Politics is one of the few constants in our ever-changing society. It has been present in some way or form since the beginning of humankind. In general terms, politics can be referred to as a set of institutions and traditions necessary for decision-making in a group or society. Politics has evolved hugely since its inception. However, decision making and power-sharing have always been at the center of it.
Evolution of politics through the ages
Politics begins in a region whose boundaries have been well defined. Thus, it is difficult to define the scope of politics in ancient times. Interest sharing is the main reason why people come together to form a party to enter politics. State formation is thus a necessary pre-requirement for politics. Even though the connotations of politics are mostly negative in the present society initially, politics began as a way of power and resource sharing.
The study of politics is known as political science. Greek states and the roman republic were the first empires to author political philosophies and books. The beginning of modern politics, which involved non-interference of external powers in domestic affairs, can be traced back to the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. State heads were primary sources of interaction for people of different states. There were many empires in Europe at the beginning of the 18th century, like the Ottoman empire, the Spanish empire, the Russian Empire, the British empire, etc. Diplomatic relations determined the trade and interaction between the empires.
Any empire’s politics was related to the ethnicity and the linguistics of that empire. Each empire was headed by a ruler who generally spoke the language of the public. Most empires also had sub institutions under the ruler, who looked after different areas. As the geography of the globe has evolved, so has its political history. Education and literacy were the foundation of modern politics, which were earlier dominated by religious scholars.
The political campaign by nationalists was responsible for the formation of several nations such as Germany and Italy. The territories were divided into much smaller states, which improved the administration of that state. Also, as citizens’ requirements varied according to their living conditions, it became difficult to rule the whole state with a similar set of policies.
Growth of politics in complexity and size
Governmental organizations, sub governmental organizations, and social movements are a part of politics with its evolution. The nation-state has decreased in importance due to the rise in other factors in a particular state’s policy formation. The formation of institutions such as the League of Nations and the United Nations (UN) has impacted most countries’ regional politics. Regional alliances such as the European Union (EU), African Union, and ASEAN have shown that regional integration has increased dramatically.
Many political institutions such as the International monetary fund (IMF) and the International Court of justice have been formed, which takes care of every state’s people. The modern political system has seen the breaking of states and the devolution of power among states. As civil society has become more dramatized, so has the peoples’ desire not to be ruled by a set of people. Rather, people have started to believe in self-governance and administration, which focuses more on peoples’ welfare.
Globalization of politics has posed the role of the nation-state in citizen’s lives. Concepts such as global citizenship and transnational citizenship have come into existence. These concepts have made the role of political boundaries much smaller than it used to be.
Political science as the study of politics
International relations come at the core of political science. The role of constitutions of each country and its impact on modern politics is studied in political science. Comparison of legislations of different countries and the impact of important constitutions in history such as American and Irish constitutions must be noted. As the history of each state varies, so does the set of rules that govern them. However, most countries have taken the core of their constitution from the two mentioned pieces of work.
Politics can refer to the distribution of power. This distribution of power is very necessary for the good governance of any nation-state. The economy and geography of a nation play a huge part in defining the state’s rules and regulations. There are many theories, such as rational choice theory, structuralism, behaviorism, theory realism, and institutionalism, forming the pillars of modern politics.
Research and study of the various political system constitute the study of political science. There are many forms of political systems such as dictatorship, oligarchy, democracy, autocracy, etc. Each political system has its own set of principles and policies suitable to the people of that state. Analysis of case studies is also a good source for the collection of information on politics.
Impact of politics in modern society
The nation-state’s legal, political, economic, social, and cultural aspects are decided based on the type of political system. Power-sharing is the basis of most political systems. If the power is in peoples’ hands, it is known as democracy. Many countries follow this system, including India. Autocracy is the system where the source of power is invested in a selected few autocrats who represent the people.
Monarchy is a political system that still follows the legislations laid by monarchs such as England and Spain. Republic is a system where the nation is free to decide its policies without any political ideology interference. Sovereignty is at the core of these countries.
Activism has played a huge part in the democratization of politics. The political corruption rooted in power has also been exposed by activism. Even though there is a long way for corruption to be completely diminished in modern political activism has reduced it to great lengths. The head of that state determines the politics of each country. This makes the role of these heads very crucial. A good leader like Nelson Mandela can influence the political system of a country positively. Similarly, a leader who has low morals can bring down the social structure of the country.
Olivia Is Free Independent Journalist, Has B.A in International Relations, With Many Of Her Research And Papers Published On America’s Most Influence Newspapers.