RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Go through these RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty contain important concepts so that students can score better marks in the exam.

Rajasthan Board RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Concept of the State:

  • Political Science is basically the study of the state.
  • What is state? This is a complex question of Political Science.
  • The word. ‘State’ is used in many contexts.
  • The word ‘state’ has been derived from Latin word ‘Status’, which means ‘social status of an individual’. But gradually, its meaning changed, and later, it meant ‘the status of whole of the society.’
  • Ancient Greek scholars had used the word ‘polis’ for the state, which meant ‘City-state’, but presently, it refers to great Nation-states instead of city-states.
  • Karl Marx had considered state as a collective institution. Some other scholars believed that the state is such a thing which is for the whole society and of the whole society.
  • Some scholars consider the state to be a system of power, while some others consider it as a system of public welfare.
  • Aristotle has considered the state as a union of families and villages whose purpose is to establish a complete and self-dependent life.
  • Laski has considered the state as a territorial society which is divided into ruler and ruled, and which has complete sovereignty over all other institutions coming under its territory.
  • Garner has considered the state more or less a community of majority of people who are permanently free or almost free of any external control and who have an organised government and whose orders are followed by its citizens naturally.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Elements of State

  • State has four important elements – (i) Population (ii) Fixed Territory (iii) Government (iv) Sovereignty (Royal Power).
  • State is such a community wherein a large number of people are bound together in unity, so population is an important element of state.
  • State must have some fixed territory. Like population, it is difficult to say for certain that how much area is necessary for a state.
  • Government is such an instrument through which the will of the state can be executed.
  • Sovereignty is soul of the state. It is difficult to imagine a state without it.
  • Political scholar Willoughby has considered the feeling of obedience in the people an important element of the state along with population, fixed territory, government and sovereignty.

Difference between State and Government

Difference between state and government are as follows:
The Concept of the State and Sovereignty 67

  • State is abstract and government is concrete.
  • Government is a part of state.
  • Government is representative of the state.
  • Government is changeable, whereas state is permanent.
  • State has sovereignty but government does not.
  • Territory is compulsory for state, not for government.
  • Membership of state is compulsory, not of the government.
  • Opposition of government is possible, not of the state.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Difference between State and Society

  • State is a political organization, whereas society is a social organization.
  • State has sovereignty but society does not have it.
  • Society originated prior to the state. State developed at a later stage.
  • Territory is necessary for the state, not for the society.
  • State is related to the political aspect of man, whereas society is related to the moral aspect.

Principles of Origin of State

  • It is very difficult to determine when and how the state originated.
  • Political scholars have given different theories regarding the origin of the state.
  • No theory so far has been accepted as final in regard to origin of the state.
  • Presently, following theories are in vogue regarding the origin of the state : (i) Speculative theories (ii) Half speculative and half factual theories (iii) Historical theory.
  • Theory of Divine origin of state, Force theory and social contract theory come under
    speculative theory of origin of state.
  • Patriarchal theory and Matriarchal theory fall under the category of half speculative and half factual theories.
  • Evolutionary theory of state comes under historical theory.

Theory of Divine Origin

  • This theory is the oldest among the theories of origin of state. According to this, state was created by God.
  • This theory considers the king as representative of the God. It does not consider the king responsible to public.
  • Main grounds of criticism of divine origin of state theory are against democracy, Unscientific, conservative religious theory and not applicable to modern states, etc.
  • Divine Origin of state theory had proved useful at that time to maintain peace and order in medieval society by removing chaos and unrest.

Force Theory

  • According to this theory, force is the only basis of origin and development of the state.
  • Supporters of this theory believe that war gives rise to state. State is the product of the tendency of powerful states to rule over weaker states.
  • Sophist scholars of Greece supported this theory.
  • According to Karl Marx, state is based on force and capitalists use this force to exploit labourers.
  • Criticism of Force Theory: (i) Force is a helping element in creation of state, not a decisive element, (ii) State expands not because of force only, (iii) Basis of state is not brutal force only, (iv) Permanent and real basis of state is moral force, not brutal force. (v) End of individual independence, (vi) Incitement to internal and international conflict.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Matriarchal Theory

  • This theory considers that the developed form of matriarchal families is state.
  • Main supporters of this theory are: McLennan, Morgan and Jenks, etc. They believed that mother become the head of family and state due to temporary marital relationships.
  • This theory is criticized on the basis that the development of state had never been so easy as it was explained by this theory.
  • It is very difficult to say that only matriarchal families were in existence in the beginning of human society.

Patriarchal Theory

  • According to this theory, in ancient times, the basic unit of society wks family, whose head was considered to be father or grandfather.
  • Clans were formed by expansion of families and tribes were formed by expansion of clans. State was formed by expansion of tribes.
  • Importance of this theory lies in the fact that it tells us about the contribution of families in the development of state.

