The union and exercise of all human power possessed
in a state; it is a combination of all power; it is the power to do everything
in a state without accountability; to make laws, to execute and to apply them:
to impose and collect taxes, and, levy, contributions; to make war or peace; to
form treaties of alliance or of commerce with foreign nations, and the like.
Story on the Const. §207.
2. Abstractedly, sovereignty resides in the body of the nation and
belongs to the people. But these powers are generally exercised by delegation.
3. When analysed, sovereignty is naturally divided into three great
powers; namely, the legislative, the executive, and the judiciary; the first is
the power to make new laws, and to correct and repeal the old; the second is
the power to execute the laws both at home and abroad; and the last is the
power to apply the laws to particular facts; to judge the disputes which arise
among the citizens, and to punish crimes.
4. Strictly speaking, in our republican forms of government, the
absolute sovereignty of the nation is in the people of the nation; (q. v.) and
the residuary sovereignty of each state, not granted to any of its public
functionaries, is in the people of the state. (q. v.) 2 Dall. 471; and vide,
generally, 2 Dall. 433, 455; 3 Dall. 93; 1 Story, Const. §208; 1 Toull. n.
20 Merl. Reper. h. t.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition