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Chapter I: Concept of State and Nation

Chapter Outline

1. Introduction
2. Origin and growth of state/ Historical evolution of state
3. State - Definitions
4. Theories of Origin of State
5. Elements of State
6. Role of a State
7. Concept of Nation

1. Introduction- Prevalence of the state in our daily life

The social studies are the study of political, economic, cultural, and environmental aspects of
societies in the past, present, and future. The social studies equip us with the knowledge and
understanding of the past necessary for coping with the present and planning for the future,
enable us to understand and participate effectively in our world, and explain their relationship to
other people and to social, economic, and political institutions. Social studies can provide
students with the skills for productive problem solving and decision making, as well as for
assessing issues and making thoughtful value judgments. Above all, the social studies help
students to integrate these skills and understandings into a framework for responsible citizens’
participation in state’s life. The core issues in the study of political science are the state and the
government. Garner claimed that ‘political science begins and ends with the state’. The
institution of state is studied in relation to its origin, nature, aims and functions of it. It is difficult
to do away with the state as a concept in the study of law and politics. Political thinkers are
usually concerned with what constitutes the end of the State
The entire population of the world is divided into separate territorially independent states, which
greatly influence the way we live in this universe. The state is the one of the most universal and
most powerful of all social institutions. Many of the world’s existing states are new, India as
state and more than 190 other states comprise the international community. The number has been
grown over a period of time. At present there are around 193 independent United Nations
member states are in the world. Knowing or unknowingly from birth to death we are routinely
interacting with the state and also it become a central theme of our social, cultural religious,
economic and political life. Our interaction with the state begins much before we gain
attentiveness of it. Many people believe that the state is responsible for everything happen to our
social and economic life. Whether it is a birth registration, income certificate, transport and
communication, education and job, marriage registration and property, ration card, aadhar or
passport, pension and inheritance. State compels us to do certain things and also to refrain us to
do certain other things. It means virtually every man, woman and child on earth is connected to a
particular state, which affects our lives in important ways that we may not be fully aware of. The
ubiquity and the power of the state shapes the conditions within which we lead our life. Our
interaction with the state begins much before we gain awareness of it.
In our own state or rest of the world the meaning, nature, shape, structure and functions of states
have been gone through lot of changes over a period of time. The terms ‘‘nations’’ and ‘‘states’’
or “countries” are often variously called or used interchangeably.
What we understand from this discussion is that the state is an apparatus of social control from
military recruitment to compulsory schooling—has thoroughly invaded our consciousness. State
is a social institution which evolves socio-economic conditions of society. It is not merely an
institution but it is a political system. A state is a territorial political community for which there
is some form of independently organised Government. State is the most universal, natural and
powerful of all social institutions. State is one of the highest and necessary forms of human
association because it comes into existence out of the basic needs of human life. It continues to
remain for the sake of good life. It means statehood today refers not merely to a set of
institutions, but also to a body of attitudes, practices and codes of behavior that we follow
consciously and willingly at times, and unconsciously and unwillingly at other times. Most of the
legal and political concepts like rights of the people, equality, liberty, justice, democracy etc..
are based on the relationship between the state and the people who are living within it. For this
reason one need to be conceptually familiar with the nature, evolution, definitions, elements and
functions of the state. Politics brought out the changes/civilizations in the world and state is an
unending experiment of human being. The next part let us discuss about historical evolution of
2. Evolution of State
The rise of the state is a key marker in the evolution of human society. States typically emerged
when one chiefdom (amid a competing set of chiefdoms) achieved a greater and more effective
level of organization. It is significant that though some sort of political organization has existed
since ancient times, such as Greek city state and later the Roman empire, yet the concept of the
state as is comparatively modern. Despite the presence of similar conditions, some states rose
and flourished while some advanced chiefdoms never passed the threshold into statehood. The
modern concept of the state owes its origin to Machiavelli, who expressed this idea in early
sixteenth century in his famous book, ‘The Prince’ (1513), as the power which has authority over
men. However, the contemporary state system is the product only of the last 100 years, and
substantially of the last 70 years. It means only in the twentieth century did nation states
proliferate to any extent. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles had 32 signatories, of which only one
(India) was not an independent nation state. In 1920, 42 states founded the League of Nations,
and 51 states founded the United Nations in 1945.
The state system is a distinctive way of organizing people’s socio-political life on earth which
has deep historical roots. Individuals have not always lived in sovereign states; most of human
history people have organized their political lives in different ways. Otherwise, State is a
gradual and continuous development of human society out of a grossly imperfect beginning
towards a perfect and universal organisation of mankind. Various factors might have been
contributed and were responsible for its origin and evolution. No doubt, it has been fashioned by
people and become one of the lasting advent of humanities civilized lives. People throughout the
history have abandoned many other ways of organizing their political life, including city state,
feudalism, princely states, empire system, colonial state etc… in that sense we may not predict
the nature and structure of state in future.
The first relatively clear historical manifestation of a state system is emerged in ancient Greek
(500 BC – 100BC). It comprised a large number of small city states. This system was eventually
destroyed by neighbouring Roman and they developed Roman Empire (200BC – 500 AD) ruling
most part of Europe and a large part of Middle East and North Africa. They were invaded and
shattered by different tribes and finally brought to an end the empire rule. This had given a way
to Catholic Christendom (500 – 1500 AD) which was divided geographically most of the time
into politico-religious ground. There were no clear conceptions of the nation or sovereign
statehood evolved in this period. The political change from medieval to modern basically
involved the construction of the independent territorial state. The historical end point of the
medieval era and the starting point of the modern international system is identified with the
Thirty Years War and the Peace of Westphalia. The Westphalian settlement legitimized a
commonwealth of sovereign states and created a set of agreed-upon principles for legitimate rule
that provided the first normative basis for the modern state system. It marked the triumph state
and in its control of its internal affairs and independent externally. Until nation states appeared in
the 16th and 17th century, government was by rulers whose authority did not derive from the
people whom they ruled, who were termed their “subjects”. States ruled in that way had seven
different forms, personal rule, theocracy, city state, oligarchy, military state, tribal state, and
The western states that could not control or dominate each other succeeded in dominating much
of the rest of the world both politically and economically. When nation states arose they
increased their national wealth by engaging in more widespread trade, and had an natural desire
to acquire trading outposts. In this way, trading or colonial empires arose.
After the European decolonization process a large number of states were emerged in the in the
rest of the world, especially in Asian & African regions. After World War II, many new states
whose populations and territories were previously under the jurisdiction of separate colonial
states were created in Africa and Asia. Although at the start of the 20th century the world’s
richest states were nation states, they were few in number and the majority of the world’s
population were subject to empires, either territorial or trading, all of which have got their
independence and now been divided into states of which the great majority are nation states. The
membership of the UN has been grown from 50 states in 1945 to over 160 states by 1970.
Further many states disintegrated and formed new states and hundred percent of population
virtually become the part of state system by the end of 20th century. The modern state is an
outcome of a historical evolution fashioned numerous factors. The most of recorded human
history people have lived under different kinds of political organization, there the authority was
chaotic and dispersed. In the modern state this authority is centralized in one legally supreme
government and the people live under the standard laws of that government. The development of
the modern state went a long way towards organizing political authority and power along rational
and national lines. State formation is a historically a continuing process that involves many
socio, economic, cultural and political factors.
In the case of India, before the 20th century India was unified in whole or part by different
dynasties at various periods, such as the Delhi Sultans (1208-1388 CE), Bahmani Sultans (1347-
1518), Vijayanagar (1336-1684), Mughals (1526- 1802) and Marathas (1653-1802). Each of
these dynasties eventually failed and, despite having a common culture, their states dissolved
into smaller states, ruled by local dynasties founded by a provincial governor or warlord. The
successor states of the Mughals were conquered piecemeal by the British to form their Indian
colony, which became the framework for the Indian nation. India is similarly occupied by
peoples of many different languages, but unlike China has never been dominated by one of them.
It was unified by Hindu culture, and after the Islamic invasion of 1192 CE by Islam in those
areas now constituting Pakistan and Bangladesh. In addition, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism
arose in India, and it is the home of the Zoroastrian Parsis. 180 BCE to 10 CE, there were Greek
kingdoms in North-West India. States which occupied a large part of North or South India or of
the subcontinent as a whole can therefore be classed as empires. Before the Moslem invasion, the
principal empires were the Maurya (322-185 BCE), Satavahana (230 BCE-196 CE) (South),
Kushans (30-225 CE) (North), Gupta (280-550 CE) (North), Chalukya (543–753) (South), and
Chola (848-1279) (South). Each of these empires made its own contribution to Indian culture,
economy, and administration. In other periods, India was divided into smaller dynastic states.
After the arrival of the Moslems in 1192, the principal Indian empires were the Moslem Delhi
Sultanate (1206-1526) and the brilliant Mogul empire (1526-1707), both of which dominated the
subcontinent. The official language of the Moguls was Persian and the early Mogul emperors
patronised Hindu as well as Moslem culture. The Hindu Vijayanagar empire governed the South
1336–1646. In 1707 the Mogul empire disintegrated and was subject to devastating Persian and
Afghan invasions. The Hindu Marathas (1674-1772) conquered most of the subcontinent for a
time. British rule over the subcontinent was established following the battles of Plassey (1757),
Buxar (1764), Seringapatam (1799), Assaye (1803), and Koregaon (1818). India and Pakistan
achieved independence in 1947, and Bangladesh in 1971.


Global expansion of the State System

16th century European System

17th century onwards North America became part of it – Western System

18th century onwards South America and Japan - Globalizing State System started
19th and 20th century Asia, Africa Caribbean regions – global state system

The following forms of state have generally identified in its historical growth;

a. The Tribal State: Eg: Nomadic or Aborigine States

b. The Oriental State: Nile Euphrates, Ganges Civilizations
c. Greek City State: Eg; Athens, Sparta, Orinth etc..
d. The Empire State: Roman, Ottoman
e. The Feudal State: landlords holding the political power
f. Nation-state System: dissolution of the feudalism and erosion of the authority of the
church led to the emergence of new form of power centers in 16th century.


