Table of Contents 

PC.GIF     PC.GIF    

Alfred de Grazia:



To PHILOSOPHIZE is natural to man. All humans of whom we know something, whether primitive or technically advanced, try to spell out the meaning of their lives, and look within themselves and to the farthest stars for a satisfying Word. The frequent failure of such speculation in the past should not cause us to shun its practice now nor even to dismiss its particular historical forms. Without philosophy man would be a mere vocal beast.

However, philosophy has many parts, not all of which are germane to our interests here. There are schools of ethical philosophy. There are philosophies of scientific method. There are philosophies that argue different views about other philosophies. In every work there is philosophy behind the organizing of materials, the stating of facts, and the evaluating of theories. Political philosophy has all of these in its nature, but confines itself mostly to that part of life which is political, or directly connected with politics. It seeks laws of political behavior and government. It presents man with alternative visions of the good life in the good community. It may also advocate its own vision. It also criticizes the methods by which political scientists seek truths, and proposes better methods of thought and study.

Not only the present chapter, but the whole of this book, then, deals with political philosophy. The peculiar trait of this chapter is its concern with the most fundamental notions of politics and where they began. "Where they began" means, in the language of political science, "the history of political ideas." Often the phrase "political philosophy" is used only in an historical sense, which, to our view, is incorrect and regrettable. "Political philosophy" to us is broader and more important than the history of political ideas. The latter helps political science in several ways, but it remains an instrument of political science, not the whole nor nearly the whole of political science.

If we must know the political scientists of the past, we do so with several purposes in mind besides satisfying our curiosity and quoting authoritative support of our views. We know them in order to understand how ideas are born and grow, for, as with human development, some significant elements in an idea can only be discerned as they occur in the process of growth. We study older expressions of political science, too, because in some cases they remain the most correct and sharp expressions of political truths, try as we may to excel them.

For these reasons, this study of political science may be initiated by tracing the origins of the basic concepts of political philosophy. Later on, the same ideas will come in for further definition and development.


By a basic idea in political science is meant a concept or vision of something important and universal in the political behavior of men. To state it positively, it is a mental tool that allows man to understand and control the social universe of politics. To put it negatively, it is an idea without which our understanding and control of a host of human relations would suffer.

Behind each basic idea is usually discoverable a man or group of men who developed it and contributed it to the body of political philosophy. Naturally, there is no fixed number of such ideas, yet students are in some agreement on which are the more important ones. Scholars usually agree also in identifying the early creative exponents of the ideas.

There need be no further delay in listing the ideas, and discussing them in turn. Twenty-eight in number, they are presented as they appeared forcefully on the stage of history.

1. Authority (rewards and punishment)
2. The World as Mathematical Order (A quantitative approach)
3. Man as. the Measure
4. The Political Community (including nationalism)
5. The Division of Labor and Hierarchy
6. Democracy and the Social Compact
7. Constitutionalism
8. Empirical Method in Political Study
9. Pleasure-Pain and Politics 10. A World Order: Fraternity and Law
11. Existential Political Activism
12. Introspective Method
13. Theory of World History
14. Systematic Ethical-Political Theory
15. Representative Government (including pluralism)
16. Value-Free Political Science
17. Power Politics
18. Liberty and the Liberal State (including "individualism")
19. The New Science
20. Rationalistic Analysis of Law
21. Applied Social Science
22. Economic Determinism
23. Sociology of Class
24. Models of Society ("culture")
25. The Elite
26. Communications
27. Operational Inquiry
28. Unconscious Factors in Political Behavior


Man did not create the world; it was created by some higher intelligence. So it has appeared to mankind, and, to reinforce the thought, he has had the personal experience of being created within a family. Therefore his mind has dwelt heavily upon authority. Authority is legitimate power. Authority it is that controls and comforts man. Its attention to him-personified in the gods that are said to create the world for him-seems to deserve his worship. Authority is bifurcated from the beginning-it is the original source of rewards and punishment, the concern equally of the witch doctor, the priest, and the psychologist. Without authority, the world tends to appear disorderly, ruleless, impersonal, and frightening.

Here is a concept man must deal with. He must merge it into his behavior. He must try to understand it. For he cannot in his nature exempt himself from its influence. Such is the testimony of a mountain of anthropological evidence.

Such also is indicated by the revelations contained in the stories of the Bible. There men come to grips with the authority of God and strive to make from it a scheme of good and evil, of behaviors that are to be rewarded by God and society and of those that are to be punished.

It is the dawn of mankind, and already present is the immensely important concept of political science-the ordering of the world by a great power possessed of ethical justification. In a manner that is both astonishing and significant, the idea of authority descends in recognizable form into the most modern and complex laboratories of human science, furnishing them with problems eternally old and perennially fresh: What is the psychological nature of authority? How do men come to possess it? How are they deprived of it? How are their claims to authority made legitimate? How does society organize and distribute authority? What are the consequences of the universal presence of the authority problem in political affairs?

G. B. Vico, writing his New Science in eighteenth-century Italy, said that we move from magic, through religion, to science. Actually the path is not nearly so certain, and it is more a current than a path. That is, the witch doctor is not nearly so unscientific and stupid as he is said to be. His advice has been shown by anthropological studies to resemble the scientific counsel of psychiatry in some analogous cases, and his masks and other trappings have a lesser but nonetheless distinct parallel in the scientific trappings of modern healers. If the Bible and the religion that succeeded it to the time of Vico are considered, there too evidences of logical empiricism are abundant. The authors of the Bible knew man in many ways. As scientists of man, they were certainly as far advanced, say, as the chemists were as scientists of nature when Lavoisier began to order the elements in the eighteenth century.

Besides, we need not refer only to the Bible or to prehistory and non-Western history. Plato (427-347 B.C.) and other Greeks were already precisely concerned with the problem of authority. Plato created, for instance, a famous "myth of the caves." In it man was shown to revere images, not reality. Those who could know reality, the philosophers, should have authority over the others and, to substantiate their rule, that is, to legitimize and enhance their power, should let the mass of people understand that society is formed of men of gold, silver, and brass; the men of gold are the philosopher kings. Thus Plato, in a manner absolutely modern, tackled the problem of how to set up, in a functioning,'rational society, a respect and regard for the authorities.

Vico was statistically correct, but he vastly simplified history. The ancient has more of the new science than is recognized. And ancient animism and religion continue with their own functions and validity in the currents of today.

In connection with authority, it is well to mention one of its descendents, sovereignty, this being, according to its chief inventor, Bodin (1530-1596), the unlimited power of the state to make laws. It is "perpetual, indivisible, and complete." It is, he claims, the essential characteristic of the state, placing it above all other forms of organization, spiritual ortemporal. In modern language, we say that sovereignty is the belief that the state has the power to make the ultimate decisions in human relations, not necessarily the fact, or a virtue, of state authority.


The ancient world was equally modern when it produced a second important concept, the quantitative interpretation of the universe. Modern science, it is recognized, is emphatically mathematical and quantitative in its view of the world. The science of man-psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and truly there are no exceptions-is similarly attempting to describe its world in a series of compact statements that facilitate understanding and control.