Social contract Theory

  • This theory considers that the state is a result of a contract made by men, not a result of divine power.
  • Proofs of social contract are found in ancient Indian literature. This theory is explained in detail in ‘Shanti Parva’ of Mahabharata.
  • Chanakya had also advocated this theory of the origin of the state. This theory can be found in Jain and Buddhist literature.
  • This theory was propounded by ancient Greek scholars in western countries.
  • In modern times, Rousseau, Hobbes and Locke have explained this theory in detail.

Social Contract Theory of Thomas Hobbes

  • Thomas Hobbes considered man to be basically an unsocial creature. According to Hobbes, man is selfish and quarrelsome. He indulges in conflict with others to fulfil his selfish wants.
  • Before the origin of the state, there was chaotic situation and men used to fight with each other. Chaotic state was the state of war wherein every man was enemy of the other.
  • Men built contract among themselves to end that chaos.
  • For political contract, every person made a contract with the other that, “I authorize and give up my right of governing myself to this man or to this assembly of men on this condition that you too give up the right to him and authorize all his actions in a like manner.”
  • When all men agreed to this contract, a super-human was created who was known as ‘Leviathan’ and who was called the all-sovereign ruler.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Locke’s Social Contract

  • Locke has brought into light the positive side of man before the origin of state. Natural state was peaceful because of man’s helping and reasonable nature.
  • At that time, all the people used to follow the laws of nature and moral laws.
  • Man created the state to save himself from chaos and natural disorder.
  • Man built two contracts: (i) One with fellow men, (ii) Second with the rulers. Society was created by first contract and state was created by the second.

Social Contract Theory of Rousseau

  • According to Rousseau, before the origin of state, man used to live in simplicity and freedom in chaotic state. Their nature was good.
  • But gradually, jealousy and conceit increased among men due to population increase. As a result, peaceful state disappeared.
  • Result of this situation was that men felt the need of organizing themselves into a state.
  • For this, men collectively made a contract that every man will surrender his freedom, right and power to the society.
  • Chaos and uncertainty in the society ended with this contract and the state originated which was the representative of general will.

Historical or Evolutionary Theory

  • State is a result of development. The correct explanation of origin of state has been done by Historical or Evolutionary theory.
  • There were various stages of development of state in various eras, situations and places.
  • According to Historical or Evolutionary theory of the origin of the state, following elements were mainly helpful in the development of the state : (i) Blood relations, (ii) Natural social tendencies of man. (iii) Religion, (iv) Force, (v) Economic activities, (vi) Political awareness.

Development of state

  • The ancient man, who lived by hunting, used to live in groups because of his social nature and tendency to live in groups.
  • When he gradually progressed towards civilization, he developed in two ways: (i) As a farmer, (ii) As a cattle rearer.
  • Man started his settlement in following places:
    (i) Damla and Farat river valley in West Asia;
    (ii) Nile river valley in North Africa.
    (iii) Mediterannean Sea’s Aegean Sea costal and island.
    (iv) Hwang-ho and Piyangat Si-Kiyang river valleys in China.
    (v) Indus valley in India.
  • Many scholars were born in ancient Greek who propounded many important theories related to Political Science. These included Plato and Aristotle.
  • King Philip of Macedonia ended the freedom (independence) of Greek states.
  • A City-state named Rome was established on the banks of river Tiber in the center of Italy in 722 BCE.
  • Rome established a great empire by conquening different parts of Italian city-states, Islands of Aegean Sea, Egypt, Asian Minor, France, Spain and Britain.
  • Roman empire was gradually destroyed after the attacks by Germanic tribes, that began from the 3rd century CE.
  • There was lack of political unity in medieval Europe because of Feudalism.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

Nation State

  • Powerful states were established in Europe after the end of feudalism which had the
    nature of a nation. These states were highly organised and systematic due to the feeling of national unity.
  • In the process of development, minor divine power states of ancient times turned into present days nation-states.
  • Presently, states have been developed in two directions:
    (i) In the direction of form of government and scope of state.
    (ii) In the direction of inter-relationship of states.
  • Due to the development of science and technology in the last few years, many states have come very close to each other. It has become impossible for them to live completely isolated from each other.
  • It has become necessary to all the states under present circumstances that they discard the feeling of being supreme and completely independent and accept the principle of international cooperation and inter-dependence.
  • Different states are now being organised into international organization due to their needs.

Features of Evolution (Stages) of State

Prof Gettel has given five main stages of the development of state:

  • State has developed from simple to complex.
  • Initially, population of the states was less and area was limited.
  • Political awareness among citizens grew with the development of states.
  • At the initial stages of growth of states, state and religion were closely related.
  • At the initial stages of growth of states, generally, there was aristocracy and individual freedom had no place there.


