is rapid proliferation of communication and information technologies,
                   and the impacts of free-market forces on local, regional and national
                D. It is a process in which the world becomes a small village.
2. International relation deals with:
              A. the current problems of the world nations
              B. the multi-dimensional relations among world political units
              C. how the international organizations facilitate smooth relations among the
                member states
              D. All of the above
4. One of the following is not an advantage of globalization
            A. It facilitates the speedy flow of ideas as well as commercial items.
            B. It encourages scientific and technological development.
            C. It makes quality goods available at lowest price.
            D. None

II.Define the following words and phrases
International relations               Armed conflicts
Treaty                                   Arbitration
Assembly                                 Negotiation
Security                                 Council
Peace                                    Mediation
Trusteeship                              Globalization
International                            Organizations

III.Questions for reflection

1. Identify any of one current global issue and explain the reason why it is global issue?
2. Mention any of two reasons why regional or international organizations established?
3. What do you understand from the next passage?

                     Karl Marx pointed out that the historical development of capitalist
                     production inevitably drove the bourgeoisie (capitalists) to “nestle
                     everywhere, settle everywhere, and establish connections

Rour Ke. John T. (1993) International Politics on the world stage 4th ed. USA. Dushkinpus


S.J.R.Bilgramii, International Organization, Bombay, 1970.

W.E.Barker. Social Political Theory

R.Ball Alan Modern Politics and Government Hong Kong, 1978.


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