Here is a compilation of essays on the ‘State’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on the ‘State’ especially written for school and college students.
Essay on the State
- Essay on the Definition of State
- Essay on the Evolution of the State
- Essay on the Purpose of the State
- Essay on the Attributes of the State
- Essay on the Difference between the State and Other Associations
- Essay on the Difference between State and Society
- Essay on the Functions of the State
Essay # 1. Definition of State:
There are too many definitions of the state. President Woodrow Wilson’s definition of the state is “a people organised for law within a definite territory.” Harold J. 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.”
According to R. M. MacIver, the state is- “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.”
Sir Thomas Holland’s definition is more elaborate:
“A state is a numerous assemblage of human beings generally occupying a certain territory, amongst whom the will of the majority 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 opposes it.”
J. W. Garner’s definition is the most acceptable one because it contains all the attributes of the state. He defined the state as “a community of persons, more or less numerous; permanently occupying a definite territory, independent of external control, and possessing an organised government, to which the great body of inhabitants render habitual obedience.”
Although the scholars differ among themselves as to the definition of the state, they are at one with regard to the characteristics of the state. Authorities agree on certain essential properties of a state. These are population, territory, government and sovereignty.
The last mentioned element clothes the government with a monopoly of force for the preservation of peace and order and having a plentitude of authority within the state, independent of external control except that of international law.
Since a state cannot function under the law unless it is recognised by the members of the community of nations, such diplomatic recognition is often considered another property of the state.
Further, most political theorists emphasise on the purpose or end as an important element of the state.
Essay # 2. Evolution of the State:
The state is a growth, an evolution, the result of a gradual process running throughout all the known history of man and receding into remote and unknown past.
The story of the evolution of the state is one of long process. From a crude and tribal origin it has grown into the modern complex stature. But the process of evolution was of different fashions because of the diversified factors of time, region and political and socio-economic environments.
We may, however, safely take the following types of states as the broad divisions and stages in the growth of the state:
i. The Tribal State:
In the earliest stage the state was identified with the tribes which composed them. So the tribal state was the earliest from of the state in the world. In that tribal organisation the rights of the individuals were based on kinship. Allegiance to the state had nothing to do with the rulers or the territories. If there was any allegiance it was determined by blood relationship.
ii. The Oriental Empire:
We find some big states in the east flourishing on the banks of the principal rivers. Thus states grew up on the banks of the Indus, the Nile, the Euphrates and the Tigris. These river valley states were rich and prosperous because of the rich natural resources in those areas. The plenty of food, clothes and shelter led to organised political and social institutions.
These river valley states were like so many early empires separated from each other. Life in those big states was one of comfort and ease. But the people had no right. The rulers were all haughty despots. Their responsibilities to the subjects ended with realising taxes from them. The rulers combined in themselves political and religious authority.
Disobedience to the priest-Kings was considered a sacrilege. They ruled over the state with the strength of the sword. When the sword became blunt, the King was replaced by some more powerful one. The people obeyed them out of fear.
iii. The Greek City-States:
The third stage in the evolution of the state was the Greek city-states. These were called city-states because these states had little territory confined to the size of the city. The geographical condition of Greece separated by mountains the entire mainland into so many units facilitated the growth and development of so many small states based on the areas allotted to the cities.
For example, in the fifth century B. C. Attica was a small state where the total population did not exceed one lakh twenty thousand, of whom only forty thousand were citizens and the rest were non-citizens, comprising the slaves and women.
The governments of the city-states were of varied kinds like monarchy, aristocracy and oligarchy. The Greeks were warriors and patrons of art and literature. They were proud of their civilisations and considered the non-Greeks as uncivilised. There was no unity among the Greek city-states. So they fell an easy prey to Macedonia and were finally overshadowed by Rome.
iv. The Roman Empire:
Initially, Rome was a small state like the Greek city-states. It grew up on the fertile plains of the Tiber in 253 B.C. by a combination of several tribes. Monarchy was the form of the early period. The government was controlled by the nobles called the Patricians. The common people were called the Plebeians and they had no share in the government. Monarchy yielded place to the republic in about 500 B.C. when the people became the repository of power. Rome could not go much ahead in democracy because she was involved in warfare with the neighbouring states.
