STATE

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STATE (respublica, civitas, societas civilis); a body politic; an association of men for political ends, the object of which is well expressed in the term commonloealth (i. e. common good). Experience, as well as reason, shows that the isolated individual can attain but very imperfectly the ends of his being, and instinct early led men to form unions, for promoting the good of each by the power of all. Such a union is a state, and may be called the natural condition of man, because essential to the full developement of his faculties. Separated from society, he remains a brute. So true is the ancient definition of man as being a political animal, though it may have been taken, when first used, in too narrow a sense. (See the beginning of the article Slaveiy.) The right of men to form states being thus obvious from their mature, the next questions which arise are. What is the historical origin of states!and what is the best state, or best government? History shows, that states have been formed in a great variety oi ways, by the violence of one or many, by artifice, by contract, &e. (See the articles Political Institutions, Sovereignty Estate, Legitimacy; also Communities^ Cities, Corporations, Land, property in.) As to the other question, that state is the best, which is best adapted to promote the general good ; so that the organization of such a state may, and must, differ according to circumstances. This fact is overlooked by those who treat the organization of a state merely as a matter of abstract speculation, and, on the other hand, is often used as a pretext for retaining abuses diametrically opposed to the true objects of political society. It should never be forgotten, that the form of government, important as it is, is merely a means of obtaining the great objects of the state; and the first objects to be provided for are security and good order, to which all forms must be made to yield. These terms include much more than the mere protection of individuals against violence on the part of each othera sense to which none but despotic governments would limit the words.