Theories on Origin of State

Theories of Origin of State are as below:

  1. Theory of Divine Origin
  2. Force Theory
  3. Social Contract Theory
  4. Evolutionary Theory/Historical Theory

Theory of Divine Origin
This is the oldest theory concerned in the origin of state. According to this theory, state is established and governed by God himself by agent or vicegerent or vicar of God. The chief exponent of this theory in early times were the Jews and supporters were the early church father.

This theory was used especially in medieval period to establish the supremacy of the church over the state. The divine origin theory took the form of the theory of the divine right of the king. James I, the first stuart King who said that “Kings are he breathing images of God upon the earth,” and Sir Robert Filmer good examples. Bousset in France elaborated this theory supporting the despotism of Luis XIV, who proudly declared, “I am the state having full authority directly given by God.”

People have no right to rebel against the King, if so it is against the God himself.

Some of the basic tenets of this theory are:

1.Monarchy is divinely ordained.
2.Hereditary right is indefeasible that means cannot be taken away.
3.Kings are accountable to God alone
4.Resistance to a lawful king is sin.

According to this doctrine, king began to become despot and tyrant. With the growing political consciousness and rise of democratic ideas, this theory was rejected as unsound in theory and dangerous in practice. It got death blow at the hands of Grotius, Hobbes and Locke. Some moral values can be extracted from this theory.

Force Theory

According to this theory, state is the result of the superior physical force and subjugation of the weaker section by the stronger. Physical strength was able to overcome fellow men and to exercise authority over them. Some superior tribes and clans also did so. Then state came into being through physical coercion and compulsion, according to this theory.

As per this theory, war begets the state and Oppenheim, Jenks and many other supports this view. This theory only emphasizes force and accepts that state is the product of coercion and force only. But force must have been an important factor in the evolution of state but to think it as an only one factor is a mistake. Several other factors, such as, voluntary amalgamation as by force and conquest, as a result of conciliation and agreement, by one another’s cooperation and other peaceful agencies and efforts, etc.

Force is an important element for both internal and external security of the state but it is not only the cause for the origination of the state. Might only cannot go ahead permanently. It should follow its path with a positive weapon of right. Force is a physical power while right is a mental power, both should go together in the origination of the state, of course there was strong arms but only with the support of other elements according t MacIver. In the words of MacIver, “Force along never holds a group together.” So force is one of the component for the state origination but not whole sole cause.

Social Contract Theory

According to this theory, state is the result of a deliberate and voluntary contract of primitive man emerging from a state of nature. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau are the main supporters of this theory. State of nature was even pre-social. According to Hobbes, it was solitary, nasty and brutish. State came into being by the social contract with the surrender of power to absolute monarchy.

According to Locke, “State of nature was pre-political and everything was regulated by natural law, but to execute that law state was originated from the social contract and people chose the constitutional government and limited monarchy.

According to Rousseau, “State of nature was peaceful, carefree life, happiness, but after the advent of economic need, social strife began and society became pre-social.

The state was originated through social contract with the agreement to govern the state under “general will” on the basis of popular sovereignty.

Thus contract was both social contract and governmental or political contract. The objectives of the contract were to secure the life and property of the people. Contract was with one another and with all.

All contractualists justify the conceptions that governmental authority if it is to be legitimate must rest ultimately on the consent of the government.

This theory emphasizes upon the fact that state is man-made by the contract especially to provide protection to the people, it is an artificial creation not natural. And government authority is restrained upon by man’s natural freedom.

This theory has been criticized on three bases:

1. Historical: It seems only historical fiction not historical truth. There is no trace in any history about such contract.

2. Legal: Contract has no legal binding force. State of nature cannot create legal bindingness of contract.

3. Philosophical: Voluntary relations of individual and state seems unreasonable.

Membership in the state could not be voluntary, if so state becomes like a company. Man is a part of nature and the state is the highest expression of nature.

State is a natural growth and not a manufacture. According to T.H. Green, “the real flaw in this theory of social contract is that it implies the possibilities of rights and obligation independently of society, the basis of rights is social recognition not agreement.”

Some truths could be drawn from this theory is that contract is based on consent of the governed, sovereignty has no right to act arbitrarily which is the basis for modern democracy, the importance of the individual and political authority lies in people.

Evolutionary Theory/Historical Theory

According to this theory, the state is a historical growth and result of a gradual evolution. It is a continuous development, cannot be referred to any single moment of time, circumstance and any event, etc.

According to Burgess, “It is a gradual realization of the universal principles of human nature. There is no single case, place and any trace of deliberate creation of men in the origination of the state, but political consciousness has played its role from early period to modernity in the origination of state.”

State was originated on the basis of various causes and varying condition. They are:

  • Kinship
  • Religion
  • Political Consciousness

Kinship is fact knit together different clans and tribes and gives them unity and cohesion since the early period.

Kin-relationship is one of the factor to develop common consciousness, common interest, and common purpose which ultimately helped to establish intensive social relationship. According to MacIver, “Kinship creates society and society at length creates the states.” In the process of development of kinship patriarchal and matriarchal both societies were experienced and such societies contributed in the origin of the state theory through their authority, military and political and religious privileges and powers, legality and sense of morality, tendency to leadership and subordination and custom which translated into law later.

MacIver says that “custom is at work turning example into precedents and precedents into institutions.

Patriarchal society was followed by feudalism in later period, the idea of this society remained for long period and even after the development of complete society.

Religion played an important role in creation of social consciousness and social solidarity in the emergence of state.

Sense of common worship and cult of deceased ancestral worship and other kinds of religious ceremony of different tribes developed as sense of social unity and cohesion in the process of origin of the state.

Kinship and religion were so closely intertwined that the patriarch who later became the tribal chief was also the high priest, the guardian of religion, interpreter of customs and often the magic man and even medical man.

  • He was naturally looked upon with reverence in the society.
  • He ruled over vast mass with the powerful weapon that is religion.

Political Consciousness

Men in a vast mass of society felt need of the state for the protection of themselves. After their wandering habits and hunting nature, men entered into the pastoral and agricultural life and faced several changes as increase in population, vast religious groups, tribal development, contacts with neighboring people, a sense of harmony, accumulation of wealth in individual and group capacity and advance of economic life, etc.

With those development some sort of organization were formed and they ensured internal order and protection of life and property of the people … it is thus beginning of the origin of the state.

Gradually organizations received mass support and came into intensive form and became an authoritative body to maintain social relationship and defense of private property and private life.

Different forms of authoritative body appeared in different times under the leadership of tribal chief, nobles, religious chief, leaders and kings etc. Thus, such authority helped ultimately to form the state institutions.

State emerged with the emergence of law and government, in the process of kinship, religion and political consciousness and state developed as nation state in the process of political evolution.

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