The term state is originally derived from the Greek word ‘polis’ which means a city. The term was an appropriate one for the Greeks because their states were city-states having a small size of population and territory. The Romans gave us the concept of a modem stale in which people had rights as well as duties.
The term they used was CVITAS; meaning community of men who enjoyed rights and performed duties. In medieval age, the term ‘state’ was, introduced in the literature of Political Science first by Machiavelli in his book, ‘The Prince’. Later it was adopted by the English, the French and others.
The institution of state has existed through all the ages since the emergence of conscious human life on earth. Man is a ‘gregarious animal’ and by nature and necessity, he must live a group life.
The most primitive men also lived in some sort of social organization having some customs and rules of social conduct. It gradually developed into a complex organization.
As society advanced, institutions grow and became more and more complex. It also paved way for theory of separation of power and defined these organs of Government viz., legislature, executive and judiciary.
The state has been viewed differently by Philosophers in different ages. Plato compared state to a great man in virtues. Aristotle regarded it as an association meant for the promotion of good life.
Cicero viewed state as the highest product of virtue and excellence, Machiavelli looked at the state as the ‘noblest product of human nature’. Hegel regarded it as the highest and noblest realization of Idea of ‘Right’.
Karl Marx viewed state as an organization of one class dominating another. Thus some take it as a power-system, others as a welfare-system, and still others view it as a legal construction or juridical personality.