The City State to Contemporary State India

500 BC – 100 BC Greek City State 322-185 BC Maurya

200BC - 500 AD Roman Empire 187 to 78 BC The Shunga Empire
500 – 1500 AD Catholic Christendom 280-550AD Gupta (North),
543-753 Chalukya (South)
1206-1526 Moslem Delhi Sultanate
1648 Birth of Nation-State 1526-1707 Mogul empire
17th - 20th century Imperial State 1757 -1947 British Colonial Rule
1945 – 1980 decolonization Globalization of State System
The year wise and cumulative growth of membership of UN from 51 in 1945 to 193in 2011

The above discussion proves that the modern state is largely identified as the nation-state. The
state has acquired its present form through a long historical process extending over thousands of
years. Further, we can say that the route of the development of the state in other parts of the
world has been very different from that in Europe. The state itself was the product of the
interplay of several factors. The modern state as a form or political organization that could be
said to have evolved in early modern Europe, and was transmitted primarily through colonialism
to other parts of the world. Thus, the modern state and the modern system of state have not been
permanent and universal feature of human history. It has been seen that the history of mankind
various types of state systems were evolved in different ages, but none of them could provide for
enduring peace and security to people.
3. State - Definitions.
The state is a concept depends on the values that are derived from the political, cultural, religious
and economic contexts of a particular time. The word state is derived from the Latin word ‘stare’
or ‘status’ which means standing or condition. The term has been defined by many thinkers in
different ways. Some define as an organization or association, others regards it as the class
structure, transcends class community organised or power system or legal construction. The
Greeks used the word ‘polis’ which translated into ‘city state’. The contemporary concept of
state owes its origin to Machiavelli who expressed it as the power which has authority over men.
The term state is loosely used as synonyms to government, nation or society etc. It also defined
by many political thinkers’ different ways. But political scientist seeks to analyse the state
systematically and scientifically.
According to Aristotle, the father of political science defined state is a union of families and
villages having for its end a perfect and self-sufficing life. According to Max Weber a state is a
human community that claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a
given territory. Another ancient writer Cicero defined state is a numerous society united by a
common sense of right and mutual participation in advantages.

Though the State is a necessary and a universal institution, no two writers agree on its definition.
There have been many different views about the nature of the State and hence its incompatible
definitions. It may well seem curious, says R.M. Maclver, that so great and obvious a fact as the
State should be the object of quite conflicting definitions.

Holland defines the State as “a numerous assemblage of human beings, generally occupying a
certain territory, amongst whom the will of the majority, or of an ascertainable class of persons,
is by the strength of such a majority: or class, made to prevail against any of their number who
oppose it.”

Hall says, “The marks of an independent State are that the community constituting it is
permanently established for a political end, that it possesses a defined territory and that it is
independent of external control,” and a State exists, according to Oppenheimer, “when a people
is settled in a country under its own sovereign government.”

Bluntschli says, “The State is the politically organised people of a definite territory,” and,
according to Woodrow Wilson, it “is the people organised for law within a definite territory.”
Garner says: State is a community of persons more or less numerous, permanently occupying a
definite territory, independent or nearly so, of external control and possessing an organised
government to which the great body of inhabitants render habitual obedience.

Maclver defines it as “an association which, acting through law as promulgated by a government
endowed to this end with coercive power, maintains within a community territorially demarcated
the universal external conditions of social order.”

Hegel defined state is the realization of freedom and the final aim of state exists for its own sake.

Harold Laski defines the State as “a territorial society divided into Government and subjects
claiming, within its allotted physical area, a supremacy over all other institutions.”

To Woodrow Wilson, “State is a people organized for law within a definite territory.” Aristotle
defined the state as a “union of families and villages having for its end a perfect and self –
sufficing life by which it meant a happy and honourable life”

Burgess defines the state as “a particular portion of mankind viewed as an organized unit.”

According to Sidgwick. “State is a combination or association of persons in the form of

government and governed and united together into a politically organized people of a definite

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

In contrast to the earlier concept of the state as an institutional structure, it was redefined as an
active agent of shaping and reshaping society. The state is a people permanently occupying a
fixed territory bound together by laws, habits, culture and customs. In simple language the state
can be defined as an assemblage of human beings occupying a definite territory of defined
boundaries under an organized government without subject to any external authority. In a
democratic state this government is domestically established by the consent of the people and
also recognized internationally.
4. Origin of State Theories

It is difficult to point out the exact period in human history when the state came into existence.
Political thinkers and sociologists of all ages have sought to answer the question as how the state
originates. They have not always agreed upon the answer to this fundamental question. There are
various theories concerning the primary or pre-historic origin of the state has been propounded
by historical and political writers. Consequently, as buttressed by various theoretical
explanations concerning the genesis of the state have been invented, such as, the divine theory,
the social contact theory, the force theory, the genetic theory, evolutionary theory etc…
Like many other phenomena, tracing the origin of state too is a difficult task. But over a period
of time political thinkers and sociologist have taken pain to dig out the secrets of the origin of
state. Broadly speaking the idea of origin of state theories fall into two groups; speculative and
empirical. Ironically most the popular theories fall into speculative one. It shows that there are a
number of rival theories when it comes to discussion on origin of the state, each offering a
different account of its geneses, development and impact.

Theories of the Origin of State

Divine Origin Force Genetic/Kinship Social Contract Evolutionary/Historical

Matriarchal Patriarchal Hobbes Locke Rousseau

4.1.Force Theory

This theory proposes that the origin of state is developed through the use of force. One person or
a small group of people claim control over the population in a specific area by force. Once the
rule is well established the state is established. This theory is generally a result of war. There
were examples like: The king Alexander or Adolf Hitler and their control over the territory that
led to the control and expansions of their kingdoms with the help of force. German sociologist
Franz Oppenheimer argued that the State is always born in the conquest of one group by another.
He argued that' the state emerged when the productive capacity of settled agriculturists was
combined with the energy of pastoral nomads through the conquest of the former by the latter.
The conquerors then set themselves up as the government and extract tribute in the form of taxes
from the conquered. Furthermore, he argues, the State can have originated in no other way than
through conquest and subjugation. He discusses it in six stages.
a) The first stage involves continuous raiding and killing between groups.
b) But it is the second stage that exhibits two necessary elements that make the giant step
from robbery to state robbery.
c) The third stage arrives when the peasants regularly bring their surplus as tribute
d) The next stage in the genesis of the state comes with the territorial union of the two
groups. This allows the ruling group to protect its subjects and its economic base from
external incursions
e) In the fifth stage, the rulers assume the right to arbitrate. Thus the judicial function is
taken out of the local and common law context
f) The last stage is the need to develop the habit of rule and the usages of government
The theory plainly talk about the physically strong man attacked, captured and enslaved the
weak. The successful one began to exercise their power over sizable section and this led to the
emergence of clans and tribes. When the conflicts and struggles for authority of a tribal chief was
established on a particular territory of a considerable size and the state had evolved. One of the
exponents of this theory, Jenks said that, “Historically speaking there is not the slightest
difficulty in proving that all political communities of the modern type owe their existence to
successful warfare.” Not only that, once the state came into existence, it is necessary to use force
to hold down the power impulses of men inside, build or manage the state with the help of force
and protect the territory from other states interference.
Concerted action for common defence and chastisement of the warring tribes created the dire
need for military leadership which was an important factor in creating the chieftainship and
strengthening its powers. The office of the chieftain became hereditary and consequently it led to
the establishment of the monarchy. Yet, the emergence of the state is not due to force alone,
although in the process of expansion force undoubtedly played a part. The theory of force, in
spite of its historical significance, has been subjected to severe criticism. Firstly, it exaggerated
only one aspect of human nature- man’s craving for power. Secondly, force has no doubt played
an important role in the historical process of the creation of the state. But to magnify it has been
only one factor in the evolution of society is the greatest defect of the theory of force. Thirdly,
force being as an essential element, but not an ultimate basis of the state, the reason is that it is a
criteria of the state, but not its essence, it is a means not an end. Fourthly, the theory of force is
hostile to the spirit and principles of democracy. Finally, the growth modern international
systems, global organisations, international law and contemporary inter-state relations proves
that the force cannot be the base of state.
4.2. Divine Origin Theory

It is one of the oldest theory concerning the origin of state. The divine origin theory holds that
God created the state. According to this the state is established and governed by God himself or
by some super human power. God may rule the state directly or indirectly through some rules
who is regarded as the agent or vive regent or vicar of God. This state can also be called as
theocratic state. This conception is as old as the state itself. It has been found universally among
early periods. It is a well authenticated fact that early forms of political authority were believed
to be connected with the unseen or supernatural powers. Earliest rulers were a combination of
priest and king or magician and king. The chief exponents of divine origin theory were the Jews.
the teaching of old testament

The monarchical system great extent associated with the divine characteristics and believed that
the king is divinely ordained. The divine theory more and more took the form of theory of divine
right of kings. This is particularly true in the 15th and 16th century in Europe. God gave certain
individuals of royal birth the divine right to rule. Since God divinely ordained its rulers and they
were accountable to God, the population obeyed the ruler as they were required to obey God.
This theory existed in many countries such as England and Europe throughout the Middle Ages.
The chief exponent of this were James 1, Stewart King, Sir Robert Filmer, Louis XIV, Bousset
etc… That God sent his Deputy or Vice-regent to rule over mankind. The ruler was a divinely
appointed agent and he was responsible for his actions to God alone whose Deputy the ruler was.
All were ordained to submit to his authority and disobedience to his command was a sin for
which there was divine punishment

The theory of Divine Origin, though one of the earliest, has a simple explanation to offer. It is a
theory of political authority and not a theory of the origin of the State. The State, its advocates
maintain, was created by God and governed by His deputy or Vice-regent. It was His will that
men should live in the world in a state of political society and He sent His deputy to rule over
them. The ruler was a divinely appointed agent and he was responsible for his actions toGod
alone. As the ruler was the deputy of God, obedience to him was held to be a religious duty and
resistance a sin. The advocates of the Divine Origin Theory, in this way, placed the ruler above
the people as well as law. Nothing on earth could limit his will and restrict his power. His word
was law and his actions were always just and benevolent. To complain against the authority of
the ruler and to characterize his actions as unjust was a sin for which there was divine
punishment. The theory of the Divine Origin of the State is as old as Political Science itself.
There is sufficient evidence to prove now that early States were based on this conception and all
political authority was connected with certain unseen powers. The earliest ruler was a
combination of priest and king or the magic man and king. The authority and reverence which a
ruler commanded depended upon his position as a priest or a magic man. Religion and politics
were so inextricably mixed up in the primitive society that not a hazy line of demarcation could
be drawn between the two. The theory that the State and its authority have a Divine Origin and
sanction finds unequivocal support in the scriptures of almost all religions in the world. In the
Mahabharata, it is recounted that the people approached God and requested him to grant them a
ruler who should save them from the anarchy and chaos prevailing in the state of nature.
“Without a Chief, O Lord”, they prayed, “We are perishing. Give us a Chief whomwe shall
worship in concert and who will protect us.”. Whosoever, therefore,resisted the power, resisted
the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive themselves damnation.”. The theory of
Divine Origin so enunciated, believed in and accepted, thus, implied. The salient features of the
doctrine of divine right of kings are;

a. That God deliberately created the State and this specific act of His grace was to save
mankind from destruction
b. Monarchy is divinely ordained
c. Hereditary right is indivisible
d. The kings are accountable to God alone
e. Resistance to a lawful king is sin
It is more than likely that even the supporters of this doctrine did not fully believe in all
extravagant claims. In supporting it the people fail to consider the danger of the king become a
despot or tyrant. Later the theory was used against the growing political consciousness of the
people and the rise of democratic ideas, and made to support royal dictatorships. This divine
pretensions of royal absolutism where later challenged by the rising middle classes who
advanced the doctrine of popular sovereignty. The divine right was therefore challenged by the
17th and 18th century liberal writers like John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. It was rejected
as unsound in theory and dangerous in practice in different grounds. Today both the divine origin
theory and divine right of kings are without supporters among political thinkers. Some of the
principles causes which brought about the decline of the theory are the rise of the contract theory
which rests political growth of authority on the idea of consent. This theory is based on certain
non-variable propositions. This arguments care to be accepted as matter of faith rather than
reason. There is no tangible evidence of divine delegation of authority to any rules. The
democracy which is opposed absolutism particularly monarchical absolutism and the secular
outlook of the modern man which seeks as far as possible separate the religious and political

