It is now universally accepted that the organization of the state I began in the primitive family. The state is an enlargement of the family, The view appears to be highly plausible because according to MacIver the I family contains all the curbs and controls which continue the essence of I State.

” Family has got all the essential characteristics of the State; its I members constitute population; its house represents the territory; the  head of the family symbolizes government; its freedom from interference and sanctity of the household shows its sovereign character.

Many I political thinkers arc of the view that family lies at the foundation of a I modem state. It is the matrix of the state. It is in the family that the firs! lessons in discipline, adjustment and accommodation, rights and duties,obligations and responsibilities, spirit of fellow feeling, love and sympathy are learnt.

Without this basic training good citizenry cannot be developed which is an essential requisite for the life under State. There is however a great controversy as to who was the head of the family, the father or the mother and from where the decent was traced in the primitive society Some believe that a patriarchal family was the earliest social unit while others contend that a matriarchal family was the primary social organization.


The Patriarchal Theory:

Sir Henry Maine is the chief advocate of the patriarchal theory. He defines it as theory of the origin of society in separate families, held together by the authority and protection of the eldest male descendant. The patriarchal theory traces the origin of the state in a patriarchal family.

A patriarchal family is one in which descent is traced through males. Father or patriarch occupies a dominant position in the family. All the members of the family pay due homage to him. His authority is recognized by all of them. A patriarchal family, according to this theory, is the most ancient social organization.

The primitive men were organized in patriarchal families. Such a family began to expand by the process of marriages and re-marriage. It developed into ‘Gen’ or a household. A Gen expanded into a ‘Clan’. A clan expanded in to a ‘Tribe’. All the members of the tribes were united by a sort of blood relationship.


The tribes united by ties of blood acted together for common purposes particularly in defending themselves against the aggression of other tribes. This also necessitated the recognition of some common authority which could maintain discipline among the tribes.

The influential member of the tribe came to be known as the tribal chief. A combination of the various tribes resulted in a commonwealth and a commonwealth was a full fledged state. Maine traces the origin of the state in the following words:

“The elementary group is the family connected by the common subjection to the highest male ascendant. The aggregation of families forms the Gens or the houses. The aggregation of houses makes the tribe. The aggregation of the tribes constitute the commonwealth.

According to Edward Jenks the patriarchal society which according to this theory was the foundation of modern slate was characterized by three features, viz., male kinship, permanent marriages and paternal authority. In other words the descent was traced through the father and not the mother.


Permanent marriage implied that one man was permanently married to one or more women as patriarchal society allowed both monogamy and polygamy. The eldest male member of the family had undisputed control of life and death over all the members of the family

The theory also found its support, first of all, at the hands of Aristotle He held that “just as men and women unite to form families, so many families unite to form villages and the union of many villages forms the state which is a self-supporting unit”.

The theory is further supported by historical evidence and scriptural account. The ancient Jews were a nation of twelve tribes which trace their origin to the first father Jacob. In Rome there were three tribes with I common origin and there was the “Patria Potestas” which recognized the unlimited authority of father over the members of the family.