Chapter 2 Notes - Political Science Notes Chapter 2 Chapter...

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Political Science Notes – Chapter 2 Chapter 2 – Theories: Classic and Modern Classical Theories o Aristotle was both descriptive and normative: He used the facts he and his students had collected to prescribe the most desirable political institutions. o Most European medieval and Renaissance political thinkers took a religious approach to the study of government and politics. o Niccolo Machiavelli in the early sixteenth century introduced what some believe is the crux of modern political science: the focus on power. o Machiavelli was a realist who argued that to accomplish anything good – such as the unification of Italy and the expulsion of the foreigners who ruined it – the Prince had to be rational and tough in the exercise of power. o Americans became acquainted with the power approach through the writings of the refugee German scholar of international relations, Hans J. Morgenthau, who emphasized that “all politics is a struggle for power.” o The Contractualists Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau were the “Contractualists.” The differed in many points but agreed that humans, at least in principle, had joined in what Rousseau called a social contract that everyone now had to observe. Hobbes imagined that life in “the state of nature,” before civil society was founded, must have been terrible. Hobbes believed that society arises naturally out of fear. People would also gladly submit to a king, even a bad one, for a monarch prevents anarchy. John Locke, theorized that the original state of nature was not so bad; people lived in equality and tolerance with one another. Because they could not secure their property, people contractually formed civil society and thus secured “life, liberty, and property.” Life in the state of nature, Rousseau theorized, was downright good; people lived as “noble savages” without artifice or jealousy.
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