What is State origin function Types difference state and government


The State is a concept of Geography that is linked to the legal system of a given territory . Therefore, it contemplates all the political and legal institutions that make up the formation of a country, such as laws, decrees, resolutions, among others.

Thus, it is closely linked to the administrative structure of a territory , which is traditionally based on a constitutional document and a common government. Brazil, for example, is a State, as it has its own legal system, linked to the central government power, which administers a territory.

Elements that make up the state

There are a set of elements necessary for the formation of a State:

  • Territory : there is no State without territory, since this spatial area is fundamental for the establishment of power relations expressed through a central government .
  • Government: is understood as a political and legal unit that administers the State, in general, through a central government that shares actions with other state entities.
  • Population : is the set of people linked to state power, therefore, they follow the administrative logic of this spatial unit .
  • Sovereignty: it is essential for local government independence from other countries and also for the control of its territory in a peaceful and unified manner. Sovereignty is also linked to the set of relations with other countries, in situations such as military conflicts and economic agreements, for example.


The origin is linked to the process of modernization of the territories, since the Antiquity period , which gained strength especially through the formation of the so-called national States. The need to establish laws to govern the grouping of populations that shared the same territory, and also shared diverse cultural habits, was one of the drivers of modern states.

More recently, the rise of the mercantilist and, later, capitalist system of production contributed to the formalization of this concept, which became fundamental for the establishment of international relations between the countries of the globe.

The origin is also strongly linked to the basic components of its formation , which are fundamental elements for the structuring of the State, namely: territory, population, government and sovereignty.

In this sense, the period of the Great Navigations, as well as the period of the World Wars , further supported the formation of the concept of the State, since several disputes between territories and governments were established in these historical landmarks, which solidified the structuring of the State as an entity of strong administrative bias .


The main function of a State is the administration of a certain territory through governmental actions taken in a unified manner, aiming at the benefit of the population . Thus, the formation of a State requires a government, a territory and a population, for the establishment of its functions as a spatial, political, legal and administrative unit.

Furthermore, the role of the State is to establish relationships with other spatial entities as well as to defend its territory of power , thus marking the concept of sovereignty. The State is the main foundation for the formation of the concept of country commonly adopted today.


There are several classifications of States that follow the historical, political and economic dynamics of the modern world. The main State classifications, as well as their salient features, are listed below:

  • Absolute : it was the first category of the modern national state, based especially on the figure of the king, who administers state power absolutely. Territorial unity and the exercise of militarism are classic elements of this type of state.
  • Liberal : this form of state, whose rise took place after the French Revolution, marked the rise of popular participation in state administration. Moreover, economically it is characterized by liberalism, a doctrine that defends the non-interference of the State in the economy , with strong participation of the private sector.
  • Socialist : refers to the socialist economic vision based on the socialization of the means of production. It is marked by a planned economy, state bureaucratization and popular participation.
  • Social welfare  : refers to the government’s active participation in sectors such as health and education, while promoting the capitalization of the economy through the adoption of the capitalist production system.
  • Neoliberal : this category has a strong economistic bias and is linked to the modernization of the concept of economic liberalism. This modernization is called neoliberalism, a doctrine that defends the specific action of the State, at the same time that there is private action , as in the means of production.

Differences between state and government

See, below, the differences between State and government, two concepts of geographic science:

  • State: written with a capital letter, it is a central form of administration of a territory that requires a set of laws that are administered through a government.
  • government: written in lower case, it is transitory and is a grouping of representatives of the population, who act in order to contribute to the administration of the States. The government, in democratic societies, is chosen with the participation of the population, who elect their representatives by vote.

Traditionally, the Legislative and Executive powers of a country are linked to the administration of the State, therefore, they are components of the formation of the government of a country, as well as its population.

Differences between state and nation

See, below, the differences between State and nation, two concepts of geographic science:

  • State: written with a capital letter, requires the occupation of a certain territory for its formation. In this territory, several population groups are arranged, which often share cultural aspects, such as language and religion, fundamental for the formation of the feeling of belonging to the State, thus originating the concept of nation.
  • nation: written in lowercase, it is formed by a group of people who share certain characteristics, especially cultural ones. There are nations that do not have a State, that is, they do not have sovereignty, as is the case of the Kurdish people, who, despite having a great political and cultural tradition, do not have their own State.

Differences between state and nation-state

  • State: written with a capital letter, explains the political-administrative organization of a territory and is linked to the set of legal orders that govern a given population.
  • Nation-state: Also spelled with a capital letter, the nation-state model is the most common among world societies today. It contemplates both the concept of the State, that is, the legal and administrative order itself that requires a territory for the establishment of a government, as well as the concept of nation, which indicates the sharing of cultural habits among the population of a territory. . Brazil is a classic example of a nation-state, since it has a government, territory and sovereignty, and also a population that shares different cultural habits, such as the Portuguese language, spoken by almost all the country’s inhabitants.

Relationship between state and country

The concept of State is commonly presented as a synonym for country , and the adoption of the term country occurs especially in common sense, as a way of designating a certain territory.

In turn, the concept of country is broader , since it considers not only the political-administrative structure of a State but also the basic geographic aspects of a territory, such as its physical, demographic and economic characteristics.

Both in the definition of a State and in the definition of a country, the presence of elements such as territory, population, government and sovereignty is necessary.

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