State Development

A state is a hierarchical organizational form of human society, whose legally defining features are a delimited population living in a given territory and ruled by a government. A unique characteristic is the legitimate monopoly over the use of physical and symbolic violence the state claims. States with merit-based, impersonal bureaucracies and uniform administrations emerged as ordering structures since around 200 BCE in East Asia and in the 16th century in Europe. Modern territorial states have come to replace other kinds of political structures like feudal systems and empires since the Westphalian Peace Treaty in 1648 that enshrined state sovereignty as the basis for international relations. This entry gives an overview of the evolution of states that was first driven by security concerns and ...

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