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Leviathan on a LeashA Theory of State Responsibility$
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Sean Fleming

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691206462

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691206462.001.0001

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The Question of Identity

(p.110) 4 Succession
Leviathan on a Leash

Sean Fleming

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines issues of identity, such as whether changes in a state's population, territory, government, or constitution alter its personality and hence negate its responsibilities. According to Thomas Hobbes, the corporate identity of the state is created and sustained by representation. The state has a corporate identity because it has an authorized representative who speaks and acts in its name. This identity persists as long as the state has a continuous 'chain of succession', or an unbroken series of representatives. The chapter shows that this Hobbesian account of corporate identity solves many of the identity problems that arise in cases of revolution, annexation, secession, absorption, unification, and dissolution.

Keywords:   identity, state responsibility, Thomas Hobbes, corporate identity, states, chain of succession, authorized representatives, representation

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