The legitimacy of political regimes does not lie only in the manner in which these regimes use their power. A key role is played by the way these regimes are perceived by their populations. Following this insight, the paper defends and elaborates one necessary condition of legitimacy of every political regime: the justification of power provided by the regime must „make sense“ to the citizens. This „making sense“ can be best understood as a correspondence between the proposed justification of political authority and the citizens’ understanding of themselves. In other words, a political regime „makes sense“ to its population only if it resonates with their conception of themselves and their role in the society. The paper then analyses the possible correspondence between the Rawlsian conception of liberal self-understanding, where citizens view themselves as „self-authenticating sources of valid moral claims“, and the legitimacy of contemporary democratic societies. This perspective reveals the sources of deep egalitarian assumptions behind the legitimation frameworks of contemporary societies, as well as the necessary limitations of power of contemporary states. The correspondence between our self-understanding and the legitimacy of the present-day states also reveals the fundamental importance of the human rights framework in current political life.