When the human being abandons nomadism and settles in a community, the idea of family begins to develop, which is considered to be an element prior to the state.
Over the centuries, the concept of people has been articulated, an organization that creates a power structure within a territory. Men who live in a community need to organize themselves and create systems and institutions to regulate and order social life .
For centuries, monarchs are those who wield power and control the various social institutions. In the fifteenth century, philosophers who analyzed politics were already talking about an organizational entity, the state, identified as monarchy. From the French Revolution onwards, the concept of the state acquired a new meaning: the modern state. Some of its characteristics are as follows: the monarch simply bears the representation of the state, there is a division of powers, independent legislation, taxes that affect the entire territory, a diplomatic corps and an idea of national sovereignty. On the other hand, a bureaucratic administration is formed that must regulate economic activity and social relations .
The idea of the state is closely linked to the concept of territory, for this reason, the nation state is spoken of as a sovereign entity governed by a Constitution, in which the guidelines for citizen coexistence are established .
There are philosophical approaches that criticize the idea of the state. From the point of view of liberalism, its role must be as small as possible and it must interfere in society as an arbiter that regulates the activities of citizens. For liberals, state interventionism is a danger, in the sense of imposing its power over individuals. Anarchism defends the thesis that the state has power as a monopoly and people are the ones who must organize themselves, without there being a superior entity above all.
The leading role of the nation state has evolved. In fact, supranational entities are consolidated (the European Union is an example) that are diluting the traditional sense of the idea of state.
One of the most controversial aspects is the notion of the state’s reason, that is, the legitimacy that the institutional power has to impose its criteria and support the supposed interests of the collectivity.