After conquering the enemy states, Rome began to advance in territory both towards the west and the south. All the countries around the Mediterranean came under the direct control of the sprawling Roman empire which included England. In this way, Rome became the biggest empire known to history. Later on, democracy was replaced by military dictatorship.
It is Rome that gave the world the first well-organised and well-governed state. The Roman system of law and Roman administration became very popular. The biggest achievement of the Roman empire is that it brought together diversified people and established a kind of cohesion among them under a common system of administration and justice.
If the Greek city states were known for liberty, democracy and local independence, the Roman empire earned eminence for unity, order and universal law. While Greece had democracy without unity, Rome had unity minus democracy. The apparent strength of Rome proved fatal for its existence. So the Roman empire began to decline.
v. The Feudal States:
The destruction of the Roman empire by the Teutonic barbarians is an important factor in the growth of the feudal states in Europe. The Teutonic’s had as their political institution the tribal state, which did not know unity, order or universal laws which were the very basis of the Roman empire. Their Kings were the successful war lords.
The conception of feudalism came up as an intermediate body between the Roman imperial system and the Teutonic way of life. When the Roman empire fell, the nobles became the real repository of power. The result was that in the place of the centralised state authority came the weak central King. There the real power lay with the feudal chiefs.
Ownership of land was the foundation, on which was built the hierarchy of the feudal system. According to feudalism, the Kings acted as the vassals of the Emperor who was himself a vassal of God. The King was loyal to the Emperor who in his turn was to be loyal to God. The King would distribute the land among the tenants-in-chief, who, in his turn, distributed land among the tenants.
The tenants were to be loyal to the tenants-in-chief and the tenants-in-chief were to be loyal to the King. The land distribution system went on from the tenant to the serfs. The immediately lower rank would be loyal to the immediately higher rank. In this way, he rigid monolithic structure of the Roman empire was replaced by a complete stratification of the socio-economic life. In the place of the Roman law came the customs and traditions.
The highest authority had no contact with the lowest rung of the society. Ownership of land was the crux of the feudal state. Thus feudal system is more an economic institution than a political one.
vi. Modern Nation-States:
The final stage in the evolution of the states is the modern nation states. This is an establishment of an integrated land usually on the basis of a nation with loyalty of the people to the central authority, be it the King or the parliament. Thus the modern state does not admit of hierarchial division of authority of the feudal system. On the other hand, the people are bound together on the basis of nationalism.
The growth of the modern nation states is attributable to the commercial and industrial capitalism which could not brook the obstacle of the feudal order. At the beginning the nation state had absolute monarchy with a centralised control. It dispensed with the authority of the Pope and feudal nobility. The process got the impetus from the Renaissance and the Reformation.
There came philosophers like Thomas Hobbes and Machiavelli to support the absolute monarchy. The coming of the modem states made the atmosphere congenial for the international law, which recognised the equality and sovereign status of the modern states.
Initially the people submitted to the centralised authority because it was more beneficial than feudalism. But the people began to raise objections against the absolutism of the King. The absolute monarchy took shelter under the theory of divine rights of the kingship. But the popular urge for liberty could not be suppressed forever.
In 1688 the people of England deposed their despised King James II and wrested from him a bundle of rights called the Bill of Rights. Again, in 1789 the people of France rose in arms against the absolutism of King Louis XVI and overthrew the monarchy and established instead a republic in France.
The same spirit began to tumble the autocratic regime in Central Europe where Italy, Germany and Hungary established states for each nation. The countries of the Middle East were groaning in the absence of nation states. They got this in the Treaty of Paris which closed the First World War. A further march in that direction was possible after the Second World War. India became independent and a nation state in 1947 in the wake by the Second World War.
Essay # 3. Purpose of the State:
Controversy exists among the political thinkers with regard to the exact purpose of the state. Here are two broad schools which put divergent purposes for the state. They veer round the relation between the state and the individuals.
