Governments have existed since the dawn of society. States are formed by groups of people who have voluntarily come together to live under a common set of laws, rights, and obligations. These groups are called societies. The study of government is called Father Of Political Science because it mainly focuses on the governmental system and its relationships with society.
No one person is credited with inventing this field, but many philosophers and thinkers contributed to our understanding of what it means to be a citizen in a society. Some notable contributors include Plato (427-347 BCE), Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), Karl Marx (1818-1883), Max Weber (1864-1920) and Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013).
Father of political science?
Contrary to what it may seem, economists were not the first people to discuss how society should be organized and regulated. Philosophers and statesmen, including Plato, were also involved in the creation of political science. There is a great deal of overlap between economics and political science, however; one thing that political science is not is economics 101.
It is difficult to think of an area of human activity where political scientists have not studied extensively. They understand everything from major national politics to the smallest neighborhood affairs to domestic and international laws to globalization and the complex systems that support economies and societies.
The contributions of Plato
Plato was a student of Socrates and was his last student. He was born in 495 BCE and died in 360 BCE. In his most famous work, Republic, he describes a society where citizens meet regularly in the city-state of Athens to discuss current issues and make decisions that would benefit the entire community.
The main premise of his theory was that the ruler is a mere representative of the people. The people should be involved in making decisions for the common good, not for personal gain. Many of his other writings also spoke to the necessity for an ideal society. This was a belief that many people still hold today.
The contributions of Thomas Hobbes
Many would consider him to be the father of political science, as many believe Hobbes believed in the process of governance and society.
In “Leviathan,” Hobbes explains why “Government is instituted for the common good and instituted against the common evils.” (Leviathan, Chapter 1, Verse 2) The first and most obvious answer is because they are the “common evils.” Humans share in common the benefits and failures of society. Therefore, if there is ever a legitimate need to draw a line in the sand, it is only fair that everyone shares in the responsibility of making it a successful and unified venture.
The process of forming governments is so common because it helps in keeping the peace, protecting the interests of individuals, and directing the community to the desired goals.
The contributions of John Locke
Who was John Locke? He was born in England in 1532. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1570, and was appointed as an Advocate in the Common Law Court of England in 1578. He married Jane Greene and had three children:
- John (1578-1638)
- Edward (1581-1634)
- Mary (1584-1645).
John Locke was an avid student of law and was a great author. He wrote widely on legal, political, and moral themes in many different languages. He also published over 60 books, the most well-known of which are “Two Treatises of Government” and “Two New Discourses on Government.” The former is considered to be one of the earliest and most comprehensive treatises on political philosophy.
The contributions of Jean Jacques Rousseau
Rousseau argued that people are by nature social animals. We seek out companionship, affiliation, and solidarity in our lives. We interact socially, preferring being around people rather than alone, as long as we are doing something productive and enjoyable. Rousseau believed this social fabric of human nature was so strong that we could not exist without it. The only way for us to be happy and live in a state of peace was for each individual to follow his or her natural instincts and desires, despite the social customs and laws of the times.
Rousseau was heavily influenced by Greek philosophers and Plato’s Republic, which he referred to as the key to humanity’s nature. He saw the Athenian system of government as an out-dated form of governance.
The contributions of Karl Marx
Karl Marx was a German philosopher who believed that through the formation of a communist society, which occurs when the coercive power of the state no longer exists and the individuals take on the role of property owners and producers. After his death in 1883, his ideas and theories began to gain traction in Marxist thinking. He proposed that each individual would rise to the occasion to provide for their own needs and that government could no longer exist. His theory called for the revolutionary overthrow of the existing order.
Karl Marx got his big break when an Italian editor named Alessandro Bacchini published an edition of his writings in 1867. Before this publication, Karl Marx had not published a collection of his writings.
The contributions of Max Weber
He defined “the political” and thought of it as an extension of the economic. It is not what you do or how you use your power as a leader that defines you as a political actor, but the social context in which you are acting. Weber posited that a nation is as powerful as the society it is embedded within. The source of power in a society is what we call the coercive power; institutions that control and regulate or, in this case, can punish with fines, imprisonment or worse for those who do not abide by the norms of a particular society.
Weber called this the Transactional Order. He believed that the natural state of every political community is dominated by an elite, small group of people who benefit from their status as a society’s participants.
The contributions of Margaret Thatcher.
Some political scientists focus on explaining the functioning of political systems, while others focus on the study of the leaders of the political systems. The central idea in all of this is to understand that it is a shared responsibility of society and government to create a viable and just society. This shared responsibility includes not just legal obligations and rights, but also a set of shared values and ways of living.
You learn about these issues by analyzing historical events and analyzing surveys. It is similar to reading history books, but a lot more interesting. Because of the political science program and the materials I have studied, I have a much better understanding of how the political world works.
The Dawn of Political Science
Although the study of government has its roots deep in ancient Greece, its modern day iteration is often credited to the German philosopher Johann Heinrich von Schelling, who died in 1829. Schelling’s most important work is a conceptual framework for human actions. He described the set of preferences that define a person as a member of a society, called basic drives, or as Schelling called them, the drives for survival, freedom, and other group-oriented drives.
From this framework, he formulated his concept of the social contract. In simple terms, the social contract is a shared agreement between a group of people. Under the terms of this agreement, the members of that group must respect one another and recognize that one group will protect the rights of the other.
The history of political science
John Locke’s ideas regarding the relationship between government and society had a big influence on classical political science. According to his ideas, government and society are two distinct and separate entities. Each have distinct roles to play, which are determined by the nature of their citizens. The citizens in a society are those who are not yet ready for maturity.
People in the ‘garden’ stage, for example, are immature enough to take some responsibility for the actions of the members in the community. They are also capable of having simple desires and needs which they understand in their physical and emotional capabilities. In short, they are unable to be predatory. Therefore, they are not ready to rule over others.