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The paper seeks to examine historical evolution of state systems to understand the present phase of international relations. It begins by identifying four types of international systems: Independent; Hegemonic; Imperial; and Feudal. The paper then discusses the Persian Empire, Classical Greece, India and the Roman Empire in order to fit in the above-mentioned categories. The next part engages with the specificity of the Westphalian system and the issue of sovereignty. It assesses the change from a divinity ordained idea of rule to that of popular sovereignty. It ends with the notion that Westphalia was not just a moment. It was rather an idea that continues to remain as a process in the so-called post-Westphalian system of states.

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