This book is an inquiry into the concept of legitimacy. In stable democratic states, such as the Nordic societies, legitimacy is often taken for granted. However, these essays show that this «treasure of politics» is very fragile. Legitimacy is understood as a gift bestowed on the authorities by citizens, rather than a means used by the authorities in order to remain in power. This emphasizes the role of the citizens rather than of the authorities. At the same time legitimacy is seen as an ethical assessment of those in power. In this volume, legitimacy is studied by philosophers, human rights scholars and theological ethicists. The articles cover inter-state political systems, nation states as well as conflict resolutions between individuals on a grass root level.