The State and Revolution was written by Vladimir Lenin, a Russian communist revolutionary. At the time of the pamphlet's completion in September 1917, the future of the Russian Revolution was uncertain after the February Revolution. During this time period, Russia was being run by a provisional government involving socialists in alliance with bourgeois forces. Vladimir Lenin became the leader of the Russian Republic until 1918, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and eventually the leader of the Soviet Union until 1924. Under his leadership, the Soviet Union became a socialist state, ruled by the Russian Communist Party.
Lenin published the pamphlet The State and Revolution in order to display his own political theories, developed from Marxism, known as Leninism. In the pamphlet, Vladimir Lenin discusses the critical need for a revolution in Russia, but also for insurrection to spread throughout the world. Lenin argued, "The state is an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another". He believed that the existing state cannot be reconstructed, but rather it "must be broken [and] smashed", causing a revolution. Lenin intended to compose a second part of the pamphlet to further discuss his political theories. However, his participation in the revolution in Russia prevented him from doing so.
Lucio Colletti, an Italian Western Marxist philosopher and philosophy professor at many Italian universities, once stated that The State and Revolution was "Lenin's greatest contribution to political theory".
In Unfinished Leninism: The Rise and Return of a Revolutionary Doctrine, Paul Le Blanc, a history professor at La Roche College, analyzes The State and Revolution and Leninism “If not enough thoughtful, humane people are prepared to forge a revolutionary socialist path to the future, then political freedom, genuine democracy, a decent life for all people, not to mention the survival of human culture and planet Earth, might not be part of the future".
Shaun Harkin, a writer and political activist, wrote that "In The State and Revolution, Lenin synthesizes many aspects of Marxist theory with a brilliant grasp of the dialectical method to make a powerful case for revolutionary socialism".