According to one school, the individual is the end and the state is only the means. The other view is that the state is the end and the individuals are just the means of it. But both the schools are at one with the need of the state.
In between these two extreme views are to be accommodated the Socialist School which wants wider power for the state, the Utilitarian School which assesses everything in the yardstick of maximum happiness for the individuals, and the General Welfare School which wants the state to fulfil the welfare and promotion of human civilisation.
But there is an extreme view of the anarchists that there is no need for the state. Then comes Mahatma Gandhi’s view that the state is an enemy of truth and Ahimsa. We shall now discuss these views one by one.
I. The Individual is an End and the State is a Means:
This school is represented by John Stuart Mill, Herbert Spencer and Adam Smith who believed that the state is only a means to an end. What is that end? The end is the happiness and welfare of the individuals. This band of philosophers gave maximum importance to the individuals by subordinating the state to the individuals. This theory is based on two premises – reduction of the function of the state to the barest necessities and maximum liberty to the individuals.
According to the individualists, the state is an evil, because the state poaches on the free play of the liberty of the individuals. It is necessary, like policeman is necessary, to protect the individuals from the dangers in the society from the other unbecoming individuals. So the state is a necessary evil.
The individualists want the state to discharge only two functions-internally to maintain law and order in the country and externally to defend the country from the foreign aggressions. The state’s main function should be to protect and defend and it must not interfere with the development or progress of the individuals.
John Stuart Mill had no hesitation to hold that the best government is one that interferes least with the individuals. The interference of the state will result in dwarfing the inner faculties of the individuals and killing their initiatives. Adam Smith, who is known for free economic competition among the individuals, is another campaigner of this view.
According to Smith, if the state intrudes into the economic affairs by restraining trade there will be black-marketing, hoarding and profiteering. Herbert Spencer’s defence of the theory is from the biological point of view. He believed that in the nature there is a law of “survival of the fittest”. This should be applied in the state where the strong individuals will and should stand by competition and the weaker ones will and should disappear.
II. The State is an End and the Individual is a Means to the End:
The opposite view of the individualist theory is the idealist view which considers the state as the repository of all functions and the individuals just as means to the end of the state. It is natural that the state must be omnipotent and Omni-competent and must perform all functions relating to the individuals. So the state must control all the activities of the individuals in all avenues of life, social, political, economic and spiritual.
The state is endowed with a moral personality. To say in the words of Friedrich Hegel- “The state is the march of God on earth. It represents the social consciousness and to obey the state is to obey your best self.” According to the idealists, the individuals can attain maximum benefits from the state and so they should completely identify themselves with the state and render unhesitating obedience to the state.
According to Thomas I Hill Green, the individuals have no place outside the state. To quote him- “The state is indispensable to the fullest growth of personality of man.” The personality of the individuals, if any, must be merged with the personality of the state. Whatever the state does it does for the welfare of the individuals. So the individuals have no rights against the state. Their real liberty will thrive only under the care of the state.
This theory was the umbrella under which the Nazis in Germany and the Fascists in Italy took shelter to obliterate all the individual rights. The State became a thorough-going dictatorship that muzzled the spirit of the Individuals and gagged their mouth.
According to the Nazis and the Fascists- “The state is an imperishable organism whose life extends beyond that of the individuals who are its transitory elements. These are born, grow up, die and are substituted by others, while the state always retains its identity and its patrimony of ideas and sentiments, which each generation receives from the past and transmits to the future.”
“In their opinion, the individual’s happiness or individual’s welfare is not the end or purpose of the state. On the other hand, the welfare and existence of the state is the supreme end or aim of the individual’s life. He should willingly sacrifice his life and happiness for the sake of the state. He must subordinate his wishes to the state. It is emphasised that the state has its own purposes of preservation, expansion and perfection and these are superior to the purpose of the individuals who compose it. It sounds grandiose to say that the state has ends superior to those of the individual composing the state.” But the idealists have no conclusive answers as to why the individuals should subordinate their own ends to those of the state. This theory is bound to encourage dictatorship and arbitrary authority.
