State; Meaning Definition, Essential Elements

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Question; Define State and describe its main elements.

OR" Meaning and definition of state in political science

OR" What is the definition of State? What are the essential elements of a state? Give details with examples.

OR" What is a State? Define it and state its main organising elements.

OR "What is the difference between State and government?

OR" What do you understand about the State? State the essential elements of a state.


Meaning, Definition, Essential Elements of State;We know that Political Science is the study of the State. So, naturally, it would be appropriate to study the word state in detail so that we can see various theories about its essential elements, nature, functions, and origin. In Hindi, the word State is used in many senses. France, Britain, the United States of America, China, India, etc., are called states. The provinces of New York, California, etc., which are under the United States of America, are also called states.

In the State we have to represent in political science, it is necessary to have Sovereignty and paramountcy. A territory under someone else, which is not completely sovereign and controlled by some external authority, is not a state in the view of political science. Although New York, Kashmir, Bihar, etc. may be commonly called 'states,' the 'state' that political science considers differs. France, China, India, etc., are completely sovereign states, they are the 'state' in the view of political science, and this scripture considers them.

You have already learned about the nature and scope of Political Science as a subject in the previous article. You are aware that this subject systematically studies the State and other issues. At the same time, it is also necessary to remember that, in the modern period, an attempt has been made to convert the basic study of the State into a comprehensive and complex process called the political system. But it is necessary that the concept of the State and the study of other federations should be refocused, as it is the core subject.

Meaning of State

The State is the focal point of the study of political science. Efforts are made to know everything about the State on this subject. The State is the supreme political entity of the modern era. The question is, what is a state? Who is the State? What is the meaning of State? What is the definition of State?

Scholars have defined the State in many ways, but there is no permanent definition of it. There are many grounds for determining the nature of the State, such as based on word etymology, elements, legal point of view, purpose and function, the notion of power, pluralism, and origin. 

Political science mainly studies the State and its origin. The word "state" is used in many ways. But in political science, the right use of the word "state" is done based on four elements, land, population, government, and universality; India, China, Soviet Union, America, England, etc., come in the name of State.

Machiavelli was the first to propound the idea of ​​'state.' According to Machiavelli, "All the powers, whose authority is on the people, whether it is a monarchy or a democracy, is a state." After this, many scholars expressed their views regarding the State, but the definitions of all are different concerning the State. 

Schulze said, "The word State has as many definitions as the authors of political science.

The State is an important subject of study in Political Science. If we study the various principles of Political Science, we find that its base pillars are 'Person' and 'State.' All the principles of political science revolve around the individual and the State. According to Garner, the end and beginning of political science begin with the State.

The State has been accepted as the first step toward achieving organised society and objectives. Therefore, the importance of the State has been propounded by many political thinkers on their basis. According to Aristotle(Arastu), man is a social animal and a political animal, which is very important to live in the State and society because many basic needs of man are associated with the State. Indian political thinker Manu considers the State to be the cornerstone of organised society and says that God created the State to free the society from anarchy, unrest, injustice, and disorder. According to Aristotle, "The state is made for life and will be for good living."

Definition of State

Differences are found among scholars of political science regarding the nature of the State, which has impacted its definitions as well. Every thinker considers the State according to his beliefs, and then the nature of that State has also changed. Therefore, no definition of a state can be universal or universal. Schulje has rightly said that there are as many definitions of the word State as authors of politics. The definitions of the State given by various scholars are as follows--

According to Aristotle, "The State is a union of families and villages whose object is to achieve a full, self-sufficient life, the importance of which is a happy dignified human life."

In the words of Holland, "State refers to that group or community of human beings which are generally settled on a territory and in which the desire of one category or majority results in action over all others."

According to Cicero, "The State is a society where men are bound together for mutual benefit and based on a common sense of goodness."

Pro. According to Laxi, "State is a territorial society divided into the ruler and ruled and claimed sovereignty over other institutions in its definite geographical area."

According to Phillimore, "The State is that public society having permanent authority over a definite territory, bound together by laws, habits, and customs, which, through an organized government, is independent of all persons and things within its limits. Exercises and controls sovereignty and who has the right to make wars and treaties with the earth's nations and establish international relations.

According to Garner, "A state is an organisation of more or less number of persons, permanently residing in a definite territory of a territory, wholly independent or almost independent of external control, having an organised government." whose ideals are naturally followed by a large community of citizens."

According to Gilchrist, "State is that where some people are organised in a certain territory under a government. This government manifests the Sovereignty of its people in internal matters and is independent of other governments in external matters."

According to Willoughby, "The state is a legal person or form which has the right to make laws."

According to Wilson, "State is the name of a people organised by rule or law within a definite territory."

According to Plato, "The state is the universal form of the individual."

According to Karl Marx, "The state is merely a machine by which one class exploits another."

In the words of Engels, "the state is only a committee of the bourgeoisie."

According to Troitschke, "The state is a force and we must worship it."

In the words of Betil, "The state is that form of human society or political institution which, by combining its powers, seeks the welfare of the common man."

In the words of Gandhi ji, "the state is the representative of violence in a centrally organised form."

According to Bodan, "State is a community of families and objects of their collective authority, governed by the best of power and reason."

