Political thinkers have attempted to explain the origin of the state in various ways. When, where and how the state came into existence have not been recorded anywhere in history. Therefore, the political thinkers were compelled to adopt various hypotheses, many of which are now discredited in the light of modern knowledge. Among the many theories which are concerned with the origin of the state the following are explained in this chapter.
1. The Theory of Divine origin
2. Social Contract Theory.
3. Matriarchal and Patriarchal Theory.
4. Force Theory.
5. Evolutionary Theory.
Mclennan, Morgan and Jenks are the notable exponents of matriarchal theory. The matriarchal system was prior to the patriarchal system and tribe. There was no permanent institution of marriage. A woman had more than one husband and because of the uncertainty of male parentage kinship was reckoned through woman that is from mother to daughters.
In the place of a family consisting of a man his wife and children there was a large and loosely connected group called a horde or pack organised for matrimonial purposes.
The matriarchal family developed as indicated below.
1. First there was a tribe and it was the oldest and primary social group.
2. In course of time a tribe breaks into clans.
3. Clans in their turn give place to households.
4. Atlast comes the modern family.
The matriarchal theory is more sociological than political. It seeks to explain the origin of family and not that of the state.
There is no adequate proof in support of the matriarchal system as the universal and necessary beginning of society.
The Patriarchal theory explains that the state originated from the patriarchal family or the family in which the pater or father was the head.
State is an enlargement of the family. Originally the family consisted of a man, his wife and children. The father was the head of the family and his control and authority was complete in all respects over all its members. When his children married there was expansion in the original family and it led to the establishment of new families. But the authority of the father and head of the original family remained as before, and it was duly acknowledged by all his descendants. This constituted the patriarchal family. The chief exponent of the patriarchal theory is Sir Henry Maine.
The following important points may be noted in Maine's Patriarchal theory.
1. In the Patriarchal family the element of paternity was the chief fact.
2. Descent was traced not only through males and from the same ancestor. None of the descendants of a female was included in the primitive notion of family relationship. Kinship was accordingly, purely negative.
3. Permanent marriage was the rule whether monogamy or polygamy
The Head of the family was the basis of all authority, and his power was unqualified over his children and their houses and other relations of all descendants. howsoever numerous.
5. He controlled not only the business affairs of the group which he headed but its religion and its conduct.
The family was the primal unit of political society, 'the seed led of all larger growths of governments, 'as Woodrow Wilson calls it. The single family had developed into several families; yet all of them were fully conscious of their ultimate kinship. Bound together by ties of common anchestors, they associated in a wider common fellowship group, the gens, owing allegiance to some elected elder - perhaps the oldest living ascendent or the most capable. Similarly, the gens broadened into the tribe. The pastoral pursuits gave way to agriculture and settled life on a definite land became a matter of necessity; land tribes united to form the state.
In support of his statement, Sir Henry Maine cited the patriarchs of the old testament 'families' and 'brotherhood' of Athens, the patriapotestos in Rome and the Hindu Joint family system in India.
Modern theories show that the patriarchal family was not universal, the patriarchal theory was subjected to severe attacks.
Patriarchal and matriarchal theories are in essence sociological rather than political theories.
Stephen Leacock says nonetheless, both the theories sufficiently establish that family is the original link in the evolution of the state.
Both these theories do not satisfactorily explain the origin of the state. Matriarchal and patriarchal could have been prevalent in certain early societies. But it is wrong to assume that the creation of state was occasioned by these systems. There was not substantial proof to support the universal validity of these theories.