Despite these criticisms, it must be admitted that the theory draws our attention to the role of
significant element in the evolution of the state. It points out the part played by the religion in the
development of the state and also these ideas introduce a sense of morality and ethics into
political life of the state. One can conclude the discussion on divine origin theory with the
following observations:

a. At a time when man was emerging from semi-civilised conditions and was not
accustomed to obedience to a secular authority or to a self-imposed law, the doctrine of
divine origin of the state must have been a powerful factor in preserving order. It was a
bulwark against anarchy and did much to strengthen the respect of man for person,
property and government.
b. It may be interpreted to mean that the instinct for order and discipline is deep seated in
man and that it reveals itself in political organization.

4.3.The Genetic Theory

(Patriarchal and Matriarchal Theories)

The genetic theory link the role of family in the origin of state. This theory holds that the state is
the product of a natural expansion of family. The natural processes of expansion of one family
give rise to several families. According to this theory several families or kinship groups united to
form a village. In this course, the village expanded into several settlements, which then united to
form the state. There are two opposite interpretation of this expansion that is widely discussed
under the following theories; patriarchal and matriarchal. The difference between these theories
centers around on the belief, traditionally who controlled the family affairs whether it is father or

4.3(a). The Patriarchal Theory

As state is a form of group life which evolves through the ages, it perhaps started in the form of
most primitive of human groups. In this sense, the family, which was the earliest social unit
much have been the starting point of this process. Originally, the idea of patriarchal theory is
given by Aristotle who said that the state began with most natural group, namely, the family with
the father as the head. Modern world, Sir Henry Maine is one of the chief exponents of the
patriarchal theory. According to this theory, the state is a product ofthe natural expansion of
family. One family gave rise to several families. The original family unit in which descent was
traced through males, and the eldest living male parent ruled the system absolutely. It means the
state is nothing but an expansion of the family. In the beginning there was a husband and wife
and children. The father was the chief controlling authority. With the passage of time, the family
expanded and changed into clan which further developed into tribe. The tribe occupied the
village, each having a chief and many villages united a single community named as a state
controlled by eldest living male member. This state was headed by this eldest male member take
the role of leader or king. So the family place was naturally taken care by the state and father’s
position was occupied by the king, who had a complete control over the lives of its members and
the property of the family. Here the state shows the miniature characteristics of family, male who
controls life and estate. These aggregations of families or tribes were based on genes/kinship
which constituted a commonwealth or state. It must be emphasized therefore that the patriarchal
society which, according to this theory, was the foundation of the modern state, was
characterized by three features, viz. male kinship, permanent marriage and paternal authority. It
is indeed integral to this theory that members of the patriarchal family should be able to trace
their descent through the male. The essence of this is none other than the fact that ‘men are
counted of kin because they are descended from the same male ancestor.’

The patriarchal theory is based on three basic assumptions:

a) That the system of permanent marriage prevailed in primitive times and the paternity was
an established facts.
b) The descent was traced only through males. None of the descendants of the females
included in the family.
c) The ultimate authority was in the hands of the male head of the family who enjoyed
absolute powers over all the other family members.

Sir Henry Maine, the chief exponent of this theory stated in his book Ancient Law and Early
History of Institutions derived historical evidence in support of his theory from following
observations from family history of Hebrews, Greeks, Romans and India

a) Among the Hebrews the eldest male member exercise despotic powers over his
b) In Rome, the ‘patria potestas’ gave unlimited powers to the head of the house hold.
c) In India too, the members of a joint family lived under the control of eldest male.
These assumptions and observations clarifies that the family was the earliest unit and it transform
the father into the chief or the king and family into a civil community.
The patriarchal theory has been criticized on many grounds. The idea of patriarchal family with
male at its head has been rejected by many sociologist and other political writers. On account of
existence of polyandry in the ancient times, it is argued, descent was traced in some primitive
societies through females. It has further been argued that the theory is wrong as the earliest unity
of the society was the tribe rather than the tribe. The assumption of institution of permanent
marriage in primitive societies is also held to be unrealistic. However, it must be admitted that
this theory is not without significance as its draws our attention to the fact of kinship as an
element in the shaping of the state.
4.3 (b). Matriarchal Theory;
The main exponents of the matriarchal theory of origin state are McLenan, Morgan and Jenks.
They hold the view that the nature of family in ancient time was not patriarchal but matriarchal
one. According to them, patriarchal families were non existent in the primitive ages. A
patriarchal family came into existence only when the system of permanent marriage was
established. Permanent marriages were not found among the primitive people. There was a sort
of sex anarchy among them. Father was generally unknown. Kinship was traced through the
mother. Hence, the ancient social unit was not the patriarchal family, but the matriarchal one. In
a primitive societies polyandry (one woman having many husbands) system prevailed and
widely practiced, the usual husband and wife relations were not existed. In those days horde (
loosely connected group) system was prevailed. Under such system, the blood relation (kinship)
was traced through the mother, because motherhood was an ascertainable fact. Further they
argue with the examples of few tribal communities around the world which establishes that
females were controlling the house hold management and had taken a lead role in community
leadership. Unlike the patriarchal theory, the earliest group was the tribe which broke into clans
and latter into households and families. People in the primitive age were organized in tribes,
hordes or bands.
Edward Jenks illustrates this process from his studies of primitive tribes in Australia. The
Australian tribes, he says, were organized in some sort of tribes known as totem group. The
totem groups were not organized on the basis of blood relationship but they were united by a
common symbol like a tree or an animal. People belonging to a totem will not inter-marry within
the totem. They would always marry the woman of another totem group. Men of one totem
group would marry all the women of their generation belonging to another totem group. Thus the
system of marriage would include polygamy as also polyandry. Kinship and paternity in such
cases cannot be determined. But maternity is a fact. He points out that with the passage of time
and beginning of pastoral stage in human civilization, matriarchal society evolved into
patriarchal one. In pastoral age, men recognized the value of women's labour in tending sheep
and cattle and so gradually realized the value of permanently retaining women at home for the
purpose and thus arose the institution of permanent marriage. With the institution of permanent
marriages, the permanent families were founded. It was in the pastoral age again that the tribes
broke up into clans which broke up into gens and finally gens broke up into individual families.
The prevalence of queen in Malabar and the power of princesses among the Marathas in the past
may be cited as evidence in favour of the matriarchal theory.
These genetic theories are sociological in nature and concentrate more on discussing about the
evolution of family or clans rather than conferring on the origin of state. Secondly, both the
theories could not substantiate their arguments with the help of historical proof. Finally, in
family the location of authority is natural, but in the state it is a matter of choice. In former there
is but an emotional binding but in later coercive factor decide the unity and togetherness. The
family and the state are totally different in essence, organization, function and purpose, and there
is little reason to suppose that one should have developed out of other or there should have been
any real association between them. Both these theories seek to treat family as the original link in
the evolution of state and also while explain they given exclusive emphasis on the fact of kinship
and also based on social rather than political hypotheses. Their merit consists in emphasizing the
role and significance of kinship in creating and cementing social bonds, without which the state
could never have arisen.
4.4. Social Contract Theory
One of the most popular and dominant theory associated with the origin state is social contract.
theory. The idea of mutual agreement existed in ancient Greek, Jewish or Roman traditions.
Social contract theory is not only most ancient but also most famous of all theories regarding the
origin of the state. It dominated in political and legal thought for centuries. This theory states that
the origin of state is the result of an agreement entered into by man who originally had no
governmental organization Otherwise state is an outcome of deliberate and voluntary human
effort where primitive men emerging from non-state condition to an organized set up. It is a
contract people make with each other to accept the rule of central authority. People ought to be
willing to give up the same rights as they expect others to give up, and out to be satisfied with
just as much liberty with respect to others as others have with respect to them.
The social contract theory argues that the state arose out of a voluntary act of a free people. In
the social contract theory, a specific population within a given designated area gave up as much
power to a government as needed to promote the well-being of all. Specifically, the community
population and the leader have a contract. The state has power and authority over the territory.
The community receives certain services such as a safe, crime-free area in which to live and keep
their rights protected.
This theory divided the history of the world into two: world prior to contract (state of nature) and
situation which emerged after the contract (sovereign). It assumes that there was a period in
human history where there was no state at all and no political organizations. This pre-civil and
pre-political period regarded by some writers as pre-social as well. The social contract theory of
the origin of the State implies that men, at a time in history, lived or would have lived without
any recognized civil law. This stage or life-pattern of men (when they lived without any form of
organized civil law) is described as the ‘state of nature’. The state of nature denotes how men
lived or would have lived without the authority of civil law, state or political control. At this
stage, there is no industry and no systemic production. Men lived not only close to nature but
they had to depend on the bounty of nature for their survival. In this state of nature the only law
which governed human relation was the law of nature. But there is no unanimity among the
advocates of social contract theory what the true nature of this law of nature was. To prevent
chaos, uncertainty or inconvenience prevailed in society, the people deliberately made an effort
to establish a political and economic organization though a covenant, use the force and coercion
to hold society together.
State of nature was either too Idyllic to last long or too inconvenient and unbearable for man to
put up with it. Hence the men in this primitive condition soon abandoned the state of nature and
set up a political society through the instrumentality of a covenant or contract. The social
contract theory can be defined loosely as to get out from the ills of ‘state of nature’ (condition
prevailed before the contract), it is a sort of hypothetical or actual agreement between the people
to have an organised to set up. The aim of the contract is to create social order, ending the state
of nature and making it possible for people to cooperate and produce social goods. In order for
the contract to best achieve its aims, it is important that everyone, or nearly everyone, to be party
to the contract. As a result of this agreement each man lost its natural condition. In its place they
obtained a security and protection of the state provided by political law. The chief exponents of
this theory were Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. But these thinkers
hold different views when it comes to the explanation because each philosopher has a different
take on this argument.
The following interpretation helps us to get clarity on the stages contract and the outcome of

 The State of Nature: A pre-social condition without any political organization or laws

 The Social Contract: An agreement between (a) members of the community or

(b) members of the community and the Sovereign.

