Purpose of establishing a state (country)

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The purpose of the establishment or setting up of a state explains why the concept of state came into existence. It explains the reason why a group of people come together to a form a unique association and agreed to live by it’s rules and regulations. In this write up, we will look at the meaning of a state and the purpose of setting up or establishing a state.

What is a state?

A state can be defined as a politically organized group of people occupying a define geographical territory, with an organized government. Such a group of people are free from external control, and backed with the power and authority to enforce decisions and compel obedience from the citizens. All independent country in the world can therefore be described as a state.

What does state mean in a country?

The term state can also be used to refer to a politically organized component unit that is part of a larger country or state whose rule and regulations must not infringe on the larger state that it is only a part of. States within a country a usually set up to facilitate the administration of the country. They exist to actualize the purpose of the country.

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For example, the United States is a country, it is made of 50 components units also called states. Some of the states that makes up the United States include: Texas, Washington DC, Alaska, South Carolina, South Dakota etc. In the case of Nigeria, you have Lagos state, Kano, Rivers etc. The term state and country are used interchangeably. They can both have the same or different meaning depending on the context it is being used.

The purpose of a state

Every state was established for some purpose which includes:

  • Establishment of law and order
  • Promotion of individual good and welfare
  • Promotion of the general welfare of the state members

Establishment of law and order

The state must protect its citizen from external attack while also ensuring domestic peace. States are often bedeviled with attacks and threats from external and internal aggressors from individuals, association and states alike. A state therefore exists to ensure order and peace within it’s territory and to defend it against these attacks.

Promotion of individuals’ welfare

The state must provide conditions necessary for the full development of every citizen. Such conditions must include the protection of individuals’ liberty, rights and freedom.

Promotion of general welfare

The state must strive to make sure the happiness for the greatest number of citizens living within the state is achieved. It is the duty of the state to promote united action aimed at achieving those goals which individuals cannot achieve. The state must also harmonise varying interests, whether this is among groups, or between individuals, or between groups and society as a whole.

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Difference between a state and association of human

While a state is a type of human association, it stands out as a distinct form of association due to the following contrasting factors:

Compulsory Membership:

Membership in a state is mandatory for all individuals born within its boundaries, whereas membership in other associations is purely voluntary.

Binding Rules

Rules established by the state hold authoritative power and generally apply to all residents within its jurisdiction. On the other hand, rules formulated by other associations do not extend to non-members of the association.

Legal Authority

The state possesses legitimate authority to enforce penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or even capital punishment on individuals who violate its laws. Conversely, other associations lack such authority over their members.

Use of Force

The state has the ability to employ force as a means to ensure compliance with its laws and regulations. In contrast, other associations are not permitted to employ force in order to secure obedience to their own rules and regulations.


While the state represents a permanent association, other associations are subject to change and may dissolve or re-emerge over time

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