III. The Socialist Theory:
The socialists favour maximum possible powers and functions for the state. The state stands for widest scope of functions for the advancement of the people. According to the socialists, the state should control and regulate the economic activities of the people. There should not be an competition or profit motives.
All goods should be produced and regulated by the state. The total income of the state should be equitably distributed among the people, each in proportion to his labour. The socialists believe that “From each according to his capacity and to each according to the quantity and quality of work put in.”
IV. The Utilitarian View:
The utilitarians, the chief of whom is Jeremy Bentham, advocated that the main purpose of the state is to bring maximum happiness to the people. According to Bentham- “Greatest happiness of the greatest number should be the aim or purpose of the state.” The usefulness of any state is done by the touchstone of the happiness or sorrow that will fall on the people. So all state actions should be judged in the touchstone of the real pleasure or sorrowness on the people.
According to Frederick Pollock- “The formula of greatest happiness of greatest number can be made a hook to put in the nostrils of the monster of the state, that he may be tamed and harnessed to the chariot of utility.”
V. The General Welfare Theory:
This theory is a compromise by softening the rigours of both individualism and socialism. According o the exponents of this view, there are three main purposes of the state.
(i) The state should ensure the welfare of the people;
(ii) The state will strive for the collective welfare of the people in their collective capacity and
(iii) The state should promote the civilisation of the people.
VI. The Anarchist Theory:
According to the anarchists, there is no necessity of the state. They consider the state as the arch enemy of the individuals. Men are by nature cooperative and they can regulate their own affairs without the intervention of the state. It is the state that hinders the cooperative instinct of the people, who are forced to turn unruly and criminal and so the state should be abolished. This has been stated in a clear-cut expression of Prince Peter Kropotkin- “The state has no natural and historical justification. It is a great hindrance in the path of human progress.”
Essay # 4. Attributes of the State:
Population is to the state as flesh is to the body. There cannot be any state without the people inhabiting it. The population comprise the people permanently living in the state. The nomads and the gypsies who lead a wandering life cannot make a population for the purpose of the state.
There is no fixed number of population for any state. Greece, which had city-states, had a small population. For that reason, we find Plato and Aristotle supporting small states with small population. Plato was specific in his size of the population and he put the ceiling at 500 people.
J. J. Rousseau was another political thinker who shared the view that the state should be small, both in size and population.
To say in the words of Rousseau:
“The more the population, the less the liberty.” He put ten thousand beyond which the population of the state must not exceed.
The modern states, however, have a tendency to have big size, both in territory and population. Several thousand square miles are there in the big states like China, the USA and India. Each of them has several crores of population. Monaco is a small state. She has the smallest population which is only 30,000.
The most populous state in the world is China who has a population of 1,102,000,000. The most populous states have the advantage of bigger manpower and a self-sufficient economy. A state with a large population is also viable to become a world power.
Territory is essential for a state as the bones are for the body. Every state must have a definite land of its own with a settled population in it. There are as many as 177 states in the world today. These are of different sizes, small and large.
The smallest state is Grenada with an area of 344 sq km. while the largest state is the erstwhile USSR with an area of 22,402,200 sq. km. The land that falls within the geographical limit of a state is not the total territory of it.
The territory of a state includes not only the land surface but the underground mineral resources, the rivers inside the state and portion of the sea touching the shore of the state, measuring the sea-belt ranging from three and half miles to eighteen miles. In addition, the air space above the land is also an integral part of the state.
It may be noted that the land covering the offices of the foreign diplomats like the Ambassadors and High Commissioners is to be excluded from the territory of the state. From this it follows that the land occupied by the diplomatic staff, like the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, in all countries of the world must fall within the territorial limit of the state, to which the diplomats belong.
It is ideal for every state to have a compact territory for the purpose of close contact and defence of the country. But this does not always happen. For example, the Hawaii Island of the USA is cut off from the mainland of the USA and there are few thousand miles that separate them.
There is no road connection between them. Only means of transport is the air and sea. The improved service of the ships and aeroplanes has made it possible for the USA to maintain her link with Hawaii.
