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Since Aristotle, the term "sovereignty" has had a long and varied history during which it has been given different meanings, hues and tones, depending on the context and the objectives of those using the word. Bodin and Hobbes shaped the term to serve their perception of an urgent need for internal order. Their conception influenced several centuries of international politics and law and also became a convenient supplementary secular slogan for the various absolute monarchies of the time. Sovereignty often came to be an attribute of a powerful individual, whose legitimacy over territory (which was often described as his domain and even identified with him) rested on a purportedly direct or delegated divine or historic authority but certainly not, Hobbes's covenant of the multitude notwithstanding, on the consent of the people.

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