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Difference Between Government and State

Government vs State

The world is comprised of states and governments that are distinct and separate from each other in terms of policies, resources, and political makeup. They provide a stage by which their inhabitants can demonstrate their distinction from others.

Without both there would be confusion. They provide people with an organized and stable place to live. While one might think that the state and government are the same entities, they are actually two separate concepts.

A government is an organization or institution that creates and executes laws and policies in a society. It is given the power to administer over a particular area and its inhabitants. This power includes:

Legislative or the power to create laws and policies.
Executive or the power to enforce the law.
Judicial or the power to define the law.

There are several types of government; Anarchist, Communist, Monarchy, Oligarchy, Theocracy, Constitutional Monarchy, Constitutional Republic, Dictatorship, and Democracy. Each of these types has a distinct way of creating, defining, and enforcing the law.

A government is the political administration of a country or state. A state is the geographic entity that has a distinct fiscal system, constitution, and is sovereign and independent from other states as recognized by them. It is where a government can exercise its powers.

A state can be any of these types: Member State, Federated State, Nation State, or Sovereign State. It has to be recognized by other sovereign states in order to be able to join into international agreements with other states.
The basic characteristics of a state are:

It has people no matter how many or how diverse they are from each other.
It has land no matter the size, but it should be enough to accommodate its inhabitants.
It has sovereignty enabling it to independently carry out its policies.
It has a government to manage and allow the state to establish its sovereignty.

A government cannot exist without a state, and a state cannot run without a government. Although the government controls the state, governments change according to the will of the people while the state remains as it is no matter who runs it.

A state is like a ship, and a government is like the crew who runs the ship. Conversely, one might compare them to a business organization wherein the state is the business entity while the government is the management team of the business.


1.A state is a geographic entity that enjoys sovereignty while a government is an organization that creates, defines, and enforces the laws of the state.
2.A government is given legislative, executive, and judicial powers to administer the state while the state must have people, land, sovereignty, and government in order to be recognized.
3.Both have different types, but while a state exists on its own and remains as it is no matter who runs it, governments can be replaced according to the people’s will.
4.A state is the territory while a government is the entity that administers or manages the territory.

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  3. An Anarchist Government is as a gas filled vacuum – a contradiction of terms. Anarchism means without government, without ruler. I would grant that in an anarchistic society each person understands they are the sovereign of themselves and of themselves only. Therefor in an anarchist society the individual is self governing and the conglomerate effect of that comprehension is a series of governments of a type. Is this what is refered to in the inclusion of Anarchism as one of the types of government listed here?

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  7. Keep in mind, this only applies to UK English. In US English, the government and the state mean the same thing.

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  21. Alllah bless u …. Very informative article about State and government..

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