Mere existence of the population does not make a state. There must be some authority to regulate the people under law and order. This authority, which forms a part of the population, is called the Government. It is the government that makes, enforces and expresses the will of the people. Settled relation of control and obedience is a must in every state.
This relation can be effected only by the government which is an agency of the state. The entire population of a state cannot do it It must be done through an agency. Thus the government is not only the agency of the state but of the population also. So the government is as much an essential attribute of the state as the population and territory.
The government consists of three organs. They are legislature, executive and judiciary. Each of them has separate field of action. The legislature makes law, the executive enforces it and the judiciary interprets it. This obtains in all states irrespective of the forms of the government, no matter whether it is a democracy or dictatorship, parliamentary or presidential.
Even if there is a change in the government either by election or a coup etat it may affect the government but not the state.
This element of supremacy in all affairs, internal and external, is the most important attribute of the state. The state is supreme in all internal matters. It can carry on its programme and policy throughout the length and breadth of its area. It can punish any wrong-doer anywhere within its own territory.
The state is also externally sovereign and carries on its foreign and economic policy in the globe. Every state is equal to other states in international law. It is this element of sovereignty that distinguishes the state from all other associations. A small state like Grenada is as much sovereign as a big state like China.
Bihar, Punjab, or Uttar Pradesh are not states:
Bihar is a unit of the state of India. India is a state, but Bihar not. In Bihar there is population, territory and government. But Bihar does not have sovereignty. Thus the absence of sovereignty negatives the concept of the state. For the same reason, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are not state. Although we talk of the state of Punjab, state of Uttar Pradesh, etc. this type of expression is not the language of political science.
The UNO and the Azad Hind (under Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose) are not state:
The UNO is an international organisation established after the Second World War. It has a parliament called the Legislative Assembly, an executive called the Security Council and a judiciary called the International Court of Justice. Besides, it has several international agencies, through which it functions all over the world.
It has also sovereignty because its writs are obeyed all over the world. So it has two characteristics of the state, namely government and sovereignty. But it lacks in two essential elements of the state, namely population and territory. The UNO has no population of its own. It has no definite territory either. These two deficiencies stand in the way of its becoming a state within the meaning of political science.
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose established a free Government in exile in Singapore. His aim was to carry the Azad Hind Government in India by driving out the British from India. The Azad Hind Government had its own national flag, currency, postal stamps, army, etc. Bose had diplomatic immunity as enjoyed by the envoys of any sovereign state.
It was recognised by Germany, Italy and Japan. Yet, Azad Hind could not be a state because it had no population or territory of its own. It was a government raised in a foreign land, namely Malaya. But the people of Malaya were not the population of Azad Hind. The expected population of Azad Hind was to be the Indians. So Azad Hind could not be called a state.
Palestine is a State:
Palestine Liberation Organisation, which is better known as the PLO, was an institution that claimed the state of Israel as its territory. Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat the PLO was a fugitive institution having no settled population or definite territory. India recognised Yasser Arafat and granted him diplomatic immunity.
But before 15 November 1988, the PLO, was outside Israel. On 15 November 1988, the state of Palestine was declared with Jurusalem as its capital by the Chairman of the PLO, Yasser Arafat in the Israeli occupied west bank of Gaza strip. Algeria, Iraq and Malaya were the first three states to recognise Palastine.
India, then USSR and Afghanistan followed suit. Thus Palestine has all the attributes of a state and so it is a state. But until 15 November 1988 it was not a state.
Idea and Concept of the State:
A line of distinction may be drawn between the idea of the state and the concept of the state. The idea of the state is what the state should be in the future. The concept of the state is what the state is in actual practice.
According to J. K. Bluntschli- “The idea of the state refers to a picture, in splendour of imaginary perfection of the stale as not yet realised but to be striven for and the conception of the state has to do with the nature and essential characteristics of actual states.” To put this in a simple way, the idea of the state is a perfect state complete in all respects as per the speculations of the political philosophers.