According to MacIver, "the state is a community that acts according to the law enforced by its government, which is allowed to use force and maintains the social order within a certain boundary area, the accepted external conditions." "

essential elements of the State

Different scholars have given different views regarding the essential elements of the State, and different thinkers have expressed different views regarding the elements of the State. Sijvik has given three essential elements of the State - people, land, and government. According to Bluntsley, these four essential elements of the State are land, people, unity, and organisation. Gatil has also considered these four elements necessary for the State, people, state government, and Sovereignty. Garner's ideas in this regard are given the most recognition. According to Garner, the following are the 4 essential elements of the State--

1. Population

It is very important to have the population in the State. No state can be imagined in which no person lives. Therefore, a state can be called a state only if it has a certain population.

No definite rule can be made regarding population or population; whether the population is more or less depends on other elements of the State like size, condition of the country, etc. But what is the population in an ideal state is worth considering. Plato has given the population of the ideal State in "Republic" as 5040. Similarly, Aristotle has also said that the population should neither be too much nor too less. The population should be such that it can be easily maintained, and at the same time, the State can be protected from it.

2. Fixed terrain (Certain Region)

The State must have a definite territory. Fixed land area is the second essential element of the State; just like population, a state cannot be imagined without a definite land area. In the words of Blunsley, "The basis of the power of the State is population, its physical basis is the land. People are so long as there is a definite territory or area. According to Gilchrist, "No state can be possible without a definite plot of land." Therefore, for the existence of a state, a certain area is necessary. No wandering tribes (of barren tribes) can be called a state, even if their leader is a chieftain. There is a dispute in this regard, and it cannot be said with the claim: What should this land area be? The following facts are to be considered about the land area of ​​the State; the boundaries of the State should be fixed. The importance of land for the State is from the physical and spiritual points of view. Without Bhaag, the feelings of patriotism, unity, fraternity, etc., cannot come among the people.

3. Organised Government or Governance

The third important essential element of the State is the existence of government or governance in the State. The government is said to be the soul of the State. The people living on a certain territory cannot be called a state unless there is a rule there. It is necessary to have such an institution whose order is necessary for every person to obey. The government follows the wishes and feelings of the State. The government also does the functional exercise of the powers of the State. Authorities come within the government, which govern the functions of the government, such as making and getting laws to be followed and punishing the violators, etc.

Gatil believes that, in the absence of organised government, the population will become completely uncoordinated, chaotic masses, and it will be impossible to do any collective work.

4. Sovereignty

Sovereignty is the hallmark of being a state. Even if there are three other elements in a society, unless there is Sovereignty in it, it cannot become a state in the State. There can be a rule-enforcing agency, but there cannot be Sovereignty. Sovereignty is only a feature of the State, and it is also an essential part of the State. Before attaining independence, India had its population and had a definite territory and government, but due to lack of Sovereignty, it was not called a state.

Sovereignty means "Sovereignty is the State being completely sovereign internally. No person or community inside the State does not obey its commands. From the external point of view, Sovereignty means the State is in the determination of foreign relations. It is completely independent, but if the State voluntarily accepts any restriction on itself, it does not impose any restriction on the Sovereignty of the State.

Hobbes, Bentham, Austin, Hegel, and many scholars have described the Sovereignty of the State as very important and considered it to be the soul of the body of the State, but on the other hand, Laski and Cole, who are pluralist thinkers, also attacked the Sovereignty of the State. Is. Laski said, "The state was never, and never will be, sovereign in its true sense." He also said that the State is an institution like other institutions – so how can it be supreme?


According to the definition of political science, it is necessary to have the above four elements in the State. Without these elements, no organisation can be addressed as a state. While considering the elements of the State, the following two questions often arise in our minds--

1. Are the units of the Union State?

The Federation is made up of its constituent units. India and America are good examples of the federal system of government. Under the Indian Constitution, the word State is used for the units of the Indian Union like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, etc. Under the Constitution of the United States of America, the units of the Union have the first three elements that make up the State - land, population, and government, but they do not have sovereign power. The central government controls their internal Sovereignty, and they do not have the right to make external relations. Thus, they cannot be called states due to a lack of sovereign power.

2. Is the United Nations a state?

Sometimes the question is also asked whether the United Nations is a state? 

According to Oppenhein, the United Nations is a legal body of the international community. It enjoys a legal personality that is distinct from the personality of its members. Just as different states perform different tasks under their 'name,' similarly, organisations and agencies are working in the name of the United Nations. Just as the diplomatic representatives of the State have many immunities and privileges in other countries, similarly, the representatives of the United Nations also get immunities and privileges in its member countries. Like the states, the United Nations also has its distinctive flag. According to Oppenheim, if the personality of the United Nations is analysed based on the four decisive elements of the State, then it can be said that all these elements are in the United Nations to some extent. The United Nations is working for all the people of the world. From the point of view of land, the boundaries and territories of the member states can be called the workplace of the Union. The administrative structure of the United Nations is, in a way, its government.

Still, it has to be recognized that the recommendations of the United Nations General Assembly, the Security Council, etc., are not the same as sovereign orders for the states. It is often seen that various states disobey its orders. In such a situation, it cannot be called a state.

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