State

Article

November 28, 2021

A state, in law, is an institution of a political, social and cultural nature: it specifically exercises its sovereignty and is made up of a territory and a people who occupy it, by a legal system made up of institutions and legal norms.

History

The modern state began to assert itself in Europe between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, above all thanks to some events such as the Hundred Years War, although we can already find a first example in Asia with the birth of the first Chinese empires. In particular, the modern state asserted itself in Europe between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its formation takes place through a progressive centralization of the power and territoriality of the political obligation. In fact, the fragmentations of the feudal system disappear in favor of a central or homogeneous power in a given territory, and the Church also subordinates itself to the State. The term state, which previously only meant status (as the status of a citizen), began to have the modern meaning from the fifteenth century, and then established itself through the use made of it by Niccolò Machiavelli in the incipit of his famous work Il principe (1513), where he uses it as a term analogous to dominion. The concept of sovereignty was instead introduced by Jean Bodin (1586), who defined the characteristics of the absolute state. With John Locke, in his Second treatise on government (1690), a conception of the state is elaborated not as an absolute, but as a functional entity and legitimized solely by the defense of individual freedoms inherent in the person. With the same work, Locke also made a fundamental contribution to constitutionalism, giving a formulation of the modern concept of popular sovereignty. use of force through the constitution of regular armed forces fueled by forced military service, and equipped with a bureaucratic, police apparatus. It was born thanks to military conflicts because it arises from needs of a military nature. This requirement entails the exponential growth of the tax burden and of the state administration, the accumulation of debts and, often, state intervention in the economy (dirigisme). After the French Revolution, instead, we witnessed the emergence of the democratic state, which rests its original foundations on the rule of law, since the need for legitimacy of the central power requires the development of a consensus that is possible only by transforming subjects into citizens. Consequently, the models of the welfare state or welfare state were established, a model that is characterized by the concept of citizens' well-being from which it derives consent and legitimacy through economic and political assistance instruments aimed at achieving formal equality, if not substantial. The state is represented by a historical process of centralization of power starting from the territorial dispersion of the different independent power centers that represented the dominions of medieval Europe. This process goes hand in hand with that of the emergence of the bourgeoisie and its needs for commercial and property security and protection. One of the fundamental dynamics that led to the formation of modern states is certainly that of the "civil wars of religion" produced by the loss of universality of the medieval Christian republic, brought about by the Protestant reform. The result of these processes was the technical and worldly vision of the sovereign's power, which uses a professional administrative apparatus for the concrete exercise of power according to increasingly precise procedures. This form of power represents the guarantee of greater stability of political power, increasingly independent of religion (process of secularization). Typically it has a juridical system

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