The term State is also very commonly used to express the collective action of the community, through the agency of the government, as distinguished from individual action. For instance, when we talk about “State management”, “State regulation”, “State aid”, etc., we actually use the word State for government.
Similarly, when we talk about the twenty-six units of the Indian Republic or the fifty states which make the United States of America, we do not give the word its scientific meaning. None of them is really a State. In Political Science the term State has a more specific and definite meaning which has little in common with most of its various ordinary meanings.
As used in Political Science, the term State means an assemblage of people occupying a definite territory under an organised government and subject to no outside control. One hundred and eighty-five (185) manifestations of it are members of the United Nations. There are many more which not members of the organization are. All of them share common characteristics. They are groups of people living on, and exercising control over, a definite territory.
They are divided into government and subjects; the rulers and the ruled. Some sort of system or order is represented by each. Rules of law are established and in some measure maintained, and compulsion is exercised, and the right to it is recognized both by the members of the group and by the outside world.
There can be no community without the people to form one, and no common life without some definite piece of territory to live in. When people live a collective life, they fulfil the meaning of Aristotle’s famous phrase, “Man is a social animal”, and when they live a settled life on a definite territory to realize the purpose of collective living, they fulfil the meaning of Aristotle’s second famous phrase: “Man is a political animal.” But man is not as good as we want to believe that he is. There are all kinds of men and even good men exhibit selfish behaviour because they live in society.
Pride, ambition, avarice, revenge, lust, hyprocrisy and other traits of disorderly appetites race with the goodness of man and people are usually concerned with their own welfare first and foremost. This is the evidence of history.
“Society”, Burke says, “requires not only that the passions of individuals should be subjected, but that even in the mass and body, as well as in the individuals, the inclinations of men should frequently be thwarted, their will controlled, and their passions brought into subjection.”
The best that can be done is to control the worst manifestations of human perversity by means of political authority. The people are bound by rules of common behaviour and their violation is accompanied by punishment. That is the State. Society meets man’s companionship the State solves the problems created by such companionship.
The State is, thus, some form of association with some special characteristics, particularly that of its territorial connection and of its use of force. It is charged with the duty to maintain those conditions of life for which the State came into existence and for which it continues to exist.
The State is a natural, a necessary, and a universal institution. It is natural because it is rooted in the reality of human nature. It is necessary, because, as Aristotle said, “The State comes into existence originating in the bare needs of life and continuing in existence for the sake of good life.” Man needs the State to satisfy his diverse needs and to be what he desires to be. Without the State he cannot rise to the full stature of his personality.
In fact, in the absence of such a controlling and regulating authority, society cannot be held together and there will be disorder and chaos. What food means to the human body the State means to man. Both are indispensable for his existence and development. The State is, accordingly, a universal institution.
It has existed whenever and wherever man has lived in an organised society, although the term State is the product of the sixteenth century and Machiavelli was the first to give it a scientific meaning. He observed, “All the powers which have had and have authority over man are states (state) and are either monarchies or republics.
“The structure of the state had been subject to a great evolution. The general process was from the similar and simple mechanism of the past to a highly dissimilar and complex mechanism of today.