Concepts of State and Government
Meaning of State
A state is a community of persons more or less numerous, permanently occupying a
definite portion of territory, having a government of their own to which the great body of
inhabitants render obedience, and enjoying freedom from external control.
The Philippines is a state.
Elements of a state
- The mass of the population living within the state.
answers the question, “who governs whom?”
no specific number requirement
“…the state shall neither be too small nor yet one that seems great but has no unity.”
- demarcated area that rightly belongs to the population.
answers the question, “where?”
terrestrial, fluvial, maritime and aerial
should be permanent and large enough to be self-sufficing
- Refers to the agency to which the will of the state is formulated, expressed, and carried
- May be defined as the supreme power of the state to command and enforce obedience
to its will from the people within its jurisdiction and corollarily to have freedom from foreign
a. Internal – power of the state to rule within its territory
b. External – the freedom of the state to carry out its activities without subjection to or
control by other states.
Origin of states
1. Divine right theory
2. Necessity or force theory
3. Paternalistic theory
4. Social contract theory
State distinguished from nation
“The state is a political concept while a nation is an ethnic concept.”
“ A state is not subject to external control while a nation may or may not be independent of
“ A single state may consist of one or more nations or people and conversely, a single nation
may be made up of several states.”
State distinguished from government
“…they are usually regarded as identical. As ordinarily, the acts of the government are the acts
of the state.”
“A state cannot exist without a government, but it is possible to have a government without a
“A government may change, its form may change, but the state, as long as its essential
elements are present, remains the same.”
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
“forms” of government refer to the basic rules by which a nation carries out its policies
there is no standard for the classification of governments
actual arrangements differ from theoretical ones.
Government type: republic
Definition: This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major
governmental terms are as follows. (Note that for some countries more than one definition
Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i.e., without
any laws, constitution, or legally organized oposition.
Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of
Authoritarian - a form of government in which state authority is imposed onto many aspects of
Commonwealth - a nation, state, or other political entity founded on law and united by a
compact of the people for the common good.
Communist - a system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy and a
single - often authoritarian - party holds power; state controls are imposed with the elimination of
private ownership of property or capital while claiming to make progress toward a higher social
order in which all goods are equally shared by the people (i.e., a classless society).
Confederacy (Confederation) - a union by compact or treaty between states, provinces, or
territories, that creates a central government with limited powers; the constituent entities retain
supreme authority over all matters except those delegated to the central government.
Constitutional - a government by or operating under an authoritative document (constitution)
that sets forth the system of fundamental laws and principles that determines the nature,
functions, and limits of that government.
Constitutional democracy - a form of government in which the sovereign power of the people
is spelled out in a governing constitution.
Constitutional monarchy - a system of government in which a monarch is guided by a
constitution whereby his/her rights, duties, and responsibilities are spelled out in written law or
Democracy - a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but
which is usually exercised indirectly through a system of representation and delegated authority
Democratic republic - a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled
to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
Dictatorship - a form of government in which a ruler or small clique wield absolute power (not
restricted by a constitution or laws).
Ecclesiastical - a government administrated by a church.
Emirate - similar to a monarchy or sultanate, but a government in which the supreme power is
in the hands of an emir (the ruler of a Muslim state); the emir may be an absolute overlord or a
sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.
Federal (Federation) - a form of government in which sovereign power is formally divided usually by means of a constitution - between a central authority and a number of constituent
regions (states, colonies, or provinces) so that each region retains some management of its
internal affairs; differs from a confederacy in that the central government exerts influence
directly upon both individuals as well as upon the regional units.
Federal republic - a state in which the powers of the central government are restricted and in
which the component parts (states, colonies, or provinces) retain a degree of self-government;
ultimate sovereign power rests with the voters who chose their governmental representatives.
Islamic republic - a particular form of government adopted by some Muslim states; although
such a state is, in theory, a theocracy, it remains a republic, but its laws are required to be
compatible with the laws of Islam.
Maoism - the theory and practice of Marxism-Leninism developed in China by Mao Zedong
(Mao Tse-tung), which states that a continuous revolution is necessary if the leaders of a
communist state are to keep in touch with the people.
Marxism - the political, economic, and social principles espoused by 19th century economist
Karl Marx; he viewed the struggle of workers as a progression of historical forces that would
proceed from a class struggle of the proletariat (workers) exploited by capitalists (business
owners), to a socialist "dictatorship of the proletariat," to, finally, a classless society Communism.
Marxism-Leninism - an expanded form of communism developed by Lenin from doctrines of
Karl Marx; Lenin saw imperialism as the final stage of capitalism and shifted the focus of
workers' struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries.
Monarchy - a government in which the supreme power is lodged in the hands of a monarch
who reigns over a state or territory, usually for life and by hereditary right; the monarch may be
either a sole absolute ruler or a sovereign - such as a king, queen, or prince - with
constitutionally limited authority.
Oligarchy - a government in which control is exercised by a small group of individuals whose
authority generally is based on wealth or power.
Parliamentary democracy - a political system in which the legislature (parliament) selects the
government - a prime minister, premier, or chancellor along with the cabinet ministers according to party strength as expressed in elections; by this system, the government acquires
a dual responsibility: to the people as well as to the parliament.
Parliamentary government (Cabinet-Parliamentary government) - a government in which
members of an executive branch (the cabinet and its leader - a prime minister, premier, or
chancellor) are nominated to their positions by a legislature or parliament, and are directly
responsible to it; this type of government can be dissolved at will by the parliament (legislature)
by means of a no confidence vote or the leader of the cabinet may dissolve the parliament if it
can no longer function.
