WHAT IS A STATE

WHAT IS A STATE?[i]

The State is the most universal and most powerful of all the social institutions. The Sate is a natural institution.

A state is an organized political community acting under a government. States may be classified as sovereign if they are not dependent on, or subject to, any other power or state. States are considered to be subject to external sovereignty, or hegemony, if their ultimate sovereignty lies in another state. A federated state is a territorial, constitutional community that forms part of a federation. Such states differ from sovereign states, in that they have transferred a portion of their sovereign powers to a federal government. It can be said that a State is a polity under a system of governance with a monopoly on force.

ORIGIN OF THE STATE

The origin of the State can be understood through the following theories:

  1. Force Theory – The force theory states that some people in authority took others and forced them to follow certain rules in society.  Mostly called ‘Dictatorship’, where people in authority are not held accountable by the governed.
  2. Evolutionary Theory – The evolutionary theory states that society transforms and evolves naturally, people grow, learn to make decisions hence there is need for a state because man is by nature a political animal.
  3. Divine Right Theory – The divine right theory talks of right that God created a state. Made every living creature and placed certain people with royal birth and “divine right” to rule others in society.
  4. Social Contract Theory – The social contract theory states that states came into existence after people made a decision with government on to be government ruled. Social contract theory explains what government is expected to do to its citizens and people’s expectation living in the state.

DEFINITION OF STATE BY DIFFERENT JURISTS, POLITICAL SCIENTIST AND SOCIOLOGIST[ii]

There are a number of definitions of State given by certain jurists, political scientist, sociologist and such. A few of them are:

  • According to Aristotle, a State is a “union of families and villages having for its end a perfect and self-sufficing life by which it meant a happy and honorable life.”
  • According to Holland, a State is “a numerous assemblage of human beings generally occupying a certain territory amongst whom the will of the majority or class is made to prevail against any of their number who oppose it.”
  • According to Burgees, a State is “a particular portion of mankind viewed as an organized unit.”
  • According to Garner, “State is a community of people occupying a definite form of territory free of external control and possessing an organized government to which people show habitual obedience.”
  • According to Laski, “State is a territorial society divided into government and subjects whose relationships are determined by the exercise of supreme coercive power.”

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF A STATE[iii]

The four essential characteristics of a State are:

  1. Population;
  2. Territory;
  3. Government; and
  4. Sovereignty.

SOURCES


[i] WIKIPEDIA, https://www.wikipedia.org/ (last visited Dec 1, 2021).

[ii] BRAINKART.COM, https://www.brainkart.com/ (last visited Dec 2, 2021).

[iii] LUMEN LEARNING, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ (last visited Dec 2, 2021).

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