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A state is a political organization of the society which has the following characteristics: population, territory, sovereignty, and government.

The Montevideo Convention of 1933, which is the most cited source for the concept of statehood, defined a state as " having a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the ability to enter into relation with other state".

Government, on the other hand, is the machinery through which the will of the State is done.

In other words, government is the machinery and processes through which the state maintains social order, make, enforce and adjudicate the law.

Differences Between State And Government

1. A state has four characteristics: population, territory, government, and sovereignty. Government is just one element of the state.

2. Government is relatively temporary as it changes frequently whereas the state is relatively permanent as it continues to exist for as long it has its sovereignty.

Simply stated, the period of existence of a government is temporary whereas the period of existence of a state is permanent.

For example, the Obama administration has come and gone. However, the United States of America is still standing.

3. All States share four characteristics: territory, government, population, and sovereignty. The government, on the other hand, possesses executive, legislative, and judiciary powers.

4. The state is an abstract concept in the sense that its existence is intangible whereas government is a concrete concept with a physical manifestation.

5. Every citizen is a member of a state but only a small number of citizens are members of the government.

6. Citizens have the right to protest against the government. 

However, Citizen cannot protest against the state because it is an abstract concept.

7. State has sovereignty. Government derives its power from the sovereignty of the state.

8. Membership of a state is either voluntary or involuntary whereas membership of a government is voluntary.

Example of voluntary membership of a state is when an individual is honoured with the citizenship of a state.

Involuntary membership of a state is citizenship by birth.

Government is voluntary as you can chose to run or not run for electoral office. 

Even if you inherit the leadership of a government by way of monarchy, you can chose to abdicate the throne.

Hence, government is voluntary whereas state is voluntary or involuntary.

9. The form of government in place determines the structure of the state to a large extent.

Democracy, for example, is popular due to its separation of powers, periodic elections, and rule of law. 

The political structure of the United States of America is organized in the same way.

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