What is the difference between a state and a country?
Speaking about the political structure of society, we often use the words "state" and "country", considering them to be identical concepts. Are we doing right? We can answer this question only after we understand what a state is and what distinctive features it possesses.
Meaning and etymology of the term
The debate about what a state is, has been conducted by scientists for quite some time, but there is still no single definition of this term. Most scholars call a state a political entity that has sovereignty, establishes a certain legal order on its territory and has mechanisms of governance, protection, and coercion. It sounds incomprehensible, so let's look at a specific example - the Russian Federation.
The Russian Federation is an independent state recognized by all countries of the world and having diplomatic relations with them. In other words, there is a sovereign status.Citizens of the Russian Federation are subject to the legal norms prescribed by the Constitution and state legislative acts. It means that in Russia there is a legal order established by the state. The Russian Federation has an army for protection, a system of state bodies for administration, and a police force that performs compulsory functions.
The word "state" has Russian roots and is derived from the word "sovereign", which in Ancient Rus was called the prince who ruled the country. "Sovereign" was derived from the word "ruler", and it, in turn, is a modified concept of "Lord." The origin of the latter is unknown to science, as for the meaning, everyone knows - this is a synonym for the word "god."
Signs of the state
What is a state, we clarified. Let's see if it has the same meaning with the term “country”. If we summarize all the definitions given by scientists, we can conclude: a country is called a certain territory that has political boundaries. It differs from the state by the absence of sovereignty. For example, the British Virgin Islands, ruled by the United Kingdom, as a country, is not a state.
Among the main features of the state, besides the presence of sovereignty, are the following:
- public authority.The name “public” means that this authority acts on behalf of the people. In essence, it is a control mechanism (represented by officials) and coercion (police, army);
- legal regulation of society through the issuance of legislation. No state can exist without laws, otherwise chaos will reign;
- economic activity, expressed in the presence of the national currency, the existence of taxes and fees, the state budget, as well as the conduct of trade;
- official language. This feature is one of the main in identifying people as a nation and a country as a state. There can be several state languages, for example, there are four of them in Switzerland, but their status should be consolidated constitutionally;
- State symbols. The coat of arms, flag, anthem are not the main criteria for determining the state, but help to identify it. Seeing the yellow-blue cloth with a trident, you understand that this is a state attribute of Ukraine, and the tricolor with a double-headed eagle is strongly associated with Russia.
Why do you need a state? Its main function is to create comfortable conditions for its citizens. This is possible when social and economic problems are solved in society and the integrity of the country is preserved.This is what the state does.
Forms of government and government
We all know that the system of government in Great Britain, which is ruled by Queen Elizabeth II, is different from the United States of America, where the senate is considered the highest authority, and Germany, with its centralized administration, is completely different from the federal government that exists in Russia.
There are two forms of government:
- monarchy. It is called autocracy, since under such a form of government power belongs to one person (the king, emperor, tsar, prince) and is inherited. In addition to Great Britain, monarchies were preserved in Denmark, Spain, Monaco, Sweden, the Netherlands.
Monarchies are divided into 2 types: absolute and constitutional. The first are characterized by the presence of unlimited power of the head of state, and the second are a softer form of government, when the monarch does not have full power, but is forced to share it with parliament.
- Republic - a state in which power is chosen by the people. Examples include the United States, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.
Republics are also divided into 2 types: presidential and parliamentary.In the first case, the president has more power, in the second - the parliament. The Russian Federation is a presidential republic, and Israel is a parliamentary.
Today, two forms of government are known: the unitary state and the federation. In the case of a unitary state, administrative-legal units (regions, districts, districts, provinces, etc.) into which the country’s territory is divided are deprived of the status of state entities. An example is Germany, France, and Japan. The federation is the opposite. The most prominent examples are the Russian Federation and the United States.
It is important for modern man not only to know what a state is, but also to recognize itself as its full member. Study the legislation of your country, and then if the state cannot protect you properly, you can do it yourself.