What are the various theories relating to the origin of the State?


Q 19(b). What are the various theories relating to the origin of the State? 

Ans. Theories of the Origin of State —

There are following five main teories which explain the origin of the state —

I. Divine Theory — According to Divine theory, the State is the creation of god. This theory was developed in the middle ages in Europe because of the influence of Christianity which regarded King as the representative of God having divine right to rule. The oriental rulers sought to justify their power to rule over their subjects on the basis of this theory. The Islamic countries also regarded the King as a shadow of God. In Europe, however, the controversy arose between the Church and the State, both claiming, political authority on the ground of the Divine au-thority. Both agreed that the ultimate source of power and authority ema-nated from the divine origin but the dispute was whether this right was vested in the temporal authority of the Pope or the Emperor.

It was believed that disobedience to King was sinful. However, subsequently due to moral degradation ofrulers and their greed for power, there was chaos and confusion and the Kings became despotic rulers and anarchy prevailed. This brought about considerable influence upon the minds of the people and the theory of divine origin of the State gradually gave way to the social contract theory which believed that it was due to the implied agreement of the subjects to be governed which gave the ruler the power to govern his subjects.

2. Natural Theory—Natural theory suggests that man is a social being and the instinct of his sociability has given rise to the origin of the State. ‘ Aristotle staunchly supported this theory and, therefore, it is also known as Aristotle’s theory of origin of State. He argued that the inter-ests of the individual and the State were identical and men could not live outside the State. The purpose of the State, according to this theory was to promote general welfare of its people. The theory, however, fails to explain the ‘ various influences which actually led to the formation of the State. It believes that State is not an artificial creation but its origin is entirely due to the unconscious result of man’s social nature and need for survival.

3. The Social Contract Theory —This theory presupposes that the State is a creation of agreement by the people. The people pay obedience to the authority of the State because they have agreed to do so. Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau were the three main exponents of the social contract theory of the origin of State.

Tracing the origin of the State, Hobbes observed that originally man lived in a ‘state of nature’ united by social bonds but without any political organisation. He paints a very dismal picture of the ‘state of nature’ in ; which life of man was ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short’ because there was no industry and no art and people lived in constant fear of danger, violence and death. Under these conditions, there was perpetual strife amongst the members of society and the stronger exploited the weaker people got weary of this state of constant struggle and agreed by contract to be ruled by someone who would extend protection to their life. It is by such an agreement that the political authority came into existence.

Locke accepted that originally lived in a state of nature but the life of people in it was not one of universal war but preeminently social in character. The men lived together according to reason without a common superior with authority to judge them. However, there was no one to tell them what is the rule of reason. The want of a settled law induced people to abandon the state of nature and enter into an agreement for the pupose of establishing a civil society under a sovereign. Thus, Locke did not agree with Hobbe’s views that men gave up their natural rights absolutely, instead sovereign is bound by the original contract, the breach of which would free people of their obligation to obey him.

According to Rousseau, the life of people in the state of nature was perfectly happy and people enjoyed their freedoms. But the necessities of self-preservation and protection’of private property compelled people to inter into a contract among themselves by which they surrendered their ight, not to an individual but to the community as a whole for their general good. The ruler was bound by the general will of the people. Thus, Rousseau believed that all power originally belonged and always belongs as rf right to the people. They can create governments and also overthrow hem if they acted contrary to the wishes of the people. He, therefore, upportcd the French Revolution of 1789. Rousseau wrote his Social Con-tract in 1762.

4. Patriarchal Theory—According to Henry Maine, the eldest male nember of the family was the head of the family and he had complete ontrol over the members of the family. The aggregate of families onstituted a ‘clan’ and the ‘clans’ taken together formed the ‘tribe’. In India ilso the eldest male member of the family called the `Karta’ had the t
absolute authority over other members of the family. He could pledge, sell and even kill any person for an offence. Thus, the origin of the State can be aced back to joint family which taken together formed clans to perpetuate be worship of deceased ancestors. The clans grouped together came to be known as tribes which eventually led to the formation of the State.

5. Matriarchal Theory-The matriarchal theory traces the origin of Sate from the Horde, an unorganised tribe, in which promiscuous sexual intercourse was common. In course of time the practice of promiscuous intercourse without any matrimonial relations was abandoned and gradu-ally Nations gave way to polyandry. Perhaps the institution of polyandry came existence because of paucity of women in certain primitive, groups, yandry eventually gave birth to matriarchal theory which preceded the biarchal family. According to matriarchal theory, the relationship of the family is to be traced through female line. But Henry Maine has opposed this view and maintained that the basis of relationship could be traced only through the male line of descendents.