Difference Between State And Government


What is a State?

State is a form of human association distinguished from other social groups by its purpose, the establishment of order and security; it’s methods, laws and their enforcement; it’s territory, the area of jurisdiction or geographic boundaries; and ultimately it’s sovereignty.

In other words, a state needs to fulfill certain criteria before it can be recognized as such. Among these criteria are a defined territory with defined borders, a permanent population, and a government that has effective control and supreme authority over the defined territory and its borders.

The word country can be used to mean the same thing as state, sovereign state, or nation-state. It can also be used in a less political manner to refer to a region or cultural area that has no governmental status. Examples include Wine Country (the grape-growing area of northern California) and Coal Country (the coal-mining region of Pennsylvania).

The word state is also used to refer to geographic sections of sovereign states that have their own governments but are subject to a larger federal government. For example the 50 non-sovereign states.

Many geographic entities have some but not all the qualities that make up a sovereign state. As of 2020 there are 195 sovereign states in the world (197 by some counts); 193 are members of the United Nations (the United Nations excludes Palestine and the Holy See). Two other entities, Taiwan and Kosovo, are recognized by some but not all members of the United Nations

What Is Government?

Government can be described as the means by which a society organizes itself and allocates authority in order to accomplish collective goals and provide benefits that the society as a whole needs. Among the goals that governments around the world seek to accomplish are economic prosperity for the nation, secure national borders, and the safety and well-being of citizens.

Governments also provide benefits for their citizens. The type of benefits provided differ according to the country and their specific type of governmental system, but governments commonly provide such things as education, health care, and an infrastructure for transportation. 

How a government is organized is determined by the way that people choose to run themselves in an attempt to have order and rules. Examples of governments formed to exercise authority and rules include school board, city council, township board of supervisors, federal government, state government. In the United States there is a representative democracy in which the people determine the way things run by way of voting for people who represent them. 

There are many different national government styles, including dictatorship (government by one or a small group with rule by force as the norm), empire (established by conquering), feudalism (orderly pyramid of control), communism (each according to their ability), and democracy (rule by the citizens of a nation). 

Also Read: Difference Between State And Nation

Key Points on State Vs Government

  • State is an organized political community that lives under a single system of government. Government is the system by which a state or community is controlled.
  • The State is more or less permanent and continues from time immemorial. But the government is temporary. It changes frequently. A government may come and go, but the State continues for ever. 
  • The State is generally composed of all citizens but all of them are not members of the government. Membership of the State is compulsory but not that of the government.
  • The Stale has four elements like population, territory, Government and sovereignty. Government is a narrow concept and it is an element of the State. It is rightly said the State is an organic concept in which the government is a part.
  •  The State possesses sovereignty. Its authority is absolute and unlimited. Its power cannot be taken away by any other institution. Government possesses no sovereignty, no original authority, but only derivative powers delegated by the State through its constitution. Powers of government are delegated and limited.
  • The State is an abstract(idea) concept whereas government is a concrete(physical) one. The government is a physical manifestation and it acts for the State.
  • All States are identical in character and nature. Whether big or small, the characteristics of the State do not undergo changes. But governments are of different types and they may vary form the State to the State. The government can be monarchy, aristocracy and democracy , parliamentary or presidential and unitary or federal.
  • The citizens possess rights to go against, government and not against the State. The State only acts through the government and the government may commit mistakes and not the State. Thus, the citizens have only rights to go against the government. 
  • Citizenship of a state is often than not, as a result of birth. Hence, it is something the person has no control over, unless of course he/she denounces citizenship in place of another. Government on the other hand is often chosen by the people.