Pythagoras, too, at an early stage of Greek philosophy sought to unite speculation and discoveries about the universe, about music, and about man and public affairs into a single whole by means of mathematics. The conception, startling in his day and for 2500 years to come, gave to the Pythagorean movement a semidivine and mysterious character. It was a cult that played games and practical tricks, somewhat like balloon and rocket societies a few years ago, because it could not possibly carry out and develop the enormity of its basic ideas. Today we begin to appreciate that Pythagoras (572497 B.C.) conceived of a universal set of mathematical formulas which could tell the truth about man, the earth, the stars, and the gods. He might be called the first inventor of quantitative method in political science. We should be much richer if we might have had more than fragments of Pythagorean theories and writings on political subjects. But perhaps they were lost in such disasters as occurred when the early Pythagoreans, who had commanded the politics of Croton, were overthrown and destroyed by a rival faction. Political science, even then, was not an infallible guide to political success.


The burdens of ancient doctrines of authority sat upon restless shoulders, as the Greek cities became busy and cosmopolitan. The abstractions of Pythagoreans seemed little connected with the details of existence, especially since they were premised on there being absolute measures of existence. A new philosophy of relativism was called forth out of the pain and the inexplicability of older doctrines, and it emerged from its natural soil, the wide-open, individualistic Greek cities. "Man is the measure of all things," declared Protagoras, the Sophist, and many a colleague said amen. Protagoras (481-411 B.C.) was a leading figure in a movement that carried the youth into successful intellectual revolt against the older Greece. Why concede, save for expedience, that we must go beyond the study of customs and behavior for an explanation and control of mankind? The rules man lives by are clearly discernible in his actions. The relativity of his rules are discoverable by a comparison of cities and culture; Athenians behave one way, Spartans another; Greeks one way, Egyptians another.

The Sophists gave political science the greatly useful concepts of " cultural relativism," of mundane rather than transcendental explanation of human behavior, and of the applied science of politics, that is, "manipulative" political science. Specialized in rhetoric and moral philosophy, Protagoras would charge a student over $1,000 in tuition for a course of study under him.

Of Protagoras and the other Sophists, Professor Giorgio Santillana has this to say:

All that we call progressive, pragmatic, or social-minded education, all that calls itself the constructive attitude, or the positivistic theory of science as economy of thought, or the empirical approach to a growing world, or education for life, or adjustment to a mature outlook, or sociological anthropology or anthropological sociology and such like double-ended catchwords-all are Sophistic?


We are still with the Greeks, even if slightly later, and with Plato and Aristotle particularly, as a third idea is expressed. We refer now to the concept of the political community, whose descendents in social science are numerous-among them the group, the state, patriotism, nationalism, communications, social cohesion, collective psychology, and public opinion.

However it may reflect upon the limits of human creativity, the fact remains that for two thousand years political philosophers have gone back to Plato (427-347 B.C.) and Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) for inspiration and ideals. The two together managed to cover most human problems, and they did the job well. More important for later times, they did it in different ways. They had, we might say, two different world views. Each saw society and nature differently. In consequence of and in association with their different world views, they used different methods of arriving at truth. Their similarities were great, enough so that John Dewey, for example, discussing their methods and viewpoints in the twentieth century, could say that there was a Greek way of looking at the universe. On the other hand, the emphases brought about by their viewpoints and methods were different enough to divide many other philosophers into Flatonists and Aristotelians in their views both of nature and society.

Both differed from their chief Sophist predecessors in regarding virtue as a universally valid standard that could be known by the intellect. Both refused to distinguish politics from ethics; they would claim that a lack of virtue was a political handicap. Man is rational in the sense that he can really know the world through his reason and produce therein the conditions that lead to happiness. They were not pessimistic about the social sciences as the later Epicureans and Stoics were, but rather shared the sentiments of Sophocles, who exclaimed in his Antigone: "Against everything that confronts him, man invents some resource-against death alone he has no recourse."

Now the state was really a community so far as its ends were concerned. It was a political order, a natural system linking all citizens together. The good state gave to each his own, in Plato's words. No one was to be a "busybody," but all were to apply their talents where they would do the most good. Men were not self-sufficient without the community, said Aristotle, else they would be either gods or beasts. To both Plato and Aristotle, the state was the means of realizing the individual good of every member. They made relatively little use of our distinction between "private" things and "public" ones.

What the Greeks did with the idea of community was to pull out of the "collective unconscious," and to clarify, those bonds which knit men together and permitted them to act in concert, as a society. Once exposed to light, these community ties could be examined and their functions analysed. Allowances might thereupon be made for them in any theories of how men behave as they do and of how they might change their behavior. Plato's Republic then became a search for "the good community," utopia; in Aristotle's famous words, that mark the beginning of political science, of sociology, and of most general and social theory, "Man is a political animal." He exists in and by society. His individuality is social individuality. His psychology becomes social psychology.

Before moving to the next great idea, it may be well to pause on a politically energetic descendent of the idea of community, nationalism. "Nationalism" is one of the commonest words in the vocabulary of political science and politics, but it is of modern origin. Medieval Europeans knew of different peoples, of course. The European universities were sometimes organized according to "nations," that is, schools of different nationalities. The public feeling of nationalism, that strong emotion of patriotism for a large area of land, its culture, and its people, grew slowly, with strong forward movements wherever a king consolidated his rule over the nobility and made a true realm, wherever the unifying force of the Catholic Papacy was weakened, and wherever the populace took an active part in governing. Thus English nationalism surged forward when the king's law was made enforceable throughout England following the Norman conquest of 1066. Central European nationalism became stronger when Martin Luther led a movement out of the Catholic Church, and expressed the doctrine, a people's religion is that of its rulers (cuius regio, eius religio). And the French Revolution inspired the general population with allegiance to the nation, not to a ruling monarch or nobility or church.

The resulting phenomenon, nationalism, became an active ingredient in political discussions and writing. It was, of course, a descendent of the notion of the political community of former times, but tied to a particular kind of community, the nation-state.


The differences among men are not entirely subdued in the political community. As the American political scientist James Madison wrote in the Federalist papers, 2200 years after Plato:

The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties .

Plato early perceived this complexity upon which the political community was based. His organic theory of the psychological division of labor is exceedingly important for the history of the social sciences. He described it and planned controls for it in his Republic. The ideal state would be based clearly on class lines. As the soul has three component partsthe intellectual, the passionate, and the appetitive-so society is to be composed of three major classes, containing in each case the members of society who have a preponderance of one of the three parts of the soul. Society is the individual writ large. The task of the state is to relegate to each person responsibility for those affairs that he can competently undertake. Individual happiness consists of each person performing his own functions well. The officers who delegate responsibilities are chosen by merit, with freedom of opportunity for all.

