5 Theories Of The Origins Of The State

5 Theories Of The Origins Of The State

Scholars have always raised fundamental questions concerning the origin of the state. Finding theoretical answers about the origins of the state, some questions are often raised.

1. What is the origin of the state?
2. Have men always lived under some forms of political organization?
3. If they have not, what are the causes that brought about the original establishment of government?

Theoretically explaining the origins of the state, various theories have been propounded as to its origins. These theories are: 5 Theories Of The Origins Of The State: 

1. The Social Contract Theory
2. The Divine Right Theory
3. The Force Theory
4. The Patriarchal theory
5. The Evolutionary Theory

Social Contract Theory

According to these theorist, the state is as a result of an agreement entered into by men who originally had no governmental institution. They further opined that the history of the world is divided into two periods which are the period before the state were instituted and the period after the state was instituted. The period before the state was instituted was described as a state of nature, where there were no government or an institution and there were no laws to govern the affairs of men. Men was subjected to natural laws. There was no human authority to formulate these rules or enforce them. But a time came when a government was established. Proponents of Social Contract Theory are Thomas Hobbes, John Locke and Rousseau.

Thomas Hobbes: According to Thomas Hobbes, his analysis of human nature as a source of conflict and war in his political inquiry (Leviathan, 1651) found credence in the book the Bible James 4:1. According to Hobbes, man is essentially selfish, he is moved to action not by his intellect or reason, but by his appetites, desires and passion. He assert that the absence of absolute authority in a state of nature resulted in a situation of man against every man not war in the organized sense, but a perpetual struggle of all against all. Competition, difference and love of glory were dominant characteristic features in the state of nature. Hobbes concluded his political inquiry of human nature with the assertion that “the anti-social instinct of man is too insisted to be checked except by absolute authority. The only way to peace is for man to surrender so much of their natural rights. There is a fundamental question to his conclusion, Will man’s surrender of their natural rights to constituted authority actually stop aggression?

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John Locke: Locke also a facilitation of the Social Contract Theory have examined the state of nature, he emphasizes freedom and preservation, that in a state of nature, freedom and preservation were the dominant features. According to him, men were free and equal,each living according to his own liking. Although there was no superior authority to enforce law, the freedom of man was not a license as the conduct of man were to be guided by natural laws. The state of nature according to Locke was not a state of war asserted by Hobbes, but still full of fears and danger. The state according to him was established through the medium of contract in which each man agrees with every other to give up to the community, the natural right of enforcing the law of reason in order that life, liberty and property maybe preserved.

Jean Jacques Rousseau: In his Social Contract Theory, he assert that man was essentially good and sympathetic. According to him, the state of nature was a period where men were free and equal. As men began to acquire property and the increase in population, quarrels arise and men were forced to give up their natural rights and freedom with the establishment of civil society through contract.

Divine Right Theory:

This theory posited that state was established by God’s ordinance. The state is divine entity, its rulers are divinely appointed and accountable to no other authority but God. According to the Bible, “Let every soul be subjected into the higher powers. Foe there is no power but of God: The powers that be are ordained of God”. There is a fundamental question, can it be true of this theory that cruel, dictators, and totalitarian rulers are of God’s ordained? The divine theory is primarily historical and generally discredited because it necessarily involves propositions that are to be accepted as a matter of faith rather than reason.

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Force Theory:

The force theory posted that the states is a product of conquest by a more powerful individual who set his military resource against the weak for territorial expansion and control.According to the theory,the state is established as a result of war.

Patriarchal Theory:

This theory laid emphasis on the family unit system. The state is an extension of the family. The family unit system comprises of the father, mother and the children all reading in a home (arena). Father being the head of the family is seen as the president or head of the state, the mother as the vice president who takes charge at the absence of the father (President) and the children represent the people who they own their duty to protect and defend.

Evolution Theory:

This theory sees the state as a product of history. History in the sense that the state is a gradual and continuous development of human society out of grossly impact beginning through crude but improving forms of manifestation towards a more perfect and universal organization of mankind.



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