  • Sovereignty is an important feature of state. This is also called Supreme power.
  • This is one of the four basic constituent elements of state.
  • The word ‘Sovereignty’ has been derived from Latin word ‘Suprenus’.
  • ‘Suprenus’ means ‘supreme’. Sovereignty means supreme power of state.
  • Sovereignty is of two types: (i) Internal sovereignty, (ii) External sovereignty.
  • Internal sovereignty means that all the people and organizations living in the state are under its full control.
  • External sovereignty means that state is not under control of any foreign country or organization.
  • Political thinker Willoughby has considered sovereignty as the supreme will of the state.
  • Woodrow Wilson has accepted sovereignty as such a power that is continuously active and which makes laws and executes them.
  • Traditioanl theory of sovereignty can be found in the works of political thinkers like Bodin, Hugo, Grotius, Thomas Hobbes, Rousseau, John Austen, etc.
  • Main features of sovereignty are: (i) Absoluteness (ii) Universality (iii) Permanence (iv) Indivisibility (v) Exclusiveness (vi) Inalienability.
  • Sovereignty has many forms (types): (i) Nominal or Titular and Real sovereignty, (ii) Legal sovereignty, (iii) Political sovereignty, (iv) Popular sovereignty, (v) De-jure and De-facto sovereignty.

RBSE Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 4 The Concept of the State and Sovereignty

The Concept of the State and Sovereignty Notes Important Terms

→ State: In political science, an organised group of people under an organised government without any other control and within a fixed area (territory), is called a state.

→ Society: Such a social institution that consists of a matrix of social relations. Society is both an institution, as also a chain of social relations.

→ Organization: Organization means a group of people who want to achieve particular goal by their collective efforts.

→ Government: Government is that instrument of the state which uses the sovereignty and changes the society into a politically organised nation. Government is actually the first expression of power of state.

→ Sovereignty: Sovereignty word is derived from Latin and ‘Suprenus’, which means ‘Supreme power’. It has two aspects: (i) Internal sovereignty, (ii) External sovereignty. Internal sovereignty means supreme power in internal matters and external sovereignty means being free from all external control.

→ Sophist: A group of ancient Greek scholars who propounded the social contract theory. They are called Sophists.

→ Church: Worship place of Christians. During medieval age, church and state were at conflict. Priests tried to prove that church was a divine organization and state should be under its control.

→ Force: Force is the ability to control, regulate and instruct human beings and their behaviour.

→ Liberty: Liberty means that a man should use his rights in such a way that should not violate others’ rights, social rules and laws of states.

→ Contract: Contract or agreement made by men among themselves on the basis of mutual understanding about some topic. Social contract theory of origin of state is based on contract.

→ Feudal Lord: Helpers of king who got reward (land) from him. They helped the king financially, and militarily, if required.

→ Fedualism: The method of government in which the victorious king divided the conquered state among his helpers. In this method, fedual lords used to get land from the king, but they had full control there. They provided military help to the king, if required. There was lack of unity in medieval Europe due to this system.

→ Nation State: Nation is a group of people who live permanently in an area and feel united due to some history, benefits and political aspirations, but now, the countries or states that originated in the world after the decline of fedualism.

→ City-State: Very ancient states were called city-states. For example, Rome was a city-state. This was situated on the banks of river Tiber in central Italy. Sparta and Athens in Greece and Videh or Shakaya in India were also city-states.

→ Principle (Theory) of Nationalism: People of any country have the feeling of unity among them because of unity of language, religion, traditions and culture, etc. They feel that they should have a separate state. This is called principle of Nationalism.

→ Karl Marx: Founder of communism and Socialism.

→ Chanakya: He is also called ‘Kautilaya’ or ‘Vishnu Gupta’. His book ‘Arthshashtra’ is a famous book on government system. He accepted the social contract theory of origin of the state.

→ Plato: Disciple of Socrates. He wrote the book-‘Republic’. He discussed in detail about Political Science and philosophy and presented the image of an ‘ideal state’.

→ Aristotle: Independent thinker, serious and multi-faceted, talented, disciple of Plato and teacher of Alexander.

→ Thomas Hobbes: He propounded the social contract theory. He advocated for total aristocratic monarchism in his book ‘Leviathan’. Leviathan was an imaginary aristocratic king of Hobbes.

→ John Locke: He was a political scholar from England who propounded the theories of natural state, natural rights and contract theory. He said that limited monarchy was the best government system. He wrote the book ‘Two Treatises of Government’.

→ Rousseau: His full name was Jean Jacques Rousseau. He was a famous political thinker of France. He supported Naturalism and Democracy. He was motivator of French revolution. He propounded the contract theory of origin of state.

→ Woodrow Wilson: He was the President of U.S.A. The First World War ended with his 14-formula suggestions and the League of Nations was created.

→ Lenin: Father of Russian communism. He was the main leader of Bolshevik revolution, who, later on, became head of Russian republic. He propounded the theory of bringing social change through force.

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