Individuals are relegated to their lot in life as they evidence capacity for one rather than the other job. This process of elimination results in having philosopher-kings at the top, who, being educated to justice, are incapable of being unjust. The vast majority of individuals in the trades and on the farms would hold property, but the possessions of the guardian class and the ruling class would be held in common to prevent an individual taking his own interest too seriously at the expense of the public good. There is no limit to the regulation of life, customs, and property within the state save the limits of justice itself. Manners, schools, religion, the arts-all must conform to public policy. The ideal state is the veritable incarnation of justice.

The idea of hierarchy is developed in order to unite a people split up by the functional specialization of the division of labor. It is also fabricated to place more important and superior values above less important and inferior ones. It refers in general to the system of authority, responsibility, and accountability in society, the "chain of command." A political science without the notion of hierarchy is inconceivable and practically every scholar ever since has had to concern himself with the problems engendered by the idea. That human groups are stratified according to higher and lesser degrees of influence and possession is both an outstanding fact and also a source of continuous proposals for social reforms.


The Greeks discovered democracy, if they did not invent it. It came to their keen eyes that a certain kind of government had swept away many a tyranny in their cities in Asia, the Greek peninsula, and Italy. The government was a people's government, and occurred frequently and with moderate success, so that it was credited with being a basic form, along with tyranny (rule by the one), and aristocracy (rule by the few).

There was many a struggle in the Roman republic over the degree to which the common people might influence the government and hold office, but almost no theory of politics grew out of the class and factional debates. Nor did the next thousand years produce any democratic theory of consequence.

Finally, in the late Middle Ages, there appeared Marsiglio di Padova (1270-1342), a man who came within a stone's throw of accomplishing a fantastic scheme for the coordination and democratizing of the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church. In his Defensor Pacis (Defender of the Peace) a radical democratic theory was boldly expressed. The majority idea is stirring in his mind although it does not have the numerical quality of the majority principle today. But he definitely stipulated responsibility of the rulers, both temporal and spiritual, to the people, and consigned active power to the mass of men. He recommended government by means of elected councils in church and state.

In Marsiglio are the beginnings of a great positivist reconstruction of law. For he says that if enforceability is not present, there is no law. That which people may wish were law, and what many called "the natural law," has no validity as law except when enforced. The real law, he declared, comes from "the will of the people," for only such consent permits law to be enforced. (We notice how he exaggerates to make his point, thus falling into his own trap of unrealism.) The people by active consent, especially by elections, concedes powers to the government and may withdraw it. The people is the legislator, the sovereign, the state. Forms of government - whether monarchic or republican or theocratic - are immaterial, if the rule is by the citizenry.

Following these preliminary analyses, the idea of democracy as rule by the many was given little critical development until the seventeenth century Leveller movement in England. The Levellers, a radical soldier's movement in the Republican army of Cromwell, proposed a number of devices for achieving democracy through representative government. More important than the Levellers, because his investigations were systematic, was John Locke (1632-1704). Locke exalted the Parliament, which he regarded as the repository of the rights of liberty and property that the people had assigned to the state for convenience of management. His arguments were such as the victors of the Glorious "Whig" Revolution of 1688, the American Revolution of 1776, and the French Revolution of 1789 could claim as their own. His words were on the lips of all but the most conservative and radical at the time of the American revolt against England and in the Constitutional Period that followed.

We can recognize them at first glance. Men are reasonable and social creatures. They create society for their own good to avoid certain inconveniences of living in a state of nature. This is the idea of the social compact, which Plato alluded to long before, and which came into strong play in the seventeenth century again. People mix their time and sweat to produce property, which becomes almost part of their very personality. They elect representatives by a majority vote to carry out their will. The representatives may not violate the majority will or the social contract that lies beneath the expressed will of the community. If such violations do occur and are beyond reasonable sufferance, the people have the right to appeal to God, revolt, and establish a lawful government, which will observe the constitution.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), following Locke by half a century, went beyond him in several important ways. The disorders of a state of nature require the formation of a community of citizens to which each person gives up his natural rights. He is then stronger and more free in the group than as an isolated individual living in a state of nature. The community is the state. Government is all-powerful but not specialized into certain organs. Rather the "general will" of the whole community acts directly to legislate and regulate. The minority must always succumb to the will of the whole community, which for practical purposes may be reduced to the majority. Life, liberty, and property are at the beck and call of the general will. A kind of primitive democracy, reminiscent of the Leveller ideas, is proposed. He is more explicit than Locke in giving all power to the majority. The result of Rousseau's democracy in later times was mixed: although his views numbered many adherents of the Jeffersonian type, they also enlisted many totalitarians who, by making identical the will of the community and the will of the state, could justify governmental transgressions of individual liberties in the name of the "general will" and the "true freedom" of the person.


Another important invention of Plato and Aristotle was the idea of constitutionalism, which, in their terms, relates not only to democracy but to all "good" forms of government. This idea, as we shall show later on, is connected closely to the idea of "rule of law," and "government by laws, not men." Here was an abstract idea, buried in a welter of political practices so that it was not at all apparent to the naked eye. Yet Aristotle discovered its elements and fashioned it into a potent instrument of thought and plan. His discovery was that from the mass of human institutions there can be abstracted something of a structure, a pattern of rules and conduct, which amounted to constitutions of the city-states. Men lived by these rules; the rules lent character to the state; and the rules guided and educated the men in turn. Men would know what to expect from the state; justice would be defined for them.


Reliance upon the gathering and analysis of facts in political study is nowhere better exemplified in ancient thought than in Aristotle's use of many different constitutions as evidence for his conclusions in the Politics. He cites widely varying customs, laws, and views in arguing his points. He made, for instance, a penetrating analysis of revolutions, classifying them by causes. He went on then to prescribe their preventives-observance of the laws by rulers, mindfulness of the general interest, a balanced government in which the several social classes are represented, and limited tenure of office. He also wrote a work on Rhetoric that is still useful in the study of opinion and propaganda. Certainly, in this work, he was influenced by the Sophists, those masters of persuasion, and in general his empiricism is probably derived from the Sophist turn of mind towards "man as the measure." Still, in Aristotle the new powerful weapon of systematic, logical, empirical method in political science is made available for the first time. It is surprising to learn that it is hardly practiced again until the sixteenth century brings the Renaissance writers, and especially Machiavelli, upon the social scientific scene.


Whereas one side of Greek political philosophy preoccupied itself with the serious business of governing, another disliked what it saw in the political process and preferred to stand apart from it. Epicurus (341-270 B.C.) might be said to have made civic apathy a virtue. His logic was appealing: man is a creature whose life is dictated by the desire to enjoy pleasure and avoid pain. Politics is almost always a troublesome pursuit. Ergo, politics is to be shunned by the wise man. The pleasure-pain principle was not to die with the end of the Epicureans in the Roman Empire. Its descent goes down to Jeremy Bentham in the nineteenth century, of whom more will be said below, and to modern political psychology where it is variously experimented with in the study of political motivations. Epicurean political attitudes may not please one, but they certainly act as an antidote to the intoxication with politics that some people have and presume everyone else must and should possess.