 The Sovereign: The legitimate head of state after the Social Contract: (a) a person or
group of persons, such as a monarch or a government, or (b) the people representing

Thinker Human State of Factors Led Contract Outcome of

Nature Nature to the Contract(Sovereign)
Hobbes Self- Gloomy - a Condition was give up The absolute
centered dangerous unbearable my right monarch (king or
place, and life and get killed of queen)
of man is by any governing
solitary, poor, moment – and
nasty, brutish, Desired for authorize
and short. security to a third
Locke Friendly Enjoyed Inconvenience Each Democratic
and moral property – peace in individual Government is
rights, state of nature contacted formed with the
complete was not one consent people
freedom and permanent in another
perfect the absence of and
equality definite law, willingly
independent authorized
arbiter and the power
authority to rule
Rousseau Simple and Gregarious The growth of Each man sole authority with
sympathetic and population puts his general will-
-Noble Compassionate and economic person and reflection of popular
Savage and peaceful activity led to all powers sovereignty
lives the issue of under a
mine and common
thine or self- direction-
love and pride it is a pact
emerged of the
future –it
is social as
well as
Life in the state of nature to Hobbes is a general disposition to war of every man against every
man, leading to perpetual fear and strife which consequently makes life in state of nature to be
solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Hobbes for example gives a vivid and bleak account of
what life would be like without a social contract, otherwise known as the ‘state of nature’. The
origin of the term social contract can be found in the writings of Plato. However, English
philosopher Thomas Hobbes expanded on the idea when he wrote Leviathan in response to the
English Civil War. In this book, he wrote that in the earliest days there was no government.
Instead, those who were the strongest could take control and use their power at any time over
others. Hobbes' theory was that the people mutually agreed to create a state, only giving it
enough power to provide protection of their well-being.

On the other hand, Lockean state of nature is moral and social in character. In it, men have
rights and acknowledge duties, just that life in the state of nature is not satisfactory as peace is
constantly upset and feared that any time the corruption and viciousness of degenerate men,
which Locke says plagues the state of nature by lack of an established settled down law, lack of
known and indifferent judge, and the lack of an executive power to enforce just decisions. These,
Locke argued, necessitated the formation of a civil society (the State) devoid of the evils and
hence the social contract.
After Hobbes and Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the best known proponents of this
enormously influential theory, which has been one of the most dominant theories within moral
and political theory. According to Rousseau, the idyllic happiness of the state of nature
disappeared and man degenerate into a cunning brute because of the rise of population and
economic progress. The need of self preservation impelled people to come together and, having
recourse to contract, form an association which may defend and protect, the whole force of the
community, the person and property of every associate, and by means of which each, uniting
with all, may nevertheless obey only himself and remain as free as before. This contract, at ones
social and political, is made by individual of the community in such a way that every individual
puts his person and all his power in common under the supreme discretion of the general will.

The idea of the social contract explains the origins and the nature of the state and search for
philosophical basis to moral and political obligation. The crux of the social contract theory is the
idea that the legitimate government is artificially voluntarily agreed upon by free moral agents
and it rejects the argument that there is something like natural political authority. These classical
exponents of the doctrine of social contracts produce political prescription that are profoundly at
variance with one another. Hobbes places premium on order and through the contract justifies an
all-powerful absolute state. Locke considers consent as the basis of a legitimate political
authority and defends a limited constitutional state. Rousseau regards freedom is supreme, which
is possible in community based on common interest and general will, thus, he advances the
notion of a moral state. However, common to the perception is the idea that an agreement made
by all individuals, who compose a state is the true foundation of body politic.
The arguments of the social contract origin of the State have been criticized of being ahistorical
by not taking cognizance of history and chronology of events in human lives. The social contract
theorists arguments of life in the state of nature is therefore criticized of being too idealistic,
utopia and hence unrealistic as history does not tell us when such a social contract itself took
place in human existence as well as the epoch of the state of nature. Nevertheless, the idea of the
social contract advances the notion of human equality and rejected the traditional claims of the
rule by right of birth, by divine right and by charisma and by physical force. Most importantly, it
rejects the contentions that only certain people are qualified to rule over the rest. In otherwise,
the contracts theory in 17th century criticize and provide a democratic alternative challenging
absolutism and traditional dictatorship, especially the divine right of kings. The contract between
one individual and others enables them out of the ill conditions, which is made possible due the
presence of natural laws. Through the technique of the social contract, they explain consent is the
basis of a legitimate political authority. Here the people were regarded as the source of political
authority and asserts that state only exists to serve the will of the people, and they are the source
of all political power enjoyed by the state. They can choose to give or withhold this power.
4.5.Evolutionary Theory

One of the simple ways to explain the origin of state is that the state developed out of the early
primitive family in which one person was the head. Over the years the original family unit
became a network of families, or a clan. Eventually, 20 or more clans grouped together created a
tribe. Once these nomadic tribes began to settle and develop agricultural techniques, the state
was born.It is difficult to say how and when the State came into existence. Like all other social
institutions, it must have emerged imperceptibly, supported by various influences and conditions.
Compare with other theories which are more or less speculative in character, the evolutionary
theory provides a better explanation on historical evolution of state. According to this theory,
the state is an outcome of gradual or result of continuous historical growth. The supporters of
this theory argue that the state must have come into existence woing to a variety of cuase, some
operating in one place and some in other places. It must have taken a very long time to develop
from primitive structure to modern one. This theory more profitable than speculation, because
other theories seek to reduce to a single theory of the origin of all states. The state must have
arisen from various causes under varying conditions. Apart from the influences of physical
environment and geographical conditions, there are five important factors which made men to
aggregate at different places and separated one group from another, thereby paving the way for
the rise and growth of the State. These important factors are:

1. Kinship;

2. Religion;

3. Property and defence;

4. Force;

5. Political consciousness.
It must, however, be remembered that not any one of these influences has worked in isolation
from others in the process of State building. They operated in various combinations, each playing
its part in creating that unity and organisation that the State requires.

4.5(a). Kinship:
The earliest form of social organisation was based upon blood relationship and kinship was the
first and the strongest bond of unity. What bound people together and made them cohere into a
group was the belief in common descent and the earliest and closest unit of kinship was the
family. It is, of course, a disputed point whether tribe, group or family came first, yet it cannot be
denied that family constituted the first link in the process of the evolution of the State, and
government must have begun in a clearly defined family discipline; command and obedience.
Even the advocates of the Matriarchal Theory ultimately veer round to the family and recognise
the authority of the patriarch. With the expansion of the family arose new families and the
multiplication of families led to the formation of clans and tribes. Throughout the process of this
evolution sanction of kinship was the only factor which bound the people together. Persons
unconnected by ties of blood, unless admitted into the tribe by adoption, were deemed strangers
and treated as enemies. The name of the common ancestor was the symbol of kinship. The blood
bond of sonship changed imperceptibly into the social bond of the wider brotherhood. The
authority of the father passed into the power of the chief. Once more under the aegis of kinship
new forms arose which transcended it. Kinship created society and society at length created the
state. It is, then, clear that the germs of government must have begun in clearly defined family
discipline and the patriarch evoked respect and obedience to authority. The authority of the
father of the family over its members was complete, absolute and undisputed. The patriarch, who
afterwards became the tribal chieftain, combined unto himself religious, administrative, judicial
and military powers. This is the evidence of history.

4.5.(b). Religion:
Closely connected with kinship, as a factor in State-building, is religion. Kinship and religion in
the primitive society were two aspects of the same thing and both acted simultaneously in
welding together families and tribes. Religion was the sign and seal of common blood, the
expression of its oneness, its sanctity, its obligation. When the bonds of kinship steadily
weakened with the expansion of the family into the gens, the clans and the tribes, a common
form of worship reinforced the sense of unity and respect for authority. The primitive religion
evolved from animism to ancestor-worship. The early man was surrounded by natural
phenomena which he could not understand. He looked towards natural forces, such as storms,
thunder and lightning, clouds and wind, the sun, moon and stars with awe and reverence.The
changing seasons and the birth and death of vegetation made him stand amazed. To his innocent
mind and uncultivated intellect the mystery of death and other psychological problems, like
sleep, dreams and insanity, were insoluble. He interpreted all such phenomena as manifestation
of some supernatural power. What he could not understand, he began to worship. He saw God in
clouds and heard him in the wind. Under such conditions emerged two forms of religion,
worship of nature, and worship of ancestors. The hallowed ceremonies of ancestor worship were
conducted at the family altar. There the living came into the presence of their great dead, the
spirits of the departed, who exercised power to evil as well as to good and who must be appeased
by the meticulous performance of sacred rites. In this way, came to be established a family of
deities around which abundant traditions and myths came to be formed.

Ancestor-worship, thus, strengthened the bonds of family union which eventually contributed to
the solidarity of the tribe. But these bonds were only local in character. When tribes expanded by
incorporation or conquest, kinship and ancestor-worship proved weak ties of union among the
diverse people spread over extended territory. Common belief in gods and deities, or worship of
nature became the cementing bond of affinity and comradeship among such people, although
remnants of the old family worship and legends of tribal heroes still formed a common national
religion that served as a sanction of government and law. The sanction of law in primitive
society was religion and, as it was the terrible aspect of religion that appealed to primitive minds,
the breaking of law was followed by terrible punishment. This is how the relation of command
and obedience, which was natural in family relations, was definitely established by religion.

Side by side grew up superstitions and magical customs. In primitive communities magical rites
and incantations were practised both privately and publicly. Anyone who could propitiate the
spirits began to acquire commanding importance and unique influence. He was looked upon with
awe and reverence and all bowed to his authority, since none could dare incur the wrath of the
magic-man. The sorcerer became the leader and it is here that we witness the emergence of
magician-kings. From magician the step to chief or king was simple. Magicians gave way to
priests, when people had lost faith in the spirits and the power of magic. The priests, too, came
into eminence in the same way as the magicians. The evidence available sufficiently shows that
early kings were priest- kings, combining the duties of ceremonial observances and secular rule.
The first form of tribal government was the gerontocracy or council of old men, representing the
various families constituting the tribe. Their control over the tribe was perfect and complete as
they alone were deemed to be familiar with the secret mysteries of the tribal religion, and they
alone were considered eminently competent to know all that could be known about the spiritual
world. Out of the council of elders emerged as the leader, a resolute and ambitious man, a clever
and unscrupulous man, who pretended to extraordinary powers of divination and sorcery.

