The State and its Features


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In today’s class, we will be talking about the state and its features. Enjoy the class!

The State and its Features

The State and its Features

A state may be defined as a politically organized body of people inhabiting a defined geographical entity with an organized legitimate government.  The state is respected and entirely free from external control.  The power of a state is also guaranteed with the coercive power to secure obedience from citizens.  A state is different from an empire, kingdom or chieftain.

Features of a state

  1. Permanence: The state remains a permanent feature.  The government can change many times but the state remains permanent.
  2. Territory: A state has a defined territory with a limit to its size. It must have a clearly defined boundary separating it from others.  Things like water, mountains, forest and airspace make up a state’s territory.
  3. Government: Though the government is not a permanent feature of the state, it remains a significant feature. This is because its machinery is set up by the state to pilot the affairs of the people. The sustenance and prestige of a state are maintained by the government.
  4. Sovereignty: The supreme power to make decisions and enforce them on the people is with the state. The sovereignty of a state is not negotiable and must be free from external interference.
  5. Population: This is an important attribute of the state. For a state to be called a state, there must be a given number of people making the entity.  However, with time numbers are bound to increase.
  6. Recognition: This is an important attribute as a state. It must be recognized both internally and externally.

Relationship between the state and the government

The state and the government are inseparable in the scheme of things. The state is a politically organized body of people occupying a defined entity or geographical area with an organized legitimate constitution. Government, on the other hand, has the feature of a state.  It is machinery set by the state to organize and realise the set objectives and goals of a state.  No state can exist without a government.

In other words, the people making up the state have a government to administer the area.  Not forgetting that the 3 arms of government have to be involved throughout the process.  They have their distinct function to perform in the affairs of the state.  The state can be said to be a cooperate entity while the government is an institution set up by the state.

The state and the nation

A state exists where a territory, a people, a government and sovereignty exist.  It lacks the feeling of nationality or oneness among the people.  A nation can be seen as the body of people who feel themselves to be naturally linked together, share common tides and believe they can live happily together.  They can not tolerate subjection to people who don’t share the same language, culture and nationality.

The society

Society is referred to as the association of human beings. The suggests the whole complex of the relation of man to his fellows.

Difference between state, nation and society

The word State is generally referred to as a collective institution that regulates and govern the internal affairs of the country.

Society is a wider term than the state. It suggests many social relationships which cannot be expressed through the state

The Nation could be seen as people who share common beliefs and can live together and share the same language and culture. They are not satisfied when they are disunited.


In our next class, we will be talking about Basic Concepts of Government.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

Should you any further question, feel free to ask in the comment section below and trust us to respond as soon as possible.

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