Quite in contrast to Epicureanism stands Stoicism, its contemporary and competitor. The Stoics, led by Zeno of Citium (335-265 B.C.), took a more sober view of man's position in the cosmos, and, shunning the active search for pleasure, urged a universal brotherhood of man. Tolerance, respect for the rights of others, refusal to commit injustices, the endurance of injustices committed in ignorance by others-these were their main attitudes.

The Stoics were especially compatible to the Roman temperament and impressed Roman jurisprudence with their idea of the universal empire and a law of nature applicable to all times and manner of man. The ideas of fulfilling duty and obligation, without joy and even without expectation of success-ideas characterizing existentialism today-often characterized the Stoics. At the same time, their charitable, antihedonistic, and humanistic attitudes were remarkably similar to Christian ethics in the period after Christ.

Cicero, a Stoic, and an apostle of republicanism previous to its collapse before Caesarism, declared that there existed a natural law which all men and governments must observe, and that the task of the state was to distribute justice in accordance with the law of nature. The magistrates are under the law and are trustees of the power of the people.

A thousand years went by before something resembling a universal law of nations developed. The first statement of principles of international law was, however, connected with the old Stoic and Christian belief in a law of nature. In Bodin's terms, the law of nature was those rational principles of justice which may be abstracted from the infinite individual laws of men. Such a view could sponsor the belief that states themselves ought to observe certain common principles in their relation with one another. Grotius of Holland and Vittoria of Spain formulated systems of international law founded partly on observed standards of conduct which men everywhere seemed to agree to in principle.

A tendency counter to the natural law school of international law was the "positivist school." It divorced law from ethics and confined its consideration of international law only to the facts of international relations. Law is what people do, not what they preach. The positivist school originated a few years before Grotius in the work of Alberico Gentili (1552-1608) . Gentili was expelled from his Italian home for Protestantism and spent a long, influential life in England, where his law of war was published in 1588.


The major contributions of Stoicism were not exhausted. The principle of engaging in political activity out of a sense of obligation, regardless of the pains and failures suffered, was again a Stoic idea. It calls to mind the existentialist philosophy of Sartre and Camus today.

Seneca the Stoic, writing under the early Roman Empire, believed that before governments existed, man lived in a state of nature where peace and bliss prevailed and men followed just leaders. The problems induced by cupidity brought the necessity for compulsion and the state. These penalties must be endured. The Emperor Marcus Aurelius, another great Stoic, wrote his Meditations, in which he endeavored to reconcile the arduous and depressing duties of statecraft with the reasonable humanitarianism of his philosophy.

Meanwhile Jesus Christ had lived and taught and been executed for alleged agitation and sedition. His teachings were remarkably similar to those of the Stoics. Equality, humility, service to God were especially emphasized. Rulers and ruled were to be judged by the same moral canons. The dignity of men and women, regardless of their station in life and even of their personal record, was to be respected. Revolt against the state was not encouraged, for, in a sense, the state with its terrors was a punishment of man for his original fall from grace that the Bible had described. Furthermore, cultivating the virtues of the soul was deemed to be preferable to a preoccupation with worldly success. We note here the emphatic split, under the Roman Empire, between the "private" and "public" spheres of life, so little recognized by the ancient Greeks and republican Romans.

* * *


Spread everywhere by Paul, Peter, and other apostles and disciples, the Christian gospel became an influential force in the empire. All persecution failed to halt its development until finally the emperor Constantine embraced Christianity. By this time barbarian encroachments and domestic disorganization had so weakened the empire that the Church became actually better organized than the state. Especially in the Western Empire, the deterioration of the pax romana left principally the Church to hold together some semblance of unity in the great society. The proud imperium the vast powers of the Roman emperors, fell to the Church.


In this chaos of crumbling empire, Augustine (354-430 A.D.) wrote his Confessions. An early manhood of recklessness and dissipation was followed by conversion to Christianity and high rank as a Bishop of the Church. Augustine carried out fully the injunction of Socrates to "Know thyself." In the first highly revealing autobiography of history, he plumbed the depths to which man can descend and the heights to which he may rise. Deeply influenced by Plato's way of thought, he looked far into his own soul for knowledge and consolation.

His passionate individualism and search for self-insight were emulated by the Protestant reformers of the sixteenth century.

I will now call to mind my past foulness, and the carnal corruptions of my soul; not because I love them, but that I may love Thee, O my God . . . . To whom tell I this? not to Thee, my God; but before Thee to mine own kind, even to that small portion of mankind as may light upon these writings of mine. And to what purpose? that whosoever reads this, may think out of what depths we are to cry unto Thee . . . . For these very sins, as riper years succeed, these very sins are transferred from tutors and masters, from nuts and balls and sparrows, to magistrates and kings, to gold and manors and slaves, just as severer punishments displace the cane.

This may be called the introspective method, especially where it is so effectively and exhaustively employed. More science than we realize depends directly upon the capacity for self-knowledge. This is particularly true where the social sciences must be strongly psychological in character, as in the areas of politics, public opinion, social classes, and international affairs. Self-knowledge aids in self-control, objectivity, scholarly discipline, and understanding much of other people's minds and action. The autobiography, the case study, the journal and diary, and personal letters are among the most valuable sources of political data.


Then also Augustine's mind turned to practical affairs in The City of God. Here, he examines the City of God and the City of Man. He leaped from introspection onto the alps of history, propounding the first grand view of the rise and fall of civilizations and the significance of historical tides. For similar subsequent panoramas of history, we must wait for The Divine Comedy of Dante (1265-1321), the Universal History of Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), the Arab philosopher, G. B. Vico's New Science (1725), Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West (1914), and Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History (1933 on).

Other doctrines of Augustine were influential in history, if not important in the development of political science. Too often were states without justice and therefore only great robber-bands, he wrote; stability, respect for property rights, and an end to plunder are needed. The state has no command over man's soul, which belongs to God and the Heavenly City. Obedience in secular affairs alone is owed the Earthly City, which stands as a monument to man's fall from grace. This Augustinian division of "spiritual" and "temporal" orders was used for centuries thereafter to justify Church supremacy in matters of religion. Augustine's debt to Plato made medieval Europe Platonist in philosophy, as evidenced in Scotus and Abelard, until Aristotle was rediscovered and St. Thomas Aquinas systematized Catholic philosophy along Aristotelian lines.


St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), writing in the most creative century of the Middle Ages of the West, covered the range of social science-psychology, economics, education, ethics, law, and politics. His classifications of political phenomena are exceedingly numerous and his multitude of distinctions brilliant. Although he followed Aristotle closely, he added new doctrines to philosophy as well. In a book addressed to princes, he declared that the object of government was the good of the people. In another place, he defined law as an ordinance of reason promulgated for the common good. These ideas were then of considerable force and novelty, but they were less important than the intricate and vast structure of ideas, facts, and moral choices of which they formed a part. Today St. Thomas remains the greatest political philosopher for Catholic students and various others.