The fertility of the soil, rain or drought, the success or failure of crops seemed to depend more
upon his incantations and rituals than upon human effort. His influence, especially among an
agricultural people, assumed enormous proportions. The magician eventually made himself
priest-king. Briefly, the value of religion in the evolution of the State can hardly be denied. In
primitive society religion and politics were inextricably mixed up. Religion not only helped the
unification of political communities, but it was religion alone which was responsible for
subordinating barbaric anarchy and for teaching reverence and obedience. The importance of
religion, as a force in the evolution of the State, was not limited to the earliest States alone. There
are numerous states in modern times too formed on the basis of religion and continue to exist on
the basis religion. The legacy of religion in the political life of the country is found even in
Britain as in the religious coronation of Kings or Queens and the still-half-consciously lingering
view of law and of State commands as something sacred.

4.5.(c). Property and Defence

In order to understand the origin of the state and government we must observe how the kinship
group earned its living. And an analysis of society will always reveal the close connection
between its institutions and culture and the methods of satisfying material appetites. Changes in
the methods of economic production appear to be the most vital factor in the making of changes
in all other social patterns we know. Among primitive peoples there were successive economic
stages that marked the growing importance of property and that brought about corresponding
changes in social organisation. The three economic stages are the huntsman stage, the herdsman
or pastoral stage and the husbandman or agricultural stage. They are universal stages in the sense
that groups generally passed from the one to the other, from lower to higher.
A huntsman became a herdsman and flocks and herds became his wealth. Simultaneously, other
forms of property, for example, improved clothing, weapons, and domestic utensils, appeared.
Whatever may have been the earlier form of the family, pastoral life, which is marked with
substantial property interests, increased the social dominance of the male. Property introduced all
sorts of complications. There must reside sufficient power with the tribal authorities to settle
property disputes between different families, and to regulate and safeguard the rights of
ownership. Thus, the gradual increase of property entailed a corresponding intensification of
social control. Tribesmen, who were accustomed to giving unquestioning obedience to their
respective family heads, accepted the authority of the council of elders and of the chieftain who
rose out of the council. At the same time, organised force was needed to repel the plundering
raids of adjacent tribes. Concerted action for common defence against the hostile designs of
others strengthened the solidarity of the tribe and increased the authority of the tribal
organisation, both in creating the need for authority and law, and in replacing family
organisations by system purely political. These conditions called for individual leadership. Some
member of the council of elders or patriarchs, whose personal qualities, such as, military
prowess, knowledge of human nature, oratorical capacity, with or without the assistance of
religious superstitions, pushed his way to the front and raised himself far above his peers in
prestige and influence. Tribesmen rallied round him and he was recognised as the chieftain.

Since the qualities of leadership were likely to be inherited, the office of the chieftain became
attached to a particular family and was transmitted like other forms of property. The institution
of private property and its systematic development, thus, brought the nomadic herdsman to the
threshold of the State. The State must possess the element of territoriality. Although the pastoral
tribes confined their wanderings within roughly determined geographical limits, they were still
nomads. The State came into existence when the people became permanently territorially settled.
The territorial State did not appear until population began to press upon subsistence. The
herdsman needed much more land than the husbandman. As the pastoral tribe grew in numbers
and flocks and herds multiplied, one of the two courses became imminent to follow: either new
land might be acquired by migration or the old land put to more productive use. Fertile pastures,
when brought under cultivation, could support a bigger population, and the tribesmen had long
been experimenting with agriculture, with as crude methods as their tools. Rather than leave the
region to which they had become attached, they supplemented their prevailing pastoral economy
with the rudiments of agriculture. Gradually the herdsman became husbandman. The three
elements of the State are: people; government and territory. When three had been attained, search
for the fourth, sovereignty, followed.

4.5.(d). Force:
The new system also placed a great emphasis upon military life, first for defence, then for
conquest. It is often contended that the State began in conquest when the herdsmen conquered
the husbandmen or peasants. The cause of the genesis of all States is the contact between
peasants and herdsmen, between labourers and robbers, between bottom lands and prairies. The
conquest theory does not explain the origin of the state. But the part played by warfare in
moulding political institutions at any stage of human development cannot be discounted, more so
in a primitive society. Private property, in the form of flocks and herds, afforded a strong
incentive to looting, which in turn had to be checked by systematic defence and punitive
expeditions against hostile tribes.

4.5.(e). Political Consciousness:

The last is political consciousness arising from the fundamental needs of life for protection and
order. When the people settle down on a definite territory in pursuit of their subsistence and a
desire to secure it from encroachment by others, the need for regulating things and persons is felt
imminently and this is the essence of political consciousness. This military leader commanded
the confidence of his people and he established some sort of political organisation, i.e.,
government, to meet the needs of protection and order. Religion reinforced family discipline and
gradually created the wider discipline necessary for the existence of the State. Custom was the
first law and there was a religious sanction behind every custom and the magicians who
controlled religious sanctions were more powerful than any agent of political authority.

When human wants, economic, social and political, increased through the combination of diverse
circumstances and conditions, the state, territorially established and forming a distinct group of
people independent of others, became more complex in form, more universal in its range of
activities, more indispensable to the needs of mankind.
Most of the observations on the origin of state discussed above are hypothetical – largely
discredited in the light of human knowledge. State is a gradual and continuous development of
human society out of a grossly imperfect beginning towards a perfect and universal organisation
of mankind. Various factors which might have been contributed and were responsible for its
origin and growth because nowhere in history it has been recorded when and how the first state
actually came into existence. The modern state system emerged in Europe between the start of
the 12th century and the end of the 17th. States began to replace existing forms of political
organization in the late Middle Ages in Europe when key actors, responding to a diverse set of
political and economic incentives, formed coalitions that undermined one set of political
arrangements, feudalism, and gradually replaced it with another, the sovereign state. The state
was not the only available alternative to feudalism; and it took centuries for the state to emerge
as the winning alternative. Most of the theories are imaginary because nowhere in history it has
been recorded when the state actually came into existence

The Modern State and its Elements

The political arrangements in feudalism were very different from the modern state system.
Feudal arrangements were personal commitments by individual lords and vassals. Public power
and authority – including the military – were held by private individuals. Because feudal
arrangements were not based on territorially defined political boundaries, the modern distinction
between domestic and international politics has little meaning in a feudal context. During the
Middle Ages most of the key actors in Europe thought of themselves as part of a single society
defined by their allegiance to the Catholic Church and a shared heritage dating back to the
Roman Empire. The close connections between the Church and the secular nobility further
increased the cross-territorial nature of political institutions in the Middle Ages and greatly
complicated the structure of medieval linkage politics
The large territorial state won as the successor to feudalism because it was better than the two
other principal alternatives to feudalism – city leagues and city states – at organizing the
economy, mobilizing internal resources in support of preferred policy outcomes, and creating a
set of mutually acceptable, long-term relationships that could manage how the political units in
Europe interacted with each other

The nation-state developed fairly recently. Prior to the 1500s, in Europe, the nation-state as we
know it did not exist. Back then, most people did not consider themselves part of a nation; they
rarely left their village and knew little of the larger world. If anything, people were more likely
to identify themselves with their region or local lord. At the same time, the rulers of states
frequently had little control over their countries. Instead, local feudal lords had a great deal of
power, and kings often had to depend on the goodwill of their subordinates to rule. Laws and
practices varied a great deal from one part of the country to another. The timeline on page 65
explains some key events that led to the rise of the nation-state.

In the early modern era, a number of monarchs began to consolidate power by weakening the
feudal nobles and allying themselves with the emerging commercial classes. This difficult
process sometimes required violence. The consolidation of power also took a long time. Kings
and queens worked to bring all the people of their territories under unified rule. Not surprisingly,
then, the birth of the nation-state also saw the first rumblings of nationalism, as monarchs
encouraged their subjects to feel loyalty toward the newly established nations. The modern,
integrated nation-state became clearly established in most of Europe during the nineteenth

Newly emerging nation-states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had a complex
relationship with the predominant transnational power of the time, the Catholic Church. At times,
partial nation-states were useful tools for the Catholic Church. On several occasions, for
example, France and Spain intervened in Italy at the invitation of the Pope. But some monarchs
wanted control over their national churches in order to get absolute power. In England, the
dispute over who controlled the English church led Henry VIII to break from the Pope and
establish an independent Protestant church in the 1530s. This break with the Catholic Church
gave the English something to rally around, thus encouraging them to develop loyalty toward the
English nation-state. At the same time, some devout Catholics in England refused to convert;
their displeasure ultimately led to repression and civil war.

The Thirty Years’ War and the Peace of Westphalia

The Thirty Years’ War, fought throughout central Europe from 1618–1648 between Protestants
and Catholics, laid the legal foundation for the nation-state. The war involved many nations of
Europe, including many small German states, the Austrian Empire, Sweden, France, and Spain.
Despite a brutal war, the Catholics were unable to overturn Protestantism. The treaty that ended
the war, called the Peace of Westphalia, decreed that the sovereign ruler of a state had power
over all elements of both the nation and the state, including religion. Thus, the modern idea of a
sovereign state was born.

5. Essential Elements of the State

A careful consideration of definitions of the state will clearly reveal that there are some basic
elements could be considered for the very existence and maintenance of the state. Now it is
customary to identify them as constituent elements of the state. It means no state can exist in the
absence of any one of these essential elements.

Essential Elements of State

Population Territory Sovereignty Government

5.1. Population

The basic requirement of for the existence of the state is people. The State, being a human
institution, the population is its first and foremost element. No state can be imagined without the
people, as there must be some to rule and others to be ruled. It is obvious there can be no state
unless people live together an associated life. Living beings, other than human beings, however
socially developed and organised they may be, do not constitute the state. In a simple way
saying that an uninhabited portion of the earth, taken in itself, cannot form a state.

