For Plato, the state is legitimized by its ability to enforce reason through just laws adopted by the community. If philosophers govern, this precondition can adhere.
Hobbes is legitimized by its capacity to enforce order and law on the populace. Though the state is a monstrous Leviathan, it can form just a form of governance and put an end to the natural state of human beings, which is the ‘war of all against all.
Locke claims that the state should follow the maxims of the constitution and the social contract between people living in a particular community. Otherwise, it may be overthrown by it.
Mill’s vision of state legitimacy is utilitarian, for he considers a state of being the main guarantor of general utility provision. Rawls argues that the state should realize distributive justice, the just allocation of available resources among people to achieve general equilibrium.
Marx claims that the legitimacy of the state is the product of specific ideologies of the ruling class, and hence state in class society cannot be fully legitimate when deprived classes exist and struggle for power.
Hospers is a representative of a libertarian tradition that states that the legitimacy of a state depends on its non-interference into the private realm of life and civil society. According to this particular tradition, a state should guarantee and enforce the commitment to a certain set of rights, privileges, obligations, and rules and do not transgress certain adopted barriers.