Aquinas' major contribution to political science, it appears, was his systematic ethical-political theory. What is meant by these words? They mean that Aquinas climaxed, perhaps for all history to the present moment, the striving of any science towards the perfection of statement. His hierarchy of values is clear: he makes known what are the ranking and subordinate goals of man and society. His logic, by Aristotelian standards, is impeccable. His style is clear and calm, without regard to the controversial ity of the matter under discussion. With all this, two features assail the modern political scientist adversely. His employment of Aristotelian, as opposed to modern operational and quantitative logic, and his assuredness, which far exceeds the quality and quantity of evidence available to him for building generalizations.


The idea of representative government should be placed also in the European Middle Ages. Despite the occurrence of certain representative devices in ancient times and in other cultures, notably, government by consent of the governed and voting by citizens for officials, additional major elements were needed for the more complex development that has come to be the universal form of government in the twentieth century. One of these new elements was territorial and functional constituencies, that is, election of public officials by separate groups of voters who lived in special areas or engaged in certain occupations. Overcoming problems of distances was difficult in the Middle Ages; so instead of calling all members of the group together, first the religious orders of the Church, and then the secular authorities, began to call together delegates from various areas to reflect the views of their groups. Such delegates came from the rural communities, the towns, the nobility, and the clergy. The very numerous guilds of artisans and merchants were powerful local influences but did not become part of the larger representative governments. The latter were more territorially than functionally representative. However, the idea of the guilds having not only local powers but power in the central government sustained itself as the theory of pluralism down to the present.

Once assembled in parliament, the delegates were beset by the pressures that shaped their function and role. Their constituencies expected obedience from them; yet the king expected them to take his larger views. In the end they took neither position, but became quasi-independent. Furthermore, borrowing from the theory of medieval associations the idea of corporation, they formed a parliament that possessed corporate integrity, that is, a single organism whose members might act freely. Thus another important social invention of man, the corporation, came into a new area of government, the legislature, where it remains today.

The several stated conditions of representative government were satisfied in the thirteenth century in Europe and England. After various ups and downs, the triumphant, fully empowered parliament 'of the nineteenth century emerged. This story will be dealt with later. It is important here to realize that political science had now to deal with the complex social, psychological, and juridical relations met within representative structures. The concepts of representation, delegation, consent, leadership, conformity, cohesion, power, balance, autonomy, voting, majority, and dozens of other important ideas useful in studying government and politics probably were stimulated and refined in connection with the development of representative government.

Representative government apparently grew for centuries without much awareness of its nature or importance. In England where it flourished, myriad struggles took place over small pieces of the whole structure. The rebellious Levellers of the seventeenth century seemed to know that a parliament might alone rule the land. John Locke, a little later, and Edmund Burke, over a century later, and John Stuart Mill, in the middle of the nineteenth century-the works of all three men are benchmarks in the analysis of representative government.

We mentioned in passing a less successful major category of political thoughts on representative government, that of pluralism. It still merits attention in the present discussion. Pluralism is the doctrine that the state is only one of a number of important and equally valuable groups in society, all of which ought to have various self-governing powers.

In its reflection of the numerous interests of the society, the doctrine harks back to the idea of the division of labor. The idea depends also upon the general idea of representative government both in origin (feudalism and territorial representation are kinds of pluralism) and in intent. In the ranks of pluralism we find syndicalists, gild socialists, Fascist corporativists, Catholic social theorists, and regionalists (including federalists). The syndicalists have been mostly from the working-class movements and demanded autonomy of occupations and industries. Instead of the centralized state, there were to be a number of powerful, self-governing, workerdominated industrial groupings, with a weak state or even none at all. Gild socialism, as exemplified recently in the writings of G. D. H. Cole, was related to syndicalism. It harked back to the medieval gilds of masters and workmen. It would have these economic interests help run the government directly.

Mussolini, originally somewhat of a syndicalist, abandoned his working-class socialist viewpoint on the road to becoming dictator of Italy, but retained the idea that autonomous associations of industrialists and workers should send their representatives to the national parliament. This he called corporatism and installed to a certain extent in Italy after 1937. The Catholic Church had a long historical interest in functional, or occupational, groupings reaching back to the gild system of the Middle Ages. Catholic social policy has urged increasingly that healthy work conditions and good employeremployee relations depended on some form of functional organization of society.

Finally, federalism or geographic pluralism has had many advocates, especially in Switzerland, Germany, the United States, and Soviet Russia. Regional decentralization-granting large powers to smaller cultural, geographic units of a nation-has excited much approval in recent times, especially in France. But both federalism and regionalism have lacked recently the fires of a vital political movement. All pluralist theory, in fact, has had to buck the tide of nationalism, concentration of industrial controls, war, crisis, and other centralizing forces.

* * *


Within a century after 1400, life and thought in Italy had been radically transformed and the effects of the Renaissance were spreading north and west. New concepts of political science were part of the movement.


Out of the many books that purported to tell princes how to behave, came in 1513 a daring and startling little treatise by a Florentine, Niccolo Machiavelli (1467-1527) . What are the kinds of governments, he asked in The Prince? How may they be conquered and held? The answers were brutally frank and gained for the author an undeserved reputation for viciousness and immorality. Actually, Machiavelli looked at the world, held his own preferences in check, and declared: the chief and universal value in politics is power; getting and holding power is the object of rulers; therefore the real, not the wished-for, ways of doing this should be objectively related. He wrote vividly of the historical errors of politicians. Force and cunning, as found in the lion and the fox, were the principal instruments of power; to use them well usually meant success; to use them not at all meant failure. Raison d'etat, the reason of state, demanded many times that virtues be foregone. Man in politics could not exhibit the same goodness as in private life. "A prince . . . cannot observe all those things that are thought good in men, being often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against faith, charity, humanity, and religion." The appearance of virtue was more valuable in politics than hidden but real virtue. This was all too bad, declared Machiavelli, but it was the way the world functioned.

The Prince was a landmark in the history of political philosophy, comparable in effect to the work of Plato and Aristotle, of Augustine, and of Aquinas. As we have indicated, the scientific method was not foreign to scholarly writing prior to Machiavelli. And every great writer knows how to deal with reality. But Machiavelli, not without qualms and missteps, introduced the dominant idea of all modern science, both natural and social: to know how the world works, one's emotions have to be put aside. Moon-struck lovers cannot produce good astronomy, and virtue-struck writers cannot describe politics. Nor can the lovers provide instructions for space travel, nor such writers give instructions in applied political science. This intellectual position of Machiavelli may be called value-free political science.


Machiavelli's leading contribution to scientific method did not end there. He is also the formulator of power politics, again both in the pure sense and in the applied sense. Power politics in the pure sense is the theory that all politics can be clarified, and laws about political behavior can be stated, if a student assumes power to be the paramount object of politicians. Then everything will fall into place.

Thomas Hobbes (1558-1679) enlarged the Machiavellian approach, both as to value-free science and power politics. "All passions may be reduced to the Desire of Power," he said in Leviathan. As Hobbes wrote on and on, much of his work became diffuse and irrelevant, yet he sees the science of man as science more clearly than Machiavelli or anyone else before him.