The question of number of people necessary of desirable for the state cannot be answered in
abstract. It means fixing the number or size of the population of a state is a difficult task. Some
of the early thinker made an effort to come out with an ideal number of people in a state. For
example the Greek Philosopher Plato, the ideal state should not contain more than 5040 people.
But Rousseau the French Philosopher would treat 10,000 inhabitants as the ideal population. We
have long since passed the stage when such when such figures could be taken seriously. In the
modern state, we have cities and constituencies where population often goes beyond millions.
Modern states greatly vary in population. While some modern states (e.g. the USA, Russia and
Canada) are still under populated relating to area, resources and similar factors, others (e.g.,
China, India, Egypt) are thickly populated and confronted by the problem of population which is
expanding too rapidly for their natural and technological resources. There is the tiny states and
islands whose population does not go beyond few millions. It is thus evident that the states of
today vary greatly in the number of people they hold. There is no such hard and fast rule as to the
number of people required to make a state. The population of a state must be large enough to
preserve the political independence and to exploit its natural resources and small enough to be
well governed.

That the numbers of people add not always add to strength or prosperity needs hardly any
emphasis. There is some advantage in having a large citizen body which also means a large
manpower. It means the kind of people or the quality of that matters more than their numbers.
What kind of people comprises a particular state? Are they literate, well educated, culturally
advanced? Aristotle rightly has said that a good citizen makes a good state. So what is important
is the quality of people, their character, their culture and their sense of belonging to the state.
Contemporary globalised world the homogeneity of population given a way to heterogeneity in
most of the advanced world.


# Country

1 China 1,361,512,535
2 India 1,251,695,584
3 United States 321,368,864
4 Indonesia 255,993,674
5 Brazil 204,259,812
6 Pakistan 199,085,847
7 Nigeria 181,562,056
8 Bangladesh 168,957,745
9 Russia 146,267,288
10 Japan 126,919,659


Rank Country Population

1 Vatican City 801

2 Tuvalu 9,893

3 Palau 21,097

4 San Marino 31,595

5 Liechtenstein 37,286

6 Monaco 37,623

7 Marshall Islands 52,898

8 Mariana Islands 54,541

St. Kitts and

9 Nevis 54,944

10 American Samoa 55,434

5.2. Territory

The modern state has territorial base. This means that the state exercises its authority within its
territorial borders which are acknowledged by other states. The modern state undoubtedly
requires a definite portion of earth’s territory over which it can have undisputed authority. It
means people alone cannot constitute a state, unless they inhabit in a definite territory. There
have been numerous organized groups in the early period of human civilizations, which occupied
no fixed or definite territory. Compare to ancient states, the modern state is more territorial in
nature. There is no such thing as a migratory state. When they reside permanently in a fixed
place, they develop a community of interests and a sense of unity. It means modern state is
territorial in character. Because of this it becomes easy to organise them into a political unit and
control them. So the state requires a fixed territory, with clearly demarcated boundaries over
which it exercises undisputed authority. The territory of a state comprises land, mountains,
rivers, territorial waters extending some distance and lakes within its frontiers, even the air
space, lying above its territory. The state has full rights of control and use over its territory. Any
interference with the rights of one state by others may lead to controversy and conflict. Question
may rise how much territory is necessary for the maintenance of state? The modern states vary
greatly in size. There is no accepted rule as to the size of a state's territory. In the modern world,
we find states of all sizes and shapes. More important than the size are the nature resources and
the location of the state. A geographically contiguous territory is an asset; otherwise it creates
problems of administration and control. The size of state is not without significance. A large
state is likely to have greater natural resources and economic potentials. This implies a great
capacity of the state to maintain its independence and its ability to provide essential prerequisites
of material prosperity to its citizens. The above discussion shows that there can be little doubt
that without fixed territory there can be no state.

rank country area

1. Russia 17,075,200
2. Canada 9,984,670
3. United States of America 9,826,630
4. China 9,596,960
5. Brazil 8,511,965
6. Australia 7,686,850
7. India 3,287,590
8. Argentina 2,766,890
9. Kazakhstan 2,717,300
10. Algeria 2,381,740
Country Area in Sq. km

Vatican City 0.44

Monaco 2

Nauru 21

Tuvalu 26

San Marino 61

Liechtenstein 160

Marshall Islands 181

Saint Kitts and Nevis 261

Maldives 298

Malta 316

5.3. Government

The state is a politically organized society, this political organization is essential for the
existence of the state. Government is the political organisation of the state. It is an
instrumentality through which the will of the state finds concrete expression. It is the important-
indeed, indispensable machinery by mean of which the state maintains its existence, carries on its
functions and realise its policies and objectives. In otherwise it is an agency through which the
will of a state is formulated, expressed and realised. The form and structure of the government
are of varied kinds. A community of persons does not form a state unless it is organised by an
established government. The government is regarded as indispensable because there can be no
civilised existence without it. It is now generally conceded that as long as there are diverse
interests in society, some mechanism will be needed to bring about and maintain a workable
arrangement to keep the people together. Government usually consists of three branches: the
Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. Their respective functions are legislation,
administration and adjudication. The particular form of government depends upon the nature of
the state which in turn depends upon the political habits and character of the people. In a
democratic set up government keeps on changing after regular intervals. Further, Government
can be of any form—Monarchy or Aristocracy or Dictatorship or Democracy. It can be either
Parliamentary or Presidential or both. It can be Unitary or Federal or of mixture of these two in
its organisation and working. In contemporary times every civilized State has a democratic
representative, responsible transparent and accountable government.

5.4. Sovereignty

The fourth essential element of the state is sovereignty. It is that important element which
distinguishes the state from all other associations. The word 'Sovereignty' denotes supreme and
final legal authority and beyond which no further legal power exists. Sovereignty is the most
exclusive element of State. States alone possess sovereignty. Without sovereignty no state can
exit. Some institutions can have the first three elements (Population Territory and Government)
but not sovereignty. State has the exclusive title and prerogative to exercise supreme power over
all its people and territory. In fact, Sovereignty is the basis on which the State regulates all
aspects of the life of the people living in its territory. As the supreme power of the State,
Sovereignty has two dimensions: Internal Sovereignty and External Sovereignty.

(i) Internal Sovereignty:

It means the power of the State to order and regulate the activities of all the people, groups and
institutions which are at work within its territory. All these institutions always act in accordance
with the laws of the State. By virtue of it, the state makes- and enforces laws on persons and
associations. Any violation of these laws will lead to punishment.

(ii) External Sovereignty:

It means complete independence of the State from external control. It also means the full
freedom of the State to participate in the activities of the community of nations. Each state has
the sovereign power to formulate and act on the basis of its independent foreign policy. We can
define external sovereignty of the State as its sovereign equality with every other state. State
voluntarily accepts rules of international law. These cannot be forced upon the State. India is free
to sign or not to sign any treaty with any other state. No state can force it to do so.

No State can really become a State without sovereignty. India became a State in 1947 when it got
independence and sovereignty. After her independence, India got the power to exercise both
internal and external Sovereignty. Sovereignty permanently, exclusively and absolutely belongs
to the State. End of sovereignty means end of the State. That is why sovereignty is accepted as
the exclusive property and hallmark of the State. External sovereignty implies the freedom of the
state from foreign control. No external authority can limit its power. India before 1947 was not a
state because though it had the other three elements, i.e., population, territory and government,
the fourth and the most important one i.e., independence was missing. A state's sovereignty
extends to its territory. The sovereignty of the state over its territory and its people must be
accepted as undisputed. Lack of sovereignty gives them no position or rank as states. Only by
courtesy, we call them as states.

These are the four essential elements of a State. A State comes to be a state only when it has all
these elements. Out of these four elements, Sovereignty stands accepted as the most important
and exclusive element of the State. No other organisation or institution can claim sovereignty.
An institution can have population, territory and government but not sovereignty. The term 'state'
generally used for the 29 units of the Indian Republic or for any of the fifty states which make
the United States of America, is a misnomer. None of them enjoys sovereignty. Andhra Pradesh,
Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Punjab, Sikkim, in fact all states of the Indian Union have their populations,
territories and governments. These are also loosely called states. Yet these are not really states.
These are integral parts of the Indian State. Sovereignty belongs to India. Sikkim was a state
before it joined India in 1975. Now it is one of the 28 states of India. UNO is not a state and so is
the case of the Commonwealth of Nations, because these do not possess sovereignty. SAARC is
not a state. It is only a regional association of sovereign states of South Asia. India, China,
U.S.A., U.K., France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Egypt, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina and
others such countries are States because each of these possesses all the four essential elements of
state. The presence of all these four elements alone vests a State with real statehood. Every state
must have its population, a definite territory, a duly established government and sovereignty.
Absence of any of these elements denies to it the status of statehood.

5.5 International Recognition

There are some writers’ in modern time’s highlights that the international recognition becomes
an element of the state in contemporary world. The international recognition could be understood
and explained in two formats. A state requires recognition by other sovereign states. Such
recognition is provided by the community of states or majority of independent states. Secondly,
the recognition given by international organisations likes the United Nations, WTO or IMF
which grant membership to sovereign states. The United Nations is an international institution
consists of the sovereign states. Its membership is considered by some authorities to be necessary
for attaining full statehood. The UN membership is a means of recognising state's sovereignty
whenever a new state comes into existence. Its means the recognition by other states and by UN
considered to be extremely important for any modern sovereign independent states to be part of
global interaction among states. However, this element of international recognition has not yet
grown as important as the other four elements we discussed above. Recognition constitutes a
unilateral declaration of intent. It is entirely at the discretion of any state to decide to recognize
another as a subject of international law. When we talk about the state, we are referring to a
whole gamut of different organized institutions that are connected to one another and enjoy some

In Block/Box

David Held identified the following features of the Westphalian nation –state model;

1. The world consists of, and is divided by, sovereign states that recognize no superior authority.
2. The processes of law-making, the settlement of disputes, and law enforcement are largely in
the hands of individuals states.
3. International law is oriented towards the establishment of minimal rules of co-existence; the
creation of enduring relationships is an aim, but only to the extent that it allows state objectives
to be met,
4. Responsibility for wrongful acts across the borders is a ‘private matter’ concerning only those
5. All states are regarded as equal before the law, but legal rules do not take account of
asymmetries of power.
6. Differences among states are often settled by force; the principles of effective power holds
sway. Virtually no legal fetters exists to curb resorting to force; international legal standards
afford only minimal protection.
7. The collective priority of all states should be to minimize the impediments to state freedom.

