Sample Essay on Power, Authority and the State


Power refers to the quality possessed by an individual, of being able to perform or an institution to influence people to perform willingly or unwillingly. Power is categorized into different forms ranging from the strongest to the weakest. Coercion is the strongest form of power, which involves the use of physical force. The most intense events of coercion can be observed in dictatorial regimes. Here executions, extreme distress of body or mind and detention are used in compelling people conform to the laws of the state. Political power is the second form, which is commonly used by members involved in politics. It includes ability to plead with the involved party using rewards and pledges to influence them.


Authority is connected directly to the right of exercising power, which is different from exercise power itself. Individuals to whom they will be exercising it on grant those people in authority power. Power when used in absence of authority becomes merely force.  Authority is categorized into three forms; traditional authority being the earliest form and it is whereby people have allowed their rulers for example the hereditary monarchs to apply and use powers for a long period of time which implies their approval to such ruling. The second form of authority is charismatic; here the authority is granted approval by the virtue of individuals’ willingness to be presided over by a specific leader. Last form is the legal-rational authority, which is applied, in the modern society where democracy is upheld by the way of conducting elections to elect a leader.

 The State

State is described as an obligatory political organization that entails centralized government-mandated in ensuring there is a control of the rightful use of power within a definite territory. States can be categorized as sovereign either if they do not depend on any other or are not subject to a different power outside their jurisdictions. Another category is the federated state; this is different from sovereign for the reason that they transferred part of their independent powers to a central government.