Science is the knowledge of Consequences, and dependence of one fact upon another: by which, out of that we can presently do, we know how to do something else when we will, or the like, another time: Because when we see how any thing comes about, upon what causes, and by what manner; when the like causes come into our power, we see how to make it produce the like effects.

Science divides into natural philosophy "the Consequences from the Accidents of Bodies Naturall," and "Politiques and Civill Philosophy, the Consequences from the Accidents of Politique Bodies."

Most social scientists today have accepted the value-free theory of social science. A number of political scientists, such as Harold D. Lasswell, have focused their theory upon the power-politics approach. "The study of Politics," wrote Lasswell in Politics, "is the study of influence and the influential." No doubt, as the latter observes, the political world lends itself to the model of power-seeking. The science of economics later came to be brilliantly developed in a similar way, but around the concept of the gaining of wealth. Such models simplify (and, of course, may oversimplify and exclude other important models), but they are vastly useful to scientist and student alike.

On the applied side, the power-politics model is again useful because it lights up parts of the political process otherwise rarely viewed and gives instructions that are more effective than those commonly offered would-be politicians. Again the danger is oversimplification and an undesirable morality, overbalanced in the direction of an obsession with power as the only value (the same danger, incidentally, as when business is taught as ruthless passion for profits regardless of other values). Therefore, we say that Machiavelli made these great contributions to the procedures of pure and applied science. But they must be understood and restricted to their proper meanings and uses-not misunderstood and misapplied, as often happens today and happened on occasion even in the mind and life of their inventor.


Liberty has so many meanings that a portion of a late chapter will be given over to it. The concept of freedom from restraint, however, marks the end of the old order and the beginning of modern society. That places its general climax about 1776, the year of the American Declaration of Independence, Jeremy Bentham's Fragment on Government, Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, and Tom Paine's Common Sense. It belongs alongside the idea of individualism, a word which also is associated with the beginnings of modern democracy. If one asks why these two words came about, the answer would be that both of them expressed a feeling that persons did not often have in tighter societies of class and status, a feeling that a good society was one that put no bounds upon a person. In retrospect and objectively, it seems that "liberty" and "individualism" existed in many societies other than the "liberal" and "individualistic" ones of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

However that may be, there came into being a new conception of a "liberal state" and, in a few instances in Western Europe and America, actual attempts to bring into being "liberal" societies. Ideas of individualism began to appear frequently in political writings of mid-seventeenth-century England. Equality and reason were considered more and more to be the innate attributes of individuals. The Leveller movement in mid-seventeenth-century England, referred to earlier as a source of democratic ideas, insisted that all men were equal before God. It reduced all functions of government to the level of the body of individuals. It began to talk of the "rights of man." The Levellers failed to win over Cromwell and the Parliament, but their ideas were exported to America and the Continent. And certainly among the seventeenth-century inventors of "liberalism" must be listed John Locke.

Locke was a political consultant and a psychologist, as well as a political theorist. As consultant, it is interesting to note, he drew up a plan for the government of the American Carolinas that provided a feudal system pleasing to his noble clients, if not at all like the true individualistic Locke. But, in his role as psychologist, he asserted that individual experiences fully accounted for individual personality and knowledge, a theory that was forcefully translatable into individualistic politics. Locke the empiricist fathered Locke the exponent of individual liberties. He proposed to protect such individual liberties, furthermore, by a government that represented the express desires of elected delegates of the people.

In 1776 came the famous Wealth of Nations of Adam Smith. It presented a systematic case for a severely restricted government operating with a "let-business-alone," or "laissezfaire," policy. Economics was to be divorced from politics and allowed to follow natural laws governing demand and supply, production and consumption. For the best interests of society in general, the functions of government were to be limited to the protection of individuals from violence, to warding off injustice and oppression among individuals and groups, and to building and maintaining a few essential public works.

Smith's examination of economic phenomena and recommendations for economic policy played a large part in the limitation of the functions of the state, which occupied so many political philosophers and economic theorists during the nineteenth century. The utilitarian school of economics in England (Jeremy Bentham, James Mill, and John Stuart Mill, for example), Bastiat in France, Herbert Spencer in England, William Graham Sumner in America, and many others attacked, on principle, state intervention in economic affairs.

Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Age of Reason were radical works of a different sort than Smith's book. For we see in them, along with the same distrust of government as appears in Smith, a profound faith in human nature. Man is a reasonable being. All men are equal by birth and the laws should keep them equal. Religion is an obstacle to progress. The government must be strictly controlled. All should have the right to vote. So Paine sets the stage for a sort of majoritarian democracy which reminds one strongly of the Levellers and Rousseau. Although presenting himself almost as an anarchist in his hatred of the state, Paine makes drastic recommendations for reform and revolution which, to be carried out, demand a strong state. This was somewhat the predicament of Marx at a later date when in order to carry out the vast proletarian revolution, designed to destroy the state, Marx had to recommend a dictatorship to do so, adding wistfully that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be a temporary affair.

Perhaps in connection with the liberal state a word should be said of anarchism. Anarchists have uniformly believed that the primary condition for the establishment of social harmony and the abolition of social injustices lay in the abolition of the state entirely. There have been in general two types of anarchists, the philosophical or peaceful anarchists and the revolutionary or violent anarchists. Proudhon, Tucker, Tolstoi, and Kropotkin were cases of the first type, Bakunin and Max Stirner of the second. Proudhon argued that private property was ultimately a form of robbery. Tolstoi went back to early Christianity and based his pacifism and communism of possessions on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Kropotkin studied Darwinian theories of evolution; he came to believe that cooperation, not conflict, was the chief factor in promoting beneficial change for the species. Bakunin was the apostle of nihilism; he called for total destruction of every form of social organization and advocated terrorism, the destruction of the state by individual acts of violence. Stirner called progress an illusion and declared that only the complete and violent emancipation of the individual could achieve final and complete justice.

We have already mentioned Jeremy Bentham as a liberal and shall meet him again as a father of modern legal analysis. One of his most ardent disciples, John Stuart Mill (18061873), amplified the work of the master generously. His interests were similar-economics, logic, social reform, representative government-but his approach was much softer and more understanding of opposing views. Little wonder then that Mill could write a work on liberty with a depth of insight and sympathy impossible for Bentham. He could furthermore allow debate and discussion a more fundamental role in the discovery of truth. He was a defender of absolute individual liberty: "The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection." Yet, he could see in modified free enterprise and even socialism certain virtues denied to the vision (or patience) of Bentham. Even a century later Mill's studies of liberty and individualism indicate in a superior fashion the generally approved consequences of a liberal regime, such as individual creativity and the development of spontaneous and flexible character, that follow upon free speech, free press, and free enterprise. Mill, like Bentham, also wrote extensively on the methods of social science inquiry.