The conception of the state consists of the common essentials of the state such as population, territory, government and sovereignty. This aspect of the matter is further explained by J. W. Burgess in the words: “The idea of the state is the state perfect and complete; the concept of the state is making and the development of the world, the two will tend to became identical.”
The idea of the state varies from age to age. For the ancient Greeks, city-state was ideal. In the nineteenth century, the idea of the state was one nation, one state. But in the twentieth century the world state is the ideal of the state.
According to J. W. Burgess- “The state is a gradual and continuous development of human society out of a grossly imperfect beginning through crude but improving form of manifestation towards a perfect and universal organisation of mankind.”
The State and Other Associations:
Before we go to point out the relation between the state and other associations, we should know what is an association. A group of persons having some common views when organised to realise certain common objectives is called an association. So an association has some definite aims which have to be realised through the cooperative efforts of its members.
As a matter of fact, all associations are some organisations directed against realisation of certain human wants and social instincts. This happened in periods of history. But a modern man has some more wants like political, economic, religious, cultural and aesthetic instincts.
A state is a political instinct. The labour union is an economic instinct. The Brahmo Samaj is a religious instinct. The Lalit Kala Academy is a cultural instinct. So we find that all the important facets of our life are reflected through the associations.
The state is one of the associations. It is a political association. Like all other associations, the state has come into existence to fulfill the political instinct of man. It strives at certain and specified ends.
The pluralist school of political philosophers, particularly R. M. MacIver, opined that the state is an association, the fundamental association created for the purpose of the maintenance and the development of external condition of the social system. Its object is to make social life viable. The state is a condition precedent for a social life. This view is, however, erroneous, because the state stands on a higher platform.
The State is the Highest Association:
Although the pluralists hold that the state is an ordinary association, this view is not correct. It is not proper to reduce the state to the status of an ordinary association. The state is the supreme type of association, it being superior to all other associations. It is for this reason that the state is said to be the association of all associations. It is the state that creates the conditions for the growth of other associations.
But for the state, all other associations would not be possible, because the state maintains the law and order inductive to the growth and functioning of other associations. The ordinary associations are supreme within their own spheres but the state is supreme not only internally but externally also. The state is a permanent body.
But other associations are temporary. The ordinary associations have limited scope and aim for the development of its members. But the state aims at the all-round development of its citizens for all times to come. So the state is the genus, other associations are species.
Essay # 5. Difference between the State and Other Associations:
In the first place, the state has a territory of its own. Every state, whether big or small, must have its territorial boundaries which are of permanent nature. Other associations are non-territorial in the sense that an association has no territorial limits.
An association may have a very local field like Delhi University Students’ Union. It may have an all-state area like the All India Congress Committee. It may also have its area all over the world like Young Men’s Christian Association.
In the second place, the membership of the state is compulsory, but the membership of other associations is optional. Every man must be a citizen of one state which is the membership of the state. He cannot remain a non-citizen.
But a man can remain a non-member of an association. One person who is a Christian and young may not be a member of the Young Men’s Christian Association. Nobody can compel him to be its member.
In the third place, membership of the state is singular, but the membership of other association may be both singular and plural. One individual must be a citizen of only one state. He cannot be a citizen of more than one state.
But a member of one association may be member of as many associations as he wishes. For example, a member of the Delhi University Students’ Association may be at the same time a member of All India Congress Committee and Young Men’s Christian Association.
In the fourth place, the state is sovereign, i.e., supreme in all matters, internal and external. But there is no sovereignty with the other associations. This is the most important touchstone that holds the state in upper elevation from the other associations.
In the fifth place, the state is a permanent entity. Other associations may be permanent or temporary. Thus the Delhi University Students’ Union came into existence after the creation of the Delhi University. It may be dissolved by the authorities of the university. But the state of India is in existence from time immemorial. It will also continue forever.
In the sixth place, the state has the police and military organ to carry out its work even by force. This element is lacking in other associations. This power of coercion is a vital point of difference between the state and other associations.
In the seventh place, the state has diversified functions, while other associations have a singular or limited objects and purposes. Even the objects and purposes of all other associations are regulated by the state.