6. Role of a State

It is more important and relevant than investigation into origin of state and evolution of the state
is the question relating to the justification and end of the state. Merely to show that the state has
come into being due to one reason or another is not enough. State exists and functions for the
sake of human beings. It attains this end primarily by safeguarding those interests that are
common to all the persons under its jurisdiction; for example, by resisting foreign invasion and
protecting life and property. If it stops at this point it will leave unprotected not only many
individual interests, but many elements of the common good, many aspects of the general
welfare. To neglect the integrity of the family or the prosperity of any considerable social class,
will sooner or later injure society as a whole. To take care of these interests is, indirectly at least,
to promote the common good. What we are most concerned with is why should there be a state at
all? In the ancient period Plato emphasised for extensive powers and functions of the state – to
control all aspects of main life touching upon family, education, vacation, property and
individual functions. During the medieval period the sphere of state activity was limited to
temporal matters. The modern age fron 17th centuries many liberal and individualist thinkers
emphasised on limited powers of the state over an individual and the state was confined to
exercise limited political control. Some socialist thinkers supported the extensive power of the
state in socio-economic spheres in order to reduce inequalities.

The justification of the state is incomplete without a consideration of the end or purpose for
which the state exists. Various political thinkers have set forth the ends or purposes of state in
their own ways. There are different kinds of ends of the state according to Garner, they are:
a. Original and primary
b. Secondary
c. Ultimate and highest

The original and primary or immediate end of the state is the maintenance of peace, order,
security and justice among the individuals who compose it. This is involves the establishment of
a regime of law for the definition and protection of individual rights and the creation of a domain
of individual liberty

Secondly, the state must look beyond the needs of the individual to the larger collective needs of
the society. It must care for the common welfare and promote the national progress by doing for
the society the things which the common interests require, but which cannot be done at all or
done efficiently by individuals acting singly or through association.

Finally, the ultimate and highest end of the state is the promotion of civilization of mankind at
large, its aim thus becoming universal in character.

Among political writer a fairly frequent classification of State functions is into necessary and
optional or essential and non-essential. The former are such as all governments must perform in
order to justify their existence. They include the maintenance of industrial peace, order, and
safety, the protection of persons and property, and the preservation of external security. They are
the original primary functions of the State, and all States, however rudimentary and undeveloped,
attempt to perform them. They may be enumerated somewhat more specifically as military,
financial, and civil. In the exercise of its military function, the State defends itself and its people
by force against foreign aggression, and prevents and represses domestic disorder. The financial
function of the State comprises the collection and expenditure of funds for the maintenance and
operation of government. Regulations concerning individual rights, contracts, property, disputes,
crime, and punishment, constitute the State's civil function.

The optional or unessential functions are calculated to increase the general welfare, but they
could conceivably be performed in some fashion by private agencies. They comprise public
works; public education; public charity; industrial regulations, and health and safety regulations.
Under the head of public works are comprised: Control of coinage and currency in the conduct of
banks; the postal service, telegraphs, telephone and railroads; the maintenance of lighthouses,
harbours, rivers, and roads; the conservation of natural resources, such as forests and water
power, and the ownership and operation of supply plants and municipal utilities. Public
education may include not only a system of schools, but museums, libraries, art galleries, and
scientific bureaus, such as those concerned with the weather and agriculture. In the exercise of
the function of public charity, the State establishes asylums, hospitals, alms houses, and
corrective institutions, provides insurance against accidents, sickness, old age and
unemployment, and makes various provisions of material relief for persons in distress. In the
field of regulation, as distinguished from that of ownership, operation, or maintenance, the State
supervises public safety and industry. Regulations of the former kind relate to quarantine,
vaccination, medical inspection of school children and of certain businesses and professions, and
protection of public morals in the matter of pictures, publications, theatres and dance halls.
Industrial regulation extends to banks, commerce, business combinations, and the relations
between employer and employee. The classification of State functions as necessary and optional
has the merit of presenting a comprehensive view of political experience. It enables us to see
how States have interpreted their scope, and distinguished between functions that are essential
and functions that are non-essential.

It is thus evident that the ends of the state cannot be stated in a way which may find general
acceptance. Much of state role depends upon the degree of civilization, the stage of political
development, and the nature of the problems of the period. The welfare of the entire body of
citizens may be regarded as an end of state in an egalitarian an affluent society. Thus, it is not
possible to state in absolute terms ends of state in general. The following role of the could be
regarded as the cornerstone modern welfare state.

a. The satisfaction wills of people

b. The attainment of moral progress
c. The realization greatest happiness of greatest number
d. The development of individual personality
e. The maintenance of rights and the balancing as well as the protection interests.
The functions and role of the State have been transformed substantially. The general
configuration of its responsibilities has changed and this has introduced important modifications
both in the policy arena and in the State’s requirements for high-level skills, qualitatively and
quantitatively. Overall, the course of change points to a shift of focus away from hands-on
management and the direct production of services and goods towards strategic planning with a
view to the establishment and maintenance, refinement and reform of an enabling framework for
private enterprise and individual initiative.
Minimal State

The minimal state is the ideal of classical liberals, whose aim is to ensure that individuals enjoy
the widest possible realm of freedom. Three core functions of the ‘minimal’ or ‘nightwatchman’:

1. The state exists to maintain domestic order.

2. It ensures that contracts or voluntary agreements made between private citizens are enforced.

3. It provides protection against external attack.

There are `two distinct and yet interrelated ideas within the notion of the modern liberal
democratic state. This liberal component signifies the limits to state power by rejecting political
absolutism. Minimal state refers to a state with the least possible amount of powers. It is a term
used in political philosophy where the state's duties are so minimal that they cannot be reduced
much further without becoming a form of anarchy. In a minimal state, government's
responsibilities are limited to protecting individuals from coercion, fraud and theft, to requiring
reparation to victims, and to defending the country from foreign aggression. The only
governmental institutions in a minimal state would be police, judicial systems, and the military.
Legitimate use of power by the state is limited to preventing fraud or the use of force. It does not
include the power to tax or to confiscate property. Contrary to the anarchist (state of nature)
claim that the state does not have the right to charge for its protection, the state does not violate
individual rights, since the anarchic state would evolve quickly into a minimal state situation
anyway (people would hire others to protect their rights), and the strongest protection agency
would be the state. Taking the first type of functions, i.e., which the state alone can perform, the
primary function is the maintenance of order in society. The state is possessed of peculiar
attributes which enable it to perform this function, it has the power of life and death over all
associations no less than over persons because of its unabated right to make war and peace. It
claims the right to settle political disputes by force. In so doing it elevates political interests to
complete supremacy over all other interests. It alone can make rules of universal application.

The main aspects of this minimal state are;

 Minimal states merely lay down the conditions for orderly existence.
 Minimal states could be understood as protective bodies which provide only a framework
of peace and social order within which citizens can conduct their lives as they think best.
 In a minimal state, decisions are usually made at the smallest possible political unit such
as a town assembly or a municipality (local government).
 Libertarian ideology is known to support such a state.

Developmental State

A developmental state is one that intervenes in economic development. This does not amount to
an attempt to replace the market with a ‘socialist’ system of planning and control, but rather to an
attempt to construct a partnership between the state and major economic interests, often
underpinned by conservative and nationalist priorities. The classic example of a developmental
state is Japan. The developmental state has a strong and active central government. Here the state
plays a crucial role within technocratic policy bureaucracies. Policy instruments are formulated
by a small group of qualified elites in economic policy bureaucracy. The economic policy
bureaucracy is consisting in a political network which offers sufficient space in initiative-taking
and effective operation. After its emergence in the 1980s, the developmental state became a key
concept in the study on development of East Asia. It gradually achieved some kind of paradigm
and was prevalent by the early 1990s. But in the late 1990s, developmental state had encountered
a hard time, especially after the broken out of the economic and financial crisis which heavily
blew East Asia–the tradition cradle of developmental statism. Foremost, developmental state can
satisfy nations’ urgent demands of development. One of the underlying reasons for the spread of
developmental state is nation’s willingness to develop. Many scholars contribute the preference
for this kind of development paradigm in the Asia-Pacific region to the nationalism cultivated
under the threats of colonialism . Nevertheless, to develop is not a characteristic existing only in
certain countries but the essential instinct of every country. Developmental state is criticized by
some scholars for its single-minded target in economy. More often than not, the single-minded
economic target exceeds other goals like equality and social welfare. The important
characteristics of developmental states are:

 Developmental states attempt to promote growth and economic development.

 These are states that intervene in economic life for the specific purpose of promoting
industrial growth and economical development.
 Best example to this type of a state would be post-WWII Japan with its government
organized conglomerates (corporations).

Social Democratic State

The social-democratic state is an active participant, helping in particular to rectify the imbalances
and injustices of a market economy. It therefore tends to focus less upon the generation of wealth
and more upon what is seen as the equitable or just distribution of wealth. In practice, this boils
down to an attempt to eradicate poverty and reduce social inequality. The twin features of a
social-democratic state are therefore capitalism and social welfare. The social democratic
approach is impatient of the theoretical conceits favoured by liberal democratic philosophies.
Social democrats have a conception of freedom that accepts liberal and even some conservative
notions, but also includes the notion that people are not free if they do not have the resources to
do certain things. The social democratic point of view is attractive, so far as it does not depend
on the historical abstraction which characterizes liberal democratic perspectives. It is an
abstraction to think of all individuals as equal partners in the organization of social and political
life and to consider what institutions they might approve, for example, in a hypothetical state of
nature. The social democrat rejects this sort of idealization. Here the starting point is the actual
historical condition within which the state is already a potent. In order to equalize capacities, the
state must emancipate people from such conditions as penury, ignorance and vulnerability; in
particular, vulnerability to sickness and disability. It is no surprise therefore to find that social
democrats emphasize the importance of social security, public housing, compulsory education,
public health care, and the like. And equally it is not surprising that they have proposed or
contemplated, where appropriate, that the state provision of these goods be in kind, be universal,
and be monopolistic. So much for the emancipatory imperatives of equal dignity under the
social democratic approach. The first assumption is that the state envisaged by social democrats
is a potentially reliable agent: an agent capable of systematically furthering an institutional goal
like equal dignity. The second assumption is that the state can coherently seek to promote that
particular goal, being capable of dealing respectfully with the persons for whom it wishes to
procure respect. And the third is that the state is an agent-indeed the agent-which ought to be
assigned responsibility for the maximization of equal dignity. For social democrats the issue of
need has largely been one of determining which needs are universal or basic and which are of a
secondary order, based perhaps on some normative process. We can find some social democrats
who have tried to develop some general criteria that can be applied to a discussion of basic
needs. Food, shelter, and health care are often mentioned. Also included is the notion of
autonomy. The important features associated with the social democratic states are:

 Social-democratic states aim to rectify (correct, cure) the imbalances and injustices of a
market economy.
 Business cycles (booms and busts) are common in market economies and these coupled
with externalities (pollution, income inequality) defeat the purpose of having a market
economy. Social democratic states attempt to correct these ugly sides of market
 These states are also called ‘Welfare States’. Examples include Scandinavian states of
Norway, Sweden, Finland as well as the United Kingdom in some aspects (free
 They mostly provide free healthcare and free education to their citizens (‘Cradle to
Grave’ care of citizens).
 Social-democratic states are states that practice economic and social interventionism.

