Chapter One: Politics, Government, and Political Science.
Politics and Government Defined:
Politics is commonly used in a negative sense.
The negative connotation that often
surrounds “politics” derives from the idea that a decision about something should have been
made objectively, on the basis of merit, quality, achievement, or some other legitimate
The most basic idea contained in these definitions is that politics involves decision
making among people in some large group involving influence and power.
Politics: the process of making collective decisions in a community, society, or group
through the application of influence and power.
Government can be a vast, multifaceted, and complex arrangement or it can be as simple as
one village chieftain or tribal council.
All governments wield authority, with the decisions
being more coercive than decisions made my other forces in society.
Government: the people or organizations that make, enforce, and implement political
decisions for a society.
Rule Making: perhaps the most fundamental function of government.
Making what are
normally called laws or orders or even constitutions.
These rules define what is legal and
illegal, what actions are required, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.
A rule is
simple an authoritative act.
Rule Execution: rules must be enforced and carried out if they are to have impact.
government that proclaims laws and programs will not be very effective if it lacks the ability to
put force behind its decision making.
Rule Adjudication: governments normally apply their laws to specific cases and individuals.
Virtually all governments have some way of performing rule adjudication.
usually with courts and judges, are established to apply and interpret laws that are made in
general terms by that must have an impact at the individual level.
In modern societies,
institutions for rule adjudication are at least partly distinct from the bodies that make the rules.
Governments must be able to communicate with their citizens.
People must be aware of
laws if they are to obey them, and they must know about new programs if they are to
participate in them.
Leaders must have a way of determining what people want, what they will support, and
what they will not tolerate.
Governments need some way to recruit leaders, through a party system or a well-
established routing of succession to the throne.
Governments must have some means of extracting resources such as taxes, military
services, or labor in public works projects from their citizens.
Political Socialization: means through which citizens come to support the basic principles
and values of their government.