State and Government

State and Government In everyday language, the two terms, the State and Government, are often used interchangeably as if there is no difference between them. The Stuarts in England did not differentiate between the two to justify their absolute authority. Louis XIV of France needs to say, “I am the State ” Some Political philosophers, too like Hobbes, used the terms State and government if they were identical in meaning.

But the State and government are by no means the same thing. They are not synonymous, for it is perfectly possible to conceive of communities, primitive nomadic tribes, for example, which are not ‘States’ in the sense in which India, Pakistan, Britain, and the United States of America are, but which have governments in the sense of accepted rules of conduct, by which law and order are maintained Indeed, it could be argued,


says MacIver, “where the family exists and exists everywhere in human society government already exists.”If this is so, the government can exist independently of the State. But no State can exist without a government. Without a government, the population would be an incoherent, unorganized, anarchic mass with no means of collective action.

Government is the agency or the machinery through which common policies are determined, and common affairs are regulated, and common interests are promoted. It IS the manifestation of the State, and it consists of all those persons, institutions, and agencies by which the will and policy of the State are expressed and Carried out. As in the Current speech, we sometimes dos a misnomer to equate government with its Controlling elements, such as a Ministry in Great Britain and India, and the President and his cabinet in the United States.

When we refer to a change of government in any of these countries, it really means a change in the government’s controlling elements and not a change in the government itself. A change in the controlling element of government in a State has an important impact on the government, but ministers or a President do not make the whole government.

Even emperors and kings abdicate, as did Edward VII of Britain and King Farouk of Egypt, but the whole political and administrative structure is not altered with these changes. Government includes the whole network of local institutions, elected bodies, and appointed officials, the whole civil service in all its ramifications, down to the lowest official charged with the carrying out of policy.

The State declared the United States Supreme Court, “itself is an ideal person, intangible, invisible, immutable. Government is an agent, within the sphere of its agency of perfect representative, but outside of that it is a lawless usurpation.” Elaborating the point, Woodrow Wilson remarked that the State “is juristically wholly organized in its government and can only speak through the government.”

Two results flow from its Government is the organization of the State its working machinery. The State has authority inherent in itself, whereas the government has no inherent powers. The authority of which it is the “bearer,” as Germans express it, is exercised by the government as its agent. It can only do those things and perform such functions as the government is specifically authorized to do following the provisions and limitations outlined in its charter or constitution.

Maclver says, “When we speak of the State, we mean the organization of which government is the administrative organ.”

A-State has a constitution, a code of laws, a way of setting up its government, and its citizens’ body. When we think of this whole structure, we think of the State. It is then clear that being an agent of the State, the government has only a lease of authority revocable by the sovereign. In brief, the State is the principal master to which authority the government must ultimately how. The master in possession of original and plenary authority can take back the powers it has delegated to its agent, diminish them, or even expand them at will.

Secondly, the State possesses the character of permanence and continuity.  The controlling elements of government change after the expiry of the stated period or sometimes em earlier and replaced by others, but the State is not subject to this order of change and replacement.

However, it would not be quite accurate to say so on the analogy of Tennyson’s famous poem “The Book” that Governments come and go, but States go on forever. States are not eternal. Sovereignty is the State’s essence, and as long as a State retains its sovereign character, it rennin the State. With the disappearance of sovereignty, it loses its character of Statehood. States come to an end, usually by forceful annexation, but rarely by the voluntary union.

The State also loses its identity when there is the total extinction of its population. But governments can and do change without the permanency of the State being disturbed. France had many forms of government between 1789 and today, and every change brought in more or less an entirely new set-up in the State’s political organization. Still, France remained France, Italy remained Italy when it moved from constitutional to the fascist monarchy and then on to a republic. So did Russia of the Tsars after the revolution of 1917 There is no change in the Statehood of Pakistan with the secession of East Bengal, now Bangladesh, except for a sizeable diminution in its territory.

Despite these obvious differences, the State and government are identified as if they are one. The State is an abstraction, whereas government is emphatically concrete. It is the State’s working machinery, and it wields on its behalf that legal authority, which is the inherent power of the State. In daily life, it is not so much with the abstract State as with the government that an ordinary man comes into contact, for those who seek concreteness rather than an abstraction.

says Croce, “the State is nothing but government, and assumes complete reality only in the government”

Laski is correct when he says that the State is nothing but the government for practical administration.

GD. H. Cole is also of the same Opinion for him; the State is nothing more or less than the political machinery of government in a community.

It is indeed a fact that the government tends to incarnate the State as its sole agent and representative, and power is its monopoly at a given time and in a given territory. Moreover, it is the type of government in power that gives any State its distinctive political form. Rome was first a republic, then an empire. France from 1814 to 1870 was, in turn, a monarchy, a republic, an empire, and again a republic. Britain is now a constitutional monarchy, which she was not until 1688.

Pakistan was the Islamic Republic till October 8, 1958, when the Constitution was abrogated and Martial Law imposed. It twice tames a military dictatorship between 1958 and 1972 and once again in 1977. All this means that the governments of these States are or were of that particular form. Government and State, thus, become practically identical.

But the difference between the two remains distinct—the characteristics of t territoriality and all-inclusiveness point to the basic distinguishing characteristic of the State. The State is ham a sociological and a legal entity. I am an Indian because I belong to the State of India, and when I pledge allegiance to the national flag, the State is the entity for which the symbol stands.

I do not pledge allegiance to the government whose controlling element, Ministry is subject to periodical change, Nor do I pledge allegiance to the unorganized mass of people. My only pledge is to this political entity, the State, whose sovereignty and integrity all Indians are pledged to maintain, no matter at what is sacrifice. The State is a people organized for law within a definite territory.

Government is its organization to which is delegated the power to enforce its will on its members by the resort, if necessary, to physical sanctions. The Constitution of the State provides for the organization of government. It prescribes what it should and what it should not do; if it oversteps the limits so prescribed, the government’s actions become unconstitutional and, accordingly, void. Finally, sovereign and independent States are international entities, and the subject matter of international law Government of a State is only it’s dealing.

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