In this post, we shall look briefly into what a state is and its intrinsic features. At the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
- define a state; and
- enumerate the features of a state.
What is a State?
A state is a politically organized body of people residing in a specific geographical territory, living under a government, and enjoying a considerable degree of independence from external control. The state is also capable of ensuring habitual obedience from its citizens.
Features of a State
- Definite Territory: A state must have a clearly defined and recognizable territory, which can vary in size.
- Population: For a state to be considered as such, it requires a certain number of people inhabiting its territory. There is no specific minimum or maximum limit to the population.
- Government: A state must have a functioning government that manages its affairs and exercises authority over its citizens.
- Sovereignty and Independence: A state possesses supreme power to create, enforce, and interpret laws within its territory. It should also be free from excessive external control or interference.
- Recognition: A state needs to be acknowledged both internally by its citizens and externally by other sovereign states and international bodies.
- The Rule of Law and Fundamental Human Rights: A state upholds the rule of law, ensuring that laws are applied equally to all citizens. It also recognizes and protects fundamental human rights.
- Permanence: A state is permanent irrespective of changes in its political systems, leadership, or borders.