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

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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.

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