The differences between a state and a government is usually difficult to point out if not clearly explained. Most times the two are used interchangeably to refer to the leaders of a nation or the nation as a whole. Nonetheless, it is worthwhile to know that a state is actually different from a government. Now the question is, what are the differences between a state and government? Well, that is exactly what we will be discussing in this article.
In trying to differentiate between the two we will also be looking at the definition of a state and a government. Doing this will help you to understand this article when we eventually start discussing their areas of differences.
Definition of a government
A government can either be defined as an academic field of study or as an institution of the state. Government as an institution of state is the machinery through which the will of the state is formulated, expressed and attained. This is the body that regulate the daily activities of the state and the people in it. The government as an institution of the state is very important because it has a lot of duties which include:
1. Law making: Laws which guide the behavior of the citizens are made by the legislative arms of the government.
2. It is the exclusive right of the government to discover and exploit natural resources of the country. Revenue derived from such resources are used to provide for the welfare of citizens.
3. Defence of the country: It is the duty of the government to defend the territory integrity of the country.
4. The government holds a duty to provide social infrastructure for the citizens.
5. The government maintains external relations with other countries by opening embassies and High commissions which encourages friendship among nations of the world.
On the other hand, Government as an academic field of study involves the study of political institutions, ideas, values, various areas of specialization, dynamics of government agencies, their importance and relationship among the institutions. Government is a social science subject taught in schools and colleges as well as higher institutions where it is called political science.
It should be stated that the study of government embraces international regulations, public administration, local government administration etc. The study of government is important because it helps to know the types and different systems of government operating globally. It also widens the knowledge of the people about administration and other institutions involved in government.
Definition of a state
A state is a politically organized body of people occupying a definite geographical territory with an organized government entirely free from external control. Examples of state are: Nigeria, Britain, USA etc. Below are the characteristics of a state:
1. Territory: A state must possess a territory that will separate it from other state. The territory of a state must be clearly defined and must not be limited to the land surface of the earth alone. It includes other things like, mountains, air space, sea, forest, natural resources etc.
2. Government: This is an important characteristics of a state because, government carries out the day-to-day activities of the sate and it is the machinery that makes the sate to function.
3. Sovereignty: This is the Supreme power of a state to determine its affairs without external control.
4. Population: There must be a given number of population living in a particular entity called state. It should be noted that there is no limit to population of a state.
Differences between a state and a government
1. A state is a territorial association of people with defined boundaries whereas Government is an administrative institution with a state.
2. A state is more inclusive and therefore greater than government. That is, it embraces all the people and associations with a given area whereas government is not as inclusive as a state. It is only a part of a state.
3. A state is a continuing entity. It is therefore permanent where Government is a temporal institution. It only last over a period of time.
4. A state depends on government for carrying out its activities whereas the Government is the machinery by which the functions of a state are performed. It is the means by which a state maintains its existence.
5. A state has it elements as population, territory, government and sovereignty whereas Government has its main organ as the legislature, executive and Judiciary.