Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Second Department


Reader 1

Lisa Koch

Reader 2

Jonathan Petropoulos

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

@2019 Luke C Radice


In the current international climate, both nations and individuals increasingly question both the validity and necessity of international organizations. This paper seeks to answer some of those questions, and to determine why countries choose to surrender significant portions of the national power that they are afforded under traditional perceptions of “Westphalian sovereignty”. This question is answered through an analysis of historical political thought on the concept of Sovereignty, then is applied to two case studies: the United Nations and the European Union, in which the benefits and downsides of surrendering sovereignty are discussed. Ultimately, this thesis concludes that the concept of Westphalian sovereignty is weakening in the modern world, as the international system gradually adopts new ideas about what national power allows, and reapplies old concepts that had long fallen out of use. Additionally, many of the problems faced by humanity in the present day are too large and complicated to be solved by singular nations, and require concerted international action. Together, these evolving conceptions of sovereignty and increasingly complex global problems have greatly contributed to the growth and empowerment of international organizations.