Again, as with "representative government," the cluster of key ideas in the liberal state have presented political science with a large budget of theories, practices, data, and propositions. It is a truism, but a very important one, that a science can only expand with the number of problems that it is given to solve. To their everlasting credit, it must be said that the Greeks were as busy developing science and method, as in the proliferation of issues and problems of politics. For almost a thousand years, from Augustine to Aquinas, there was almost no political analysis in Europe and little in the rest of the world. Then for five hundred years, many more problems and doctrines were handed to the field of political science than were dealt with by systematic knowledge and scientific intelligence. The subsequent period, from about 1800 to the present, has turned part way to redressing the balance. This has been the period of the social sciences, and the liberals were their founder.

* * *


The new science has tended towards a unity of method and substance. On the whole, it has adopted the subjects of ancient, medieval, and early modern times as its own. There are few new subjects in the new social sciences. Indeed, in one large sense, there are no new major generalities, and no new major applied forms of social relationships. Subatomic physics and microbiology, and nuclear power and chemical control of plants and animals, are more radical departures of subjectmatter from those of old physics and biology than any new social. science subject from its ancestors. That is because man is naturally a social scientist of sorts, and artificially a physicist. He has always known more in general about men than about non-men, even when he could not control himself or others. Now his main achievements must come in accenting the science in social science-the method and system, as opposed to the general content of behavior. Political science and social science have not failed. They have just begun. And their development is obscured by the circumstances of their new vigor. They grow in a time of great restlessness. The great wars, revolutions, and crises of the twentieth century found their roots not in a failure of science, but in the incapacity of modern society to settle down to a common standard of values, beliefs, and political practices and institutions.


A first great idea of recent times broke into the last sacred precincts of the old society, the courts and the law. Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) can be given major credit here. His philosophy, as we know, contained the essence of liberalism and a great deal more as well, for he was a logician, a grand reformer, a moral philosopher, and an economist. He owed something to Locke, but more to Hobbes, to the English "New Radicals" such as Paine, to continental writers such as G. B. Vico, who set out to organize a new science of man in his Scienza Nuova (1725) , and Beccaria, the Italian social reformer (Crimes and Punishments, 1764). He restated Adam Smith's position on behalf of free enterprise. He sought direct democracy so far as possible in government.

Besides all this, Bentham launched an attack against the traditional basis of English law (the common law) and sought to substitute therefor a system of positive legislation aimed at securing "the greatest happiness of the greatest number" (Beccaria's phrase). His Commentaries on the "holy book" of English and American law students, Blackstone, is one of the most scathing critiques in English literature. He published works on logical fallacies and on concepts as they occur in law and politics. Plunging into many fields, wielding his scythe of pleasure-or-pain to distinguish good from bad, Bentham was the archetype of the positive, rationalistic reformer.


As Bentham wrote, a new kind of political sociology was rising in France. Henri Saint-Simon (1760-1825) urged a reconstruction of society to provide a new leadership class from among the intellectuals and engineers of the industrial revolution. He would abolish the military, feudal, and religious leadership. Society ought to aim directly at the moral and physical betterment of the poor. All social resources are to be pooled in a single fund that is to be drawn upon by producing associations. Women are to receive complete equality with men. Saint-Simon and the cult that grew up around him were at once socialists, radical Christians, technocrats, and social scientists. Saint-Simon's ideas moved in many streams.

The passion of Saint-Simon was for applied social science. Every human relation, the Saint-Simonists believed, might be reorganized according to scientific principles. They went so far as to take up a new positivist position-that in science itself there could be discovered a new ethic and philosophy for society. This high and mighty position proved, however, to be a Tower of Babel, and the movement broke into hostile and mutually distrustful fragments. Yet no one can deny that it imparted an important vision of a society where the scientific approach in human affairs might bring extensive benefits.


The managerial social science of Saint-Simon became the workers' socialism of Marx and Engels. Several basic ideas characterized the thought of Karl Marx (1818-1883) , the leading member of the famous pair. Two of them can be regarded as among the great ideas of political science, and indeed of social science in general. One was economic determinism, the other the sociology of class. There had been predecessors of Marx in regard to both; the Greeks, of course, the Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406) on economic determinism, Adolphe de Cassagnac (1806-1880) on social class.

Marx and Engels examined history from primitive man to their own times and concluded that the search for subsistence was the dominant, even exclusive, theme of man's existence. All man's culture and ideas ultimately stemmed from the ways in which he coped with the struggle for property. Religion, politics, government, family institutions, relations between the sexes-all reflected and depended upon property. Strangely this theory, so common, too common, today, was strikingly novel a little over a century ago. Even discounting the extreme fashion in which it was presented and the other ideas of violence and class struggle that went with it, the idea was new and represented an important addition to political theory. No student of political affairs today fails to take account of how ideas and practices are influenced by economic conditions.


The same novelty was conceded the ideas of social class and the class struggle when Marx and Engels proposed them in The Communist Manifesto of 1848. They asserted that history represented the efforts of one class to dominate another, first the feudal class over the middle class, then the middle class over the working class; now the working class would abolish all classes and build a classless society.

The strength of a class depended on its control of the means of production. Therefore the means of production had to be wrested from the hands of the bourgeoisie; this meant destroying the state, which stands as guardian of the vested interests. There would follow a temporary classless state, when the workers would own the means of production in common, under the dictatorship of the proletariat. But the dictatorship, temporarily established for the revolution, would wither away and a stateless society would follow.

The various ideas of social class have been incorporated into the important field of the sociology of class, or social stratification. It must be admitted that the Marxist theories of class-consciousness have made the world and even political scientists, whether adverse or not, conscious of class.

The interpretation of modern society as the unjust rule of middle class wealth over the mass of people has characterized much of socialist thought as well, but the socialists may be distinguished from the Marxists communists (including such groups as the Trotskyites) in that they generally favored gradual, peaceful, and constitutional means of changing the system of ownership of society; usually they urged transferring machinery and large corporate agglomerations of property from private hands to state ownership. The socialists may trace their origins beyond Marx to writers like Fourier, the "scientific socialist" of the early nineteenth century. The cooperative movement in Scandinavia and other countries has many beliefs in common with the socialists, for it fights the concentration of wealth in a few hands by arranging for joint ownership and management of certain processes, goods, and operations by producers and consumers thereof. The English Fabian Socialists, led by intellectuals such as Sidney and Beatrice Webb, were the most successful of the reform socialists; they influenced the Labour Party, which came, in time, to govern England.


Marxism plunged the world's intellectuals into a social maelstrom. Society was not only becoming more complex as the industrial revolution proceeded, but interpretations of society were also becoming exceedingly involved. All manner of factors came to be taken into account in social science. Political science in the universities resisted longer than any other discipline the enlargement of its scope and method, but it too finally gave up in the last generation to the new complexity. Like sociology it found it had to consider the economic factor in politics, the religious factor, the pure power factor, the intelligence factor (it did know something of this), the psychological factor, and the ideological factor. Put them all together and one gets the "culture," the sum of related practices and attitudes in the political community.

The new idea of culture was related to the old one of the political community but with the large difference that the culture concept focused attention on the ways and rules by which a community handles its problems. The culture scientist is interested in the interrelations of all the behaviors and beliefs of a society. The anthropologists helped develop the concept because they could see a "culture" more distinctly and clearly in the small primitive communities they were studying.