Collectivized State

While developmental and social-democratic states intervene in economic life with a view to
guiding or supporting a largely private economy, collectivised states bring the entirety of
economic life under state control. The best examples of such states were in orthodox communist
countries such as the USSR and throughout Eastern Europe. In Soviet terminology the
transformation of agriculture from private-capitalist to collective-socialist production. The idea
of collectivization has long been familiar in socialist co-operative movements, and Marxists have
inserted it into their program. According to F. Engels, the process of collectivization must be
completely voluntary and gradual. The collectivization also provided industry with a huge labour
pool: workers were recruited in a planned way on the collective farms, like military conscripts.
These sought to abolish private enterprise altogether, and set up centrally planned economies
administered by a network of economic ministries and planning committees. The justification for
state collectivisation stems from a fundamental socialist preference for common ownership over
private property. Collectivized states exert control over the entirety of economic life, usually
through a system of central planning.

Totalitarian State

The most extreme and extensive form of interventionism is found in totalitarian states. The
essence of totalitarianism is the construction of an all embracing state, the influence of which
penetrates every aspect of human existence. The state brings not only the economy but
education, culture, religion, family life and so on under direct state control. The best examples of
totalitarian states are Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s USSR, although modern regimes such as
Saddam Hussein’s Iraq arguably have similar characteristics. Totalitarian states bring
politicization of every issue are and, destroy civil society. The essence of totalitarianism can be
found in its very name; it is a form of rule in which the government attempts to maintain 'total'
control over society, including all aspects of the public and private lives of its citizens. There are
several characteristics that are common to totalitarian regimes, including:

 Rule by a single party

 Total control of the military
 Total control over means of communication (such as newspapers, propaganda, etc…)
Police control with the use of terror as a control tactic
 Control of the economy

However, even though there were common characteristics of the different totalitarian regimes,
Modern Welfare State

The earliest theories tended to adopt a structural or functionalist approach to the development of
welfare states. In other words, they saw the welfare state as emerging to meet the needs of
society at a certain stage of industrialisation, modernisation or advanced capitalism (as the case
may be). The concept of government in which the state plays a key role in the protection and
promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. It is based on the principles of
equality of opportunity, equitable distribution of wealth, and public responsibility for those
unable to avail themselves of the minimal provisions for a good life. The general term may cover
a variety of forms of economic and social organization. The theorising of welfare state have
developed over the last few decades with following assumptions:

a. The welfare state emerges as part of the ‘logic of industrialisation’.

b. The welfare state develops in response to the needs of advanced capitalism.
c. The welfare state is a product of modernisation of societies.
d. The welfare state is shaped by struggles over politics and social class.
e. Welfare states are shaped by the social organisation of production.
f. The welfare state is determined by the structure and interests of the state or polity

The term modern welfare state is pejorative as used by Quinney. In the pejorative sense it refers
to a system of justice that expresses primary concern for individual achievement with enough
emphasis on community only to provide a social setting in which individual achievement can be
supported. The modern welfare state does not share the peacemaker's concern for a socialist
vision of social order. The main aspects of modern welfare states are: A new responsibility to
each other because strong families and strong communities are the basis of a stable society.

 Revolution in education and training. Not just the vital investment in nursery education
and a secondary school system based on achievement and not failure, but an expansion of
opportunities for lifelong learning - in higher education and beyond.
 Transform the welfare state from a safety net in times of trouble to a springboard for
economic opportunity and have taken the slogan of full employment and given it
 A modern welfare state is essential to help people to cope with the risks of change - in
the workplace or in the family. That requires top-quality public services rather than just
cash benefits, and security in old age, through new initiatives to guarantee dignity in
retirement at affordable cost.
 Invest in the social wealth of our country. Communities become rich because they are
strong. At the centre of our investors' strategy for national renewal is the belief that we
owe something to each but that we also gain from giving to each other. Regeneration has
to come from the bottom up as well as from the top down.


We know that state has to play a multifaceted role in modern era as a guardian of law, order and
property, a treasurer, inspector and coordinator and also an allocator of values. The sphere of
state action is undoubtedly vast still it is not Omni-competent. It should refrain from the futile or
pernicious effort to do those things which it is unqualified to do and gird itself more resolutely,
more nobly to the fulfilment of those functions which it is well qualified to do. The modern state
is concerned with policy making and policy implementation. The perceptions and role of state
have been changed over a period of time. One manifestation of this is the emergence of a global
economy, in which it has become increasingly difficult, and perhaps impossible, for any country
to regulate the international flow of capital. The implications of this development for states are
dramatic. The functions and role of the State have been transformed substantially. The general
configuration of its responsibilities has changed and this has introduced important modifications
both in the policy arena and in the State’s requirements for high-level skills, qualitatively and
quantitatively. With the advance of globalization, the State has an important role to play in the
establishment and preservation of an "even playing field" and an enabling environment for
private enterprise, individual creativity and social action. It can also contribute to the
establishment and maintenance of social safety nets; promote as well as facilitate social dialogue
at the sub-national, national, and international levels; establish and maintain mechanisms for
mediation of disputes, mitigation of conflicts and reconciliation of rival cultures or interests in
the increasingly diversified contemporary societies.
7. Concept of a Nation

The term nation as understood in everyday language means a people who are united in a feeling
of oneness. It has been seen that the modern state usually takes the form of a nation-state. The
frontiers of the state are called national frontiers; the interest of the state is described as national
interest; the character of the people of a state is called its national character. The relations among
different states are known as international relations

A state is a territorial political community for which there is an independent organised

Government. A nation state is a state whose primary loyalty is to a cultural self-identity, which
we call a nation or nationality, and is now the predominant form of state organisation. Nation
states possess sovereignty and legitimacy. The significance of the nation state is that, once
consolidated around a particular nationality, it is a stable form of state organisation. A nation
state is a state whose primary loyalty is to a cultural self-identity, which we call a nation or
nationality. Because a state is the expression of a nation, there is in general only one state for
each nation and only one nation for each state.

Some people regard nation in a racial sense with an emphasis on the community of birth, race
and language etc. They, therefore, regard a nation as people of the same stock. Thus, Burgess
defines a nation as a “population of an ethnic unity inhabiting a territory of a geographical unit.”
This implies that when some people of the same stock live together in a geographical area they
form a nation. Leacock also admits the racial significance of a nation.

Since the First World War, the term nation has come to possess a distinctive political
connotation. Today we mean by nation the state plus nationality. A state need not always be a
nation. The words ‘nation’ and ‘nationality’ are used with vagueness in popular language,
although to understand their precise meaning is very important for the students of Political
Science. The main reason for this confusion is that both the words are derived from the same
Latin word ‘natio’ which implies birth or descent. Thus, they express the same etymological
meaning. According to Barker, the fact of living together in a particular geographical area is the most
important condition of a nation. The people may come from different races and breeds, but they develop
sympathy for each other from their long association as inhabitants of the same place. Their mutual
sympathy may grow as a result of a common history of struggle, happiness or sorrow; a common tradition
of language or religion and common culture. This must be supplemented with a common will to live
together freely and independently and the power to exercise the right of political self-determination.

A nationality is transformed into a nation when it organises a state or at least cherishes a common will to
live together in a state for the future. According to Lord Bryce, “A nationality is a population held
together by certain ties, as for example, language and literature, ideas, customs and traditions in such a
way as to feel itself a coherent unity distinct from other populations similarly held together by like ties of
their own.” Mill also expresses the same opinion. According to him, a portion of mankind forms a
nationality if the individuals feel united among themselves distinct from any other portion of mankind,
co-operate with each other more willingly than with other people and desire to remain exclusively under
government by themselves or a section of themselves. Thus, nationality refers to a people having a
common spiritual and psychological sentiment. Such sentiment grows out of commonness of birth,
residence, language, religion, historical unity, traditions, culture, etc. When a portion of people feel
themselves united and also feel that they are different and distinct from other similar groups, they form a
nationality. Nationality emphasises the commonness of birth and unity of language, race, religion, cultural
heritage, customs and traditions etc. without reference to political unity. The people belonging to a
nationality, according to Gilchrist, put more emphasis on similarities among themselves and their
difference from other men. They also develop a social heritage, an art and a literature of their own distinct
from those of others.

Difference between Nation and State

People in general make no distinction between the state and the nation. For example, the term ‘nation’
used in the expression ‘Indian Nation’ as part of the title of the Constitution of India or in the expression
‘United Nations Organisation’ implying an organisation of the sovereign states means ‘state’ . Here the
terms ‘state’ and ‘nation’ are used to mean the same although the two are actually different. A state is
defined as ‘a people organised for law within a definite territory’; it is a combination of population,
territory, government and sovereignty. But the mere combination of these elements cannot make a nation.
The feeling of oneness among the people is of vital importance for a nation. It is for this reason that
Austria-Hungary, before World War I, was one state but not one nation. The Austrians and the
Hungarians were not united by sentiment of love and they had nothing except the political bond common
among them; they were quite distinct from each other and were not even willing to live unitedly. In
general, a nation becomes a state when it acquires sovereignty. In a single-nation state, therefore, the
distinction between the state and the nation disappears. Sometimes a state may combine several
nationalities to create a nation. The difference between the state and the nation becomes distinct when a
nation either fails to have a state or is deprived of its statehood. Japan and Germany, for example, though
lost their statehood after World War II, still continued to be nations. They ceased to be states because they
lost their sovereignty and continued to be nations because the people in each country still aspired to live
unitedly in the future and remained united by sentiment. In fact, subsequently, they were able to attain
statehood again.

Statehood, moreover, is objective but nationhood is a subjective concept. Psychological unity based on
commonness of religion, language, culture etc. is essential for creation of a nation. Sometimes, even
without them or in spite of heterogeneity, a feeling of oneness may be generated among people who may
constitute a nation. But statehood implies four tangible elements: population, territory, government and
sovereignty. For this reason Russia under the Tsar was a state, because all the elements necessary for
statehood were present there, but because of the absence of aspiration of the people to live under the Tsar,
they did not constitute a nation at that time.

The forces which help in unity necessary for binding people together as a nation are termed as ‘the
elements of nationality’. There are many elements of a diverse nature. The presence of all of them is,
however, not necessary at one time. Some of them are found to contribute to the process of moulding
nationality at a certain stage or in case of certain people, while some others may be found playing an
important part in certain other stages or in case of certain other people.

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