State | Origin of the State


The state is a political institution. People al ove the world live in a state. In our world, there are 200 small or large states. Every state has its define territory and population. Besides, in order to operate a state, government and sovereignty are two important ingredients. No state can exist without the above conditions. Professor Garner said, 'an independent population permanently residing in a definite territory, allegiant to the organized government by nature and free from external enemies is called the state. Analyzing this definition, we get four elements of a state, such as -

1) Population

2) Definite territory

3) Government and 

4) Sovereignty.

1) Population: Population is an inevitable element of state formation. If a population permanently resides in a definite territory, a state can appear to exist. However, there is no fixed rule about how much population is required for a state to form. For example, the population in Bangladesh is 150 million, in India 1210 million (2011) and in Brunei, it is about 400,000 (2015). According to the views of political scientists, the population of a state should be consistent with the resources it possesses.

2) Definite territory: In order to form a state, a definite territory is obligatory. The territory comprises land, water and sky areas. A state can be either small or large. For example, Bangladesh has an area of 1,47,570 square kilometers. But according to the signed land boundary agreement between Bangladesh and India, the exchange of enclaves between two countries on 31 July 2015 resulted in an addition of 10,050.61 acres of land to the total land of Bangladesh. Besides, the maritime area of Bangladesh has been increased. At present, the sovereignty of Bangladesh has been established on 1,18,813 sq. km in the maritime area. The People's Republic of China, the United States and Canada are larger than Bangladesh in terms of area.

3) Government: Government is an essential element of a state. No state can exist without a government. Government operates all state activities. The government consists of three organs: legislative, executive and judiciary. Though the formation of government is the same in all states, forms of government vary from state to state. For example, in Bangladesh, we have the parliamentary form of government, but in the United States, it is the presidential form of government. Government operates all the functions of the state.

4) Sovereignty: Sovereignty is the most important and inevitable element of a state. This is the absolute power of the state. There are two facets of it, such as internal and external. Internal sovereignty means that the state exercises its authority over individuals and associations through fiats. On the other hand, external sovereignty keeps the state free from external control.

Origin of the State

It is hard to say when and how the state originated. Political scientists, having examined history, past political events, have given some theories about the origin of the state. These theories are - 

1) Divine theory

2) Force theory

3) Social Contract theory and 

4) Historical or Evolutionary theory

1) Divine theory: This is the oldest theory related to the origin of the state. According to this theory, God himself created the state and He sent rulers to run the state in the right direction. Rulers are the representatives of God and are only accountable to God for their deeds. They are not accountable to the people. Just as rulers rule as per the instructions of God, so the violation of rulers' instructions is tantamount to the violation of God's instructions. According to this theory, rulers combine the duties of Head of State and Head of Religious institutions. Modern political scientists criticized this theory as dangerous, undemocratic and irrational. In their views, where rulers are not accountable to the people, there develops autocracy.

2) Force theory: The main idea of this theory is that the state has come into existence by force and it continues to exist by force. It is stated in this theory that powerful persons in the society through warfare or by applying force have established control over the weaker sections and established state. From the creation to date, this is how states have come to existence. Critics labeled this theory irrational and wrong. They said that if states had survived by force, militarily weak states would have failed to survive. As a matter of fact, it is not the force; rather, states exist and survive on the basis of consent.

3) Social contract theory: The gist of this theory is that the state has come into existence through mutual contract among the people living in the society. The architects of Social Contract Theory were British philosophers John Locke and Thomas Hobbes and French philosopher Jean Jack Rousseau.

According to this theory, before the birth of the state, man lived in the state of nature. But there was no authority to punish the offenders who violated laws in the state of nature. As a result, anarchy and disorder were created in social life. Men became selfish and egoistic. The strong in the society tortured the weak. Consequently, people's lives were pains and unbearable. In addition, with the rise of population, the aspiration and necessity for having private property began to grow among the people. In order to get rid of such anarchy, people entered into signing a contract, thus creating the state. People conferred power upon this authority to rule over themselves in exchange for giving security to them.

4) Historical or Evolutionary theory: This theory states that the state was not changes of different forces and elements at different stages in society. The state emerged after the confluence of elements like kinship, religious ties, wars, economic and political consciousness and activities. As regards historical or evolutionary theory, Dr. Garner said, 'State is not the creation of God, nor the creation of force rather been created out of historical evolution. Of all the theories related to the origin of the state, historical or evolutionary theory is the most logical and acceptable. This theory gives the right explanation as to the origin of the state. In fact, the state that exists at present is the result of the long historical evolution.

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