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A state can be defined as an independent political community occupying a certain territory and having a centralized government with the power to enact and enforce laws without the consent of a higher authority.

The Montevideo Convention on the right and duties of a state of 1933, defined a state as " having a permanent population, a defined territory, a government and the capacity to enter into relation with another state".

Numerous scholars have attempted to define the concept of state using their interpretations.

Let's talk about a few of them.

In 1982, Harold Laski defines a state as “a territorial society divided into government and subjects claiming within its allotted physical area, a supremacy over all other institutions"

Laski's definition of the state is very clear on the four most important features of a state: people, territory, sovereignty and government.

Another definition of a state was given in 1946 by Max Weber. According to him, "a state is a human community that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory".

According to this definition, a political community cannot be a state unless it has sovereign power.

Another definition of a state that stresses the importance of sovereignty to a state is Oppenheim's definition.

According to him, "The state exists when a people is settled in a country under its sovereign government."

Woodrow Wilson gave a very simple definition of state when he defined it as “a people organized for law within a political community".

According to Wilson's definition, a state's main purpose is to create and uphold the law.

In the view of Northedge, "a state is how people are organized for participation in the international system".

This definition seems to look at the state from an international perspective.

Gamer gave a comprehensive definition of a state. According to him, "The state is a community of persons, more or less numerous, permanently occupying a definite portion of territory, independent (or nearly so) of external control and possessing an organized government to which the great body of inhabitants render habitual obedience."

According to Gamer's definition, a state should have four things: people, territory, sovereignty, and government.

To sum up, a state is simply a political association with a defined geographical area, a known population, an internationally recognized government, and the ability to enact laws within its borders without interference from external forces.

A state generally possesses the following four important characteristics: people, territory, sovereignty, and government.

You should also note these 5 things about a state:

1. A state is a political community. However, not all political communities are called states.

2. State should have an internationally recognized government. 

Government is the institution and system that a state uses to maintain social order as well as to enact, implement, and abjudicate its laws and policies.

Generally, there are three branches of government namely; executive, legislative and judiciary.

3. A state must have a population that can be counted in addition to a functioning government.

Population ensures that there are citizens over whom the government can exert control and regulate their activity.

4. A state may or may not be a member of an international body. The United Nations Organization is made up of nations like China, Brazil, France, Japan, and the United States.

The Vatican City State and Palestine are not members of the UN.

5. A state should possess a defined territory so that it can know where its area of jurisdiction ends.

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