ballbPolitical Science

Theories of Origin of State (Part 1): Divine Theory and Force Theory

Theories of Origin of State (Part 1): Divine Theory and Force Theory

As a community of persons, permanently occupying a definite territory, legally independent of external control, and possessing an organized government that creates & administrates law over all persons and groups within its jurisdiction is a ‘State”.

State and its origin

  • Unlike natural Science, we cannot be certain and exact in estimating the date of origin of the state.
  • It, therefore, compels us to know the various propositions regarding the origin and hence so many theories telling their own ways

Theories of the Origin of State

  1. Divine origin theory;
  2. Force Theory;
  3. Social Contract Theory;
  4. Patriarchal Theory & Matriarchal Theory;
  5. Historical/Evolutionary theory; and
  6. Marxist Theory


  • The State was created by God and governed by His deputy or vicegerent ( The King) .
  • He (God) sent His deputy to rule over them.
  • The ruler was a divinely appointed agent and he was responsible for his actions to God alone.
  • As the ruler was the deputy of God, obedience to him was held to be a religious duty and resistance a sin.

Divine right theory…

  • Nobody could limit his will and restrict his power.
  • His word was law and his actions were always just and benevolent.
  • To complain against the authority of the ruler and to characterize his actions as unjust was a sin for which there was divine punishment.


  • The divine rights of kings /Monarchy is divinely ordained and the King draws his authority from God.
  • Monarchy is hereditary and it is the divine right of a King that it should pass from father to son.
  • The King is answerable to God alone and resistance to the lawful authority of a King is a sin.

2. Force Theory

  • It emphasizes the origin of the State in the subordination of the weak to the strong.
  • A person physically stronger can capture and enslaved the weak. Having increased the number of his followers, over whom he exercised undisputed authority, he became a tribal chief.

Implications Of The Theory Of Force:

  1. Force is not only a historical factor but is a present essential feature of the State
  2. The States were born of force only
  3. Power is their justification and raison d’être
  4. The maintenance and extension of power within and without is the sole aim of the State.

Note: –

  • Individualists & anarchists believe that the State is evil because of their desire for individual freedom.
  • Socialists believe that the state resulted from the aggression and exploitation of labourers by capitalists and attacks, not the idea of the state itself.


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  • Stephen Butler Leacock- “The theory errs in magnifying what has been only one factor in the evolution of society into the sole controlling force.” A state may be created by force temporarily. But to perpetuate it
    something more is essential.
  • the theory of force runs counter to the universally accepted maxim of Thomas Hill Green- “Will, not force, is the basis of the state.” No state can be permanent by bayonets and daggers. It must have the general voluntary acceptance by the people.
  • the theory of force is inconsistent with individual liberty. The moment one accepts that the basis of a state is force, how can one expect liberty there? The theory of force may be temporarily the order of the day in despotism as against democracy.
  • the doctrine of survival of the fittest which is relied upon by the champions of the force theory has erroneously applied a system that is applicable to the animal world to human world. If force was the determining factor, how could Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence triumph over the brute force of the British Imperialists?
  • We may conclude with the words of R. N. Gilchrist- “The state, government and indeed all institutions are the result of man’s consciousness, the creation of which have arisen from his appreciation of a moral end.”

Next Notes:
Social Contract Theory : Theories of Origin of State (Part 2)

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