Politics: A Very Short Introduction
The subject of politics is as old as the ancient world. With perhaps its oldest known origins in Greece, politics re-emerged in the Roman Empire around the 4th Century. Its first political leaders, the aristocrats of ancient Rome, sought to improve their position at the expense of their fellow citizens. The result was two-party systems with two different rulers for each policy (state) – for instance, the Parthians and the Romans. This political system evolved into what we today call democracy. Although initially plagued by internal party struggles, democracy was able to gain the admiration and support of the general public and established the modern world political system.
Today there are political parties in almost every country of the world. Each political party tries to improve its standing in the political arena, often by adopting radical political policies. This creates a vast subject matter for social scientists interested in political science, but it is also a source of confusion to those who aren’t very sociologists or psychologists. For example, the current Iraq war and the policies that are being put into place to defeat it seem to be completely contraindicated by any standard understanding of how political systems work.
However, don’t let confusion make you give up on politics. Politics is essential to civilization and has played a role in all major civilizations and ongoing struggles of man. If you want to learn about politics, the best way to learn it is through a course in political science. Such a program will introduce you to various theories of political organization, the history of politics and more. A good program will also teach you about constitutional government, economic theory and more, so you can become an expert in any particular subject you choose to study. Once you have taken a course in political science, you’ll be ready to take on the world of politics yourself.