The state is to maintain law and order, defend the country and protect the land and the people from foreign aggression. In addition, the state has to look after agriculture, education and other welfare measures. So it is said that the state is the most powerful of all the associations.
The State and the Government:
The two expressions – state and government are very often used in a confused way. Many think that these two terms are the same. This confusion is not only with the laymen but with the important persons also. So we find the French King Louis XIV saying- “I am the state”.
What he meant was that he was the government of France, not the state of France. The same misconception was noticeable with the Stuart Kings of England.
In political science, the state and the government are quite different. One cannot be identified with the other.
The following analysis will show that these two terms are quite different:
First, the state is the whole, while the government is a part of it. The state is made up of four things, namely population, territory, sovereignty and government. The state has within it the entire population living within the length and breadth of its area.
But the government consists of only a small fraction of the entire population. But the government is the spokesman or agency of the state. The state cannot function of its own. It is the government through which the state functions.
Secondly, the state is the principal body, while the government is the subordinate agency of the body. We may compare the state with a company and the government may be compared with the Board of Directors of that company. All the functions of company are discharged and carried out by the Board of Directors.
Thirdly, the state is permanent, while the government-is temporary. England is a state which will remain forever. But the government of England is temporary. After every general election a new government is formed by either the Conservative Party or by the Labour Party.
When a government loses the confidence of the House of Commons, the government must go. But the end of the government has got nothing to do with the state. The state of England will continue forever.
Fourthly, the state is abstract, but the government is concrete. In attributes, all states are the same. But the government differs from country to county. The USA and China are both states and there is no difference so far as the state are concerned. But there is a difference in the form of government.
The USA is a democracy, while China is a dictatorship. Again, England and the USA have no difference with regard to statehood. But the government of these two countries is different. The form of government in England is unitary, but it is federal in the form of government in the USA.
Essay # 6. Difference between State and Society:
In the first place, the state is a community of persons organised for law within a definite territory. All the people living within the territorial jurisdiction of the state are its members. But a society knows no territorial limits.
It covers the whole range of human relations, i.e., social, economic, political and religious. So, the society has a wider compass than the state. It is all-embracing and all comprehensive. In the second place, the state is related to a territory and its boundaries are well-defined. But a society cannot be restricted to any territorial framework. For example, the Buddhists constitute a society. The Buddhist society is spread all over the world transcending the boundaries of several states.
A society may also be confined to a particular state, when its extent is narrower than the state. For example, the Anglo-Indians who make up a society are found only in India.
In the third place, membership of the state is compulsory. But the membership of a society is optional. The society is purely a voluntary association.
In the fourth place, the state has the power of coercion, which the society does not have. If the laws of the state are violated the state will punish the offenders. The only authority of the society is social customs, conventions and moral persuasions.
Many people make no difference between the state and the society. Even political thinkers like Plato and Aristode fell into the same fallacy by identifying the state with the society. The later idealist philosophers like Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Hegel considered the state co-extensive with the society.
There are some common features between the state and the society. Sometimes, one society is co-terminus with the members of the state. For example, the Jews, who by themselves make a society, constitute the state of Israel.
So Ernest Barker rightly observed- “State and society overlap, they blend, they borrow from one another. But roughly we may say that the area of the one is voluntary cooperation; its energy that of goodwill, its method that of elasticity; while the area of the other is that of mechanical action, its energy forces, its method rigidity.”
Essay # 7. Functions of the State:
There was an old theory of the individualists that the state should simply discharge some police functions like protecting the people from foreign aggression and maintain law and order. This theory is backdated now. The modern concept of the functions of the state is that it should play a positive role in all affairs of the citizens.
Its function is the well-being of the entire body of the citizens. So C. D. Burns rightly held that the state should contribute “to the perfection of national life, to the development of the nation’s health and well-being, its morality and its intelligence.” In the background of the above premises the functions of the state may be divided into two classes.
(i) Essential or compulsory and
(ii) Non-essential or optional.
(i) Essential or Compulsory Functions:
Protecting the individuals from all internal and external danger which is otherwise known as the police functions is the essential or compulsory functions of the state.
