The State is a form of political organization that has administrative and sovereign power over a specific geographical area.
This political organization is constituted in a certain territory and it has the power to order and manage life in society. The State is also called the set of public institutions that have the purpose of administering public affairs.
Elements of the State
It has three basic elements: population, territory and power.
- Population: It is the group of people who live in the State. In some cases you can share race or religious belief among them, but this is not a requirement.
- Territory: It is the physical space or geographical area where the population lives. It can be continuous or discontinuous, insular or continental but always permanent.
- Power: Refers to the ability of the State to organize the population and territory
In modern states there are three different powers: legislative, executive and judicial.
- Legislative: Responsible for preparing the laws governing the State
- Executive: He is in charge of administering the State. In a presidential regime this power rests with the President. In a parliamentary regime, this power is exercised by the king or president who serves as Head of State and a Prime Minister who presides over the government.
- Judicial: Responsible for administering justice and enforcing the law
These three powers must be independent of each other. In this way one power does not control the other. These powers are sometimes named as functions of the State. That is, the State has the function of legislating (drafting laws), executing (carrying out the state administration) and prosecuting (through the judiciary).
Recognition of a State
For a State to be recognized as such, several requirements must be met:
- There must be recognition from other States.
- It has to have agencies and institutions that are capable of administering state powers.
- It must have a collective identity that is often represented through symbols such as the flag, national shield and anthem.
Difference between State and Government
State and Government are concepts that are mistakenly used as synonyms. The government is a part of the State, it is the body that is responsible for administering its powers. But the government is temporary and can change style and people, while the state remains.
Thus, for example, a State could very well be the Chilean State or the Mexican State. Meanwhile, the government that administers them, usually for a few years, may change over time.