• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess how far there is or isn’t a distinction between authority and power.

Extracts from this document...


Assess how far there is or isn't a distinction between authority and power. The first main point to raise in this discussion is can the two exist independently, without each other if you were to have total control of the state. It is hard to distinguish between the two as a result, as they are so dependent on one and other. However, Rousseau ( 1712 - 1778) would disagree with this. He claims that authority is dependent on power to work, but power does not have to rely on authority to work, as there is no moral obligation to obey a government based on force (power) as it is able to coerce people into it. Conservatism also favours power, and sees it as more essential than authority, as it believes that with power comes authority just as Rousseau argued. ...read more.


The ruler would have to introduce something positive to their subjects, such as social contract which would therefore give the ruler authority. This is because they would be giving the population protection through their power. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) claims in Leviathan that previous to a social contract, that people lived in a state of nature and every person was out for themselves. With a ruler who has authority with power they are able to provide protection to the population. The main distinction here between authority and power is that with authority comes a certain respect for the ruler, but power doesn't necessarily give respect - but more of a fear of the ruler's wrath. Therefore authority needs power, but without authority power relies on force alone, which will most likely fail to work in the long run. ...read more.


therefore people who rebelled against the state, in a fit of anarchy, were believed to have been damned. Combined with the nation's armed forces as their power the two are not dissimilar to each other in such an example that was common place 500 years ago. Therefore, authority and power can be considered both dissimilar or similar to each other depending on the situation. If a ruler relies on power, but leads a discontent population, then authority will not necessarily follow on as Rousseau claimed. The Tories of the late 18th century and early 19th century found this to be very much the case. But authority will always depend on power to exist. The two can be exploited to the benefit of a dictating leader, but power plays a more important role in this than authority. The distinction between authority and power therefore depends, as said before, on the situation ?? ?? ?? ?? James Insole 7M1 Mr Hambleton ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. The Productivity of Colonial Power

    became a class which began to form its own identity; separate from the metropole, and yet still a European élite within the colony. This can be seen in, for example, the Thirteen Colonies, where a notion of 'American-ness' gradually emerged and eventually displaced the European identity.

  2. How revolutionary were Lutheran and Calvinist theories of authority?

    However, 'Martin Luther is best known as the most influential figure in the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century.'2 Luther is famous for nailing his Ninety-five Thesis on Indulgences to the door of the Roman Catholic Church in Wittenburg and is credited with launching the Protestant Reformation.

  1. Political Power

    In this case it is obvious to see the frequency of a particular party's preference coincides with the final decision. Thus, how far they have influence on decision-making can be understood in terms of their political power. However Dahl's argument faces critical attack in a sense that it too focuses on its narrow concept of power in decision-making.

  2. Assess critically Marx's distinction between ideology and science

    mouth; from Kant's imperatives to Hegel's spirits - people have created gods and subjected themselves to their influence. In political realm, too, men suffered from self-imposed constraints - oppressive societal relationships, exploitation of one by another: to paraphrase Rousseau's famous maxim: men are born free, but they end up in chains by the power of their own ideas.

  1. What is the significance of the distinction between primary and Caucus?

    be one who is the most popular and has the greatest appeal across party lines.

  2. Compare Hobbes and Locke's views on the obligation to obey the law.

    understood as not being interfered with by other people or the state, the centrepiece of their political beliefs) this is the only way you can become obliged to obey another (the principle of self-imposition) because (in Locke?s case) humans have a natural right to liberty, and thus no-one has a

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work