These are discussed below:
1. Defending the country from all foreign invasions. It is the primary duty of all states to protect the citizens from the enemy attacks from outside.
2. The second essential function of the state is to maintain law and order inside the state. Only by maintaining peace and public order the state can protect the life, liberty and property of the people. This includes maintaining property and contract rights, regulation of holdings and administration of civil and criminal justice.
The third essential function is to have relation with foreign countries. No state can live in isolation. It must cultivate diplomatic relations with the other countries.
(ii) Non-Essential or Optional Functions:
The essential functions mentioned above are all bare necessities for the very existence of the state. When the state matures in existence it must adopt some benevolent functions for the welfare of the people. So these optional functions are also known as the welfare functions.
The first non-essential function of the state is the education of the people. Plato was the first to emphasise on a state education. The state can patronise education by directly controlling the education system. The state also can refrain from intervening in the educational matter directly and just encourage and finance it from outside. This happened in India during the Maurya and the Gupta age. In India today right to education is considered a fundamental right.
The second important optional function of the state is to look after the public health and provide medical relief to the citizens.
Woodrow Wilson on Essential Functions of State:
(i) Maintenance of law and order and the protection of life and property from violence and robbery;
(ii) Fixing legal relations between man and his wife and between the parents and children;
(iii) Regulation of the holding, transmission and interchange of property and the determination of its liability for credit or crime;
(iv) Determination of contract rights between individuals;
(v) Definition and punishment of crime;
(vi) Administration of justice in civil cases;
(vii) Determination of political duties, privileges and relations of citizens; and
(viii) Dealings of the state with foreign powers and its protection from foreign aggression.
Woodrow Wilson on Non-essential Functions of State:
(i) Regulation of trade and industry, coinage, weights and measures, tariffs, navigation laws;
(ii) Regulation of labour;
(iii) Maintenance of roads and communication;
(iv) Manufacture and distribution of gas, maintenance of waterworks;
(v) Maintenance of postal and telegraphic systems;
(vi) Sanitation, including regulation of industries and trades for sanitary purposes;
(viii) Care of the poor and the incapable;
(ix) Care and cultivation of forests and stocking of rivers with fish;
(x) Sumptuary laws such as prohibition laws.
There cannot be a strong state if the people are weak, sick or physically or mentally disable. A modern function of the state is to encourage family planning which is a part of the public health programme. The state undertakes measures to supply drinking water and keep the drains of the city neat and clean.
The third important non-essential function is to regulate trade and industry. In the past the trade and industries were left to the private individuals and the state would not poke its nose in it. This system made the rich richer and the poor poorer, because the profits from the industries and business accumulated in the hands of the capitalist.
So modern states have adopted schemes to directly control and regulate the trade and industry so that the profit earned from the trade and industry may be used in the welfare of the people by making roads, building bridges, establishing schools, colleges, etc.
The fourth optional function of the state is to build and maintain public utilities like railways, post and telegraphs, radios, telephones, roads, bridges, colleges, libraries, parks and zoos. These are the modern amenities and recreations for the citizens.
The fifth non-essential function of the state is to eradicate poverty. This can be done by arranging employment opportunities in various government avenues. Recently the government of India has made right to work a fundamental right. The government of India has also shown its anxiety to provide reasonable earning to the industrial workers by fixing a minimum wage for them.
Finally, it is also the optional concern of the state to make suitable laws to ameliorate the social, economic and moral life of the people. Thus women’s right to property, widows’ right to remarry and prohibition if the Sati are some of the measures, in that direction. Providing pension 60 the old people, providing employment to the backward communities and providing job opportunities to the physically handicapped persons are other functions in that list.
Functions that are Excluded from the Purview of the Functions of the State:
There are some functions which the state must not do. According to R.M. MacIver, the state should not control the press or the public opinion. It should refrain from curbing the political parties. It will be unfair for the state to poke its nose into the customs, culture and outfits of the people. But if the custom is too shocking like human sacrifice or if the dress of the people is indecent, the state can definitely intervene.