Evaluation of Theories on Origin of the State – Essay

Speculation is, then, the only alternative and we examine a number of theories that have been advanced from time to time, varying with the credulity of the age.

The Historical or Evolutionary Theory is now accepted as the correct theory of the origin of the State. The Patriarchal and Matriarchal Theories, which seek to explain that family is the nucleus of the State and either father or mother had really been the head of the family in ancient times, are not separate theories of the origin of the State.

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They form part of the accepted Historical or Evolutionary Theory, although we have treated them separately for clarity and proper understanding.

The theories of Divine Origin, Force and Social Contract are speculative and stand rejected. But it does not mean that they have no practical utility. Each one of these theories contains some element of truth and aids us in penetrating the realm of the past and helps to find out how and why the State came into existence.

To examine and reject a speculative theory is a means of arriving at the truth. It is only by groping in the dark that we hope to reach the light. Leacock has rightly said that the “rejection of what is false in the speculative theories of the past will aid in establishing more valid conclusions on the residual basis of what is true.” What exists is never new. It is a monument of human effort, the result of prolonged activity.

We cannot understand any contemporary institution without some knowledge of its genetic background. Speculative theories exhibit the spirit of the time in which they flourished and are, consequently, the index of the people, their thoughts, and their environments and describe the forces that moulded and shaped the practices of the State. Finally, speculative theories led to the development of political thought.

Men of merit thought and considered, discussed and criticised the various theories enunciated from time to time and it paved the way for further developments in political thinking. The Social Contract theory replaced the theory of Divine Origin and the former was replaced by the Historical or Evolutionary theory.


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