The Evolutionary Or Sociological Theory

We have considered five theories of! the origin of the State, but none of them is satisfactory. The reason is, as Dr. Gamer puts it, that the State is “neither the handiwork of God, nor the result of superior physical force, nor the reaction of a contract, nor a mere expansion of the family. The controversy has raged round the origin of the State merely because it lies shrouded in the dim piast of the unrecorded history of mankind.

Origins are always obscure, said Maclver, and the origin of the State is no exception to this general rule. Speculation or philosophical imagination would not help us much in discovering the beginnings of the State in the remote past rnstead of that, we have to seek the help of History, Anthropology, Archaeology and other social sciences to understand how the State originated and developed into its present form. In this respect, History is our guide, and Sociology is our ground to formulate a correct theory of the origin of the State. They give us the Historical or Evolutionary or Sociological Theory which is now accepted as true or correct theory of the origin of the State.

Explanation of Sociological Theory

It explains both the forces and factors which created and developed the State and the historical stages through which it evolved. Briefly, the social forces and influences in the evolution of the State are:


Magic and religion.

Property and the rise of economic classes.

War and force.

Political consciousness.

It must not, however, be supposed that the social forces and influences worked separately and in isolation to each other in building die State. On the contrary, they operated jointly in various combinations to give rise to the State, although the role of each of them differed from country to country and from age to age. We shall deal with each of them separately.


The basic features of the State are its organization and authority which it is based on the relation of command and obedience or discipline. The earliest social bond which could unite and organize primitive men into relations of command and obedience, was kinship. It is a natural relation based on blood and birth. The earliest relation is between the mother and child. The matriarchal social groups were organised on this relation. But when the matriarchal society was superseded by the patriarchal society biood relation was traced through the father. The tribes consisted of the families related by blood and descent from a common male ancestor, real or supposed. Within the family, the children obeyed their father, while the members of the tribe obeyed the elders of their tribe, related as they were by kinship or blood relationship.

The bond of blood or kinship was the first element of social unity, the first sanction of authority, and the first basis of discipline. The council of elders led by a chief was the first political authority in the primitive society. The patriarchal tribe was a rudimentary State. Membership of this tribal State was determined by birth and biood relationship. Anyone who was not bom within the tribe could not become its member. So the patriarchal family and tribe, based on the bond of blood, furnished the first form of the society, although they were not the first forms of State.

Property and the rise of Economic Classes:

One of the most powerful factors in the evolution of the State was the property or the need to regulate economic relations. It transformed the patriarchal tribal groups into tribal States. This change occurred when the nomadic tribes, dependent mainly on pastures, took to agriculture and a settled life on a definite piece of territory. It created the need for authority which was able to define and enforce the rights of the families and individuals to the shares in the lands of the settled community, and to defend its wealth, consisting mainly of land and domestic animals.

In other words, a common authority was required to define property relation and property rights, and to decide disputes over property and over or inheritance, as theft, and to settle such matter as the exchange of goods, either by barter or money sale etc. Adam Smith, the father of classical economics, writes, “Where there is no property, or at least no more than exceeds the value of two or three days labour, civil government is not so necessary”. The growth of property created economic classes, based on inequality of wealth.

Economically dominant classes became also politically dominant and vice versa. In short, the rise of the State was determined by the growth of property relations and classes. This fact is particularly emphasised by Marxism.

War and Force:

War and force played a very important part in the evolution of the State. In the beginning might was right. The use of force is always for some purpose. In the patriarchal tribal society the purpose was the capture of the animals, wealth and land of the neighbouring tribes. Thus wars began among the ancient tribes for economic purpose. War and wealth went hand in hand in the early society. In its turn, war had a powerful organising influence on it, and transformed the tribe into a political body. Constant warfare led to the rise of permanent leadership. When a tribe was threatened by war, it had to choose a leader who would lead it against its enemies. The leader became the tribal chief, either by choice or by necessity.

As the war among the tribes continued, and a victorious tribe subjugated others, the tribal chief became the ruler or king over the territories of the vanquished tribes. Thus the tribal State was changed into a territorial kingdom or State as we know it now. The phrase “war begat the king” says Gettle is, at least a half truth since military activity was a powerful force, both in creating the need for authority and law and in replacing earlier family organisation by systems more purely political. “Successful war leaders became kings and emperors. Thus military and economic factors transformed the primitive patriarchal tribes into the ancient territorial kingdoms.

Political Consciousness:

The fifth essential factor in the growth and development of the State is the slow rise of political consciousness. Political consciousness means the thought or knowledge of certain ends and purposes to be attained through political organisation. They were, in the early States, such as the need for defence and attack, the protection of life and property, the regulation of the social relations of marriage and family and the need to maintain law and order.

In the beginning, political consciousness was really political unconsciousness. It was subjective and dimly realised. Indeed the mistake of the social contract writers lay exactly in this that they presumed the sudden rise of political consciousness among the non-political men of the “State of nature”. Political consciousness is a slow growth. The process of political awakening began in early times and has continued down to the present times, though it is now far deeper, wider and more rational than before.

Prof Gilchrist has aptly described it thus: “Some laws were better, some worse, the wiser among the earlier peoples began to ask why. This “why” is the keynote of all progress”. Progress began when men began to question the purpose of their institutions and social order. In this manner political consciousness developed the modem State. With the rise of modem democratic States, political consciousness began to play still more important and continuous role in the political life and organisation of the State.


This was how the State emerged. It was a product of a slow historical growth in which several factors played their role with different intensity at different times and places.