Parliamentary monarchy - a state headed by a monarch who is not actively involved in policy
formation or implementation (i.e., the exercise of sovereign powers by a monarch in a
ceremonial capacity); true governmental leadership is carried out by a cabinet and its head - a
prime minister, premier, or chancellor - who are drawn from a legislature (parliament).
Presidential - a system of government where the executive branch exists separately from a
legislature (to which it is generally not accountable).
Republic - a representative democracy in which the people's elected deputies
(representatives), not the people themselves, vote on legislation.
Socialism - a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is
controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution
of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more
than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.
Sultanate - similar to a monarchy, but a government in which the supreme power is in the
hands of a sultan (the head of a Muslim state); the sultan may be an absolute ruler or a
sovereign with constitutionally limited authority.
Theocracy - a form of government in which a Deity is recognized as the supreme civil ruler, but
the Deity's laws are interpreted by ecclesiastical authorities (bishops, mullahs, etc.); a
government subject to religious authority.
Totalitarian - a government that seeks to subordinate the individual to the state by controlling
not only all political and economic matters, but also the attitudes, values, and beliefs of its
Source: CIA World Factbook - Unless otherwise noted, information in this page is accurate as
of July 26, 2012
The Government in Philippines
The Philippines has a presidential form of government. The President functions as the head of
state and head of government, and is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The
political system works under 3 individual and interdependent branches: Executive, Legislative,
The Executive branch (law-enforcing body) is under the headship of the president. The
president obtains the position through national voting system; the tenure is a six-year period.
The executive seat of the state is run officially from the Malacañang Palace and also serves as
the official residence of the president. During his or her term, the president can appoint and
terminate any of the cabinet members whom he/she presides over. The Vice-President is the
second highest position and is also elected for a 6-year term through a popular voting system.
Legislative branch (law-making body) is characterized by a bicameral Congress comprising the
Senate and the House of Representatives. Occupying the upper house is the Senate whose 24
members are voted for in a national election with a 6-year term. On the lower house is the
House of Representatives elected to a 3-year term.
The Judicial branch (law-interpreting body) demonstrates its authority to the Supreme Court of
the Philippines as the highest judicial body and presided by a Chief Justice with 14 Associate
Justices; all are appointed by the president under the advice of the Judicial and Bar Council.
The Office of the Ombudsman is the official monitoring body of the government. Its main
purpose is to investigate and take legal actions against any government officials purportedly
responsible of crimes particularly graft and corruption.
As to extent of powers exercised by the central or national government
a. Unitary - control of national and local affairs is exercised by the central or national
b. Federal –powers of the government are divided between to sets of organs, one of the
national and the other for local affairs
As to the relationship of the between the executive and the legislative branches of the
a. Parliamentary – legislative and executive bodies are fused together
b. Presidential – the executive is constitutionally independent of the legislature
The Government of the Philippines in Transition
The pre-Spanish government
Unit of government
o composed of settlement villages called barangay
o from balangay a Malayan word meaning boat
o every barangay was virtually a state
o they form confederations for the purpose of protection against common enemies
each barangay was ruled by a datu
the barangay is monarchy in form, with datu as its monarch
Social Classes in the barangay
- the people of the barangay are divided into four classes namely:
the nobility (maharlika)
the freemen (timawa)
serfs (aliping namamahay)
slaves (aliping sagigilid)
Maragtas Code – written by Datu
Sumakwel about 1250 AD
Kalantiaw Code – written by Datu
Kalantiaw in 1433 AD
Comparison with other ancient governments
laws of barangay are generally fair
the system of government although defective was not so bad
Filipinos even during the early period have shown high intelligence
and moral virtues .
Government during the Spanish period
Spain’s title to the Philippines
discovery of the archipelago Magellan 1521
Conquest of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1565
By virtue of the Treaty of Paris, the Philippines was ceded to the United
Spanish colonial government
the Philippines was ruled indirectly by the King of Spain through Mexico from 1565 to
Mexico obtained its independence from Spain, thus, the Philippines was ruled directly
from Spain until 1898
What is the difference between State and Government?
Here are some of the important differences between the State and government.
1. 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. Willoughby writes. "By the term
government is designated the organization of the State machinery through which is designated
the organization of the State machinery through which its purposes are formulated and
executed'". Government is an agent of the State. That is why in a democracy, it is considered as
servant and the State as master. Government is compared with the brain of the living organism;
what the brain is to the man. The government is to the State.
2. 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. Death of a ruler or the overthrow of a government in general elections does
not mean the change of the State. If the Janata Government replaces the Congress
Government, it involves no fundamental changes in the structure of the State of India.
3. The State is generally composed of all citizens but all of them are not members of the
government. The government consists of only a few selected citizens. The organ of the
government consists of only a few selected citizens. The organs of the government are
executive, legislature and judiciary. The few selected persons will run these three organs of the
government. Thus, the State is a much broader organization than the government. Membership
of the State is compulsory but not that of the government.
4. 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.
5. The State is an abstract concept whereas government is a concrete one. Nobody sees the
State and the State never acts. The government is a physical manifestation and it acts for the
State. It consists of a definite group of persons who can be seen and known. It is a tangible
organization which can be seen and questioned.
6. 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 Various political scientists, have given different classifications of
government. Aristotle had classified government into monarchy, aristocracy and democracy
Marriot has classified government into parliamentary or presidential and unitary or federal. Thus,
there is no uniform pattern of government. But the State is a universal institution having one
single form with its four essential characteristics.
7. Lastly 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. Moreover, the State
consists of a the citizens, the citizens go against the State, it will mean to go against
themselves. This is an impossible proposition. The State is therefore, and indestructible union of
citizens having the chief characteristic of permanence and continuity. Government is only a part
of the State.