It is in this larger context of culture that Max Weber, a German sociologist of the early twentieth century (18641921), can be understood and presented. A prodigious student of comparative cultures, he developed a method of social analysis that is sometimes called the ideal-type method, or, as here, the method of models of society. Weber wrote extensively in the fields of economic history and the history of administrative organization, on the literati (the influential intellectual officials of old China), the castes of India, the bureaucracy, traditional systems, and economic systems. Generally he tended to draw first a great and complete conception of how the society or institution tended to operate"all things being equal"-that is, what its "natural" functioning was like. Then as he described the myriad related details of structure, beliefs, and operations of a kind of society, he would cite exceptional or accidental or overlapping features of other kinds. His method generally proved to be a powerful tool of analysis, profound, suggestive, and possible to comprehend.

Since his work was done, both the culture-concept and model-building have been sometimes used in political writing, and more often in other social sciences. Especially for the larger subjects of political science, which treat of whole periods of civilization, whole institutions, complete political systems, and complete publics, this mode of attack has great promise. Its use brings generally a danger of some exaggeration (the exceptions may be left out) but more often a total comprehension impossible to obtain otherwise, and an appreciation of the meshing and interactive influence of a great many factors of all kinds in a single setting-an office, a political party, a society, or a church.


The Greeks, it was related, initiated the idea of democracy. Going further, they began the whole notion of forms of government, which they considered to be three-governments by the one, by the few, and by the many. The most abundant discussion of the forms of government has, however, occurred in modern times, concurrent with the entrance of people of all classes onto the political scene. Of all the discussions, perhaps the most illuminating from the standpoint of science has centered around government by the few - variously called aristocracy, oligarchy, or the elite.

As might be expected, elite theorists, as we shall call them, were many in number, ranging from those who urged an elite of birth or intelligence, to those who simply found the idea of an elite a useful tool in political analysis. We can begin with a group of aristocratic and conservative writers who were prominent in the nineteenth century. All of them were critical of important aspects of democracy and most of them rather pessimistic about the prospects for democratic survival. They harked back in many ways to Edmund Burke who had defended the English oligarchy against the English Radicals and French Jacobins during the revolutionary period of the eighteenth century. He had defended the class system and the prerogatives of the nobility and wealthy groups, claiming that their leadership and abilities provided peace, progress, and contentment for the nation. Not reason, he claimed, but long tradition and usage made government effective and good, and little could be expected of intemperate reforms. Burke's views characterized a number of the historians of the nineteenth century when they ventured into political writings. Taine, Guizot, and Lecky are examples.

In England also, Thomas Carlyle criticized the claim of the majority to rule and declared history to be the workings of a few great leaders of men and thought. Faguet in France denounced what he called the democratic "Cult of Incompetence." And Gaetano Mosca in Italy declared that forms of government such as democracy or monarchy are meaningless in the face of an invariable "ruling class" which directs the course of events. Ortega y Gasset summarized the aristocratic forebodings about the eventual fate of mass democracies, which one found a century earlier in de Tocqueville, by predicting the rise of dictatorships in his Revolt of the Masses. Walter Lippmann in America doubted the very existence of a majority on most questions and sought effective government by a small skilled group of statesmen cognizant of the public interest. James Burnham predicted, in line of descent from Saint-Simon and Mosca, a new ruling class of managers following upon a peaceable or violent Managerial Revolution

Drawing sustenance from Hegel, a number of organic idealists wrote in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Hegel saw the gigantic movements of history as the products of the human will and adulated the Prussian state as the embodiment of the highest form of will, completely dominant over the individuals of the society. For the state led the people just as the brain guides the human organism. United with the doctrines of the value of force and violence, the ethics of the national will may be found in forerunners of Fascism such as Treitschke, or in the philosophers of Fascism such as Gentile or Nazism such as Schmidt.

The defense of violence as a political instrument did not characterize the pre-Fascists alone. Nietzsche praised force and other techniques for the seizure of power that the nineteenth-century democracies had for the most part rejected. Like Carlyle, he regarded important historical events as the accomplishment of great men. He rejected Christianity and democracy as contemptibly mediocre and weak. The philosophical adoration of naked strength with a morality of its own reached its peak of frenzy with Nietzsche.

The scientific notion of the elite as a tool of analysis is to be found particularly in the works of Vilfredo Pareto (1848-1923). Pareto wrote voluminously and systematically, with a thorough command of engineering, mathematics, economics, history, and sociology. He insisted upon viewing society as a natural scientist would, without fear or favor, as a working out of laws of human behavior that could form the basis for prediction and a limited degree of control. Not since Pythagoras was anyone so completely taken with the idea of a mathematical description of society.

He criticized Marx's economic determinism, showing that what was economic behavior in Marxist eyes could be ideological behavior in a sociologist's eyes. The structure of men's thoughts determine their economic behavior and economic institutions. Politics are run by a few men everywhere. This elite, more often than not, has a military or power-hungry cast of mind, of temperament, and of habit, rather than being business-minded. So the state, far from being the superstructure resting on the dominance of the bourgeoisie, as the communists believed, was usually the master of the business classes. At the least, the government was an important independent factor in the determination of public policies, including business policy.

Roberto Michels integrated the work of Pareto and Weber in a number of minor studies and contributed perhaps the greatest case study of political institutions ever written, Political Parties (1915) . In this work, which dealt with the ideology, structure, and functioning of the democratic parties of early twentieth-century Europe, he propounded his Iron Law of Oligarchy. There he revealed the apparently irresistible tendencies of groups, organized in democratic ways for democratic aims, to develop into groups run by a few men mostly for their own goals.


John Dewey (1859-1962) , a prolific writer and long-lived sage of American instrumentalism (pragmatism), was outside the immediate intellectual and moral circles of the Europeans just discussed. Despite his knowledge of the Greek classics, his study of German idealist philosophy, and his sojourn in the Orient, he was imbued with American culture and problems. His original and important theories grew out of American educational philosophy and psychology. Beneath all of Dewey's production was the driving desire to make Jeffersonian and Lincolnian democracy work, from the nursery to the grave.

He developed a new logic that wedded wants and thought. Man thinks because he must solve problems. Logic as a tool of inquiry must be made part of the process of living, individual or mass. Political activity should be regarded as a simple extension of other forms of activity: it is made "political" because it has indirect consequences for a great many people. The great problem of democracy, he declared in The Public and Its Problems (1927), is to assure among the vast public the fullest communication of goals, needs, policies, and consequences of actions. Elections, laws, rules, and all other devices and institutions have to be judged good or bad as they contributed to the citizens' mutual understanding. The final values of man emerge from the process of solving life's problems in a socially compatible way.


It is the wise man, said Aristotle, who will be as precise as his material permits. One trouble of older forms of expression was this indefinite quality. This took two forms, multiple meanings and not referring to real events. Take the sentence: "Behind the defeat of the Persians lay the genius of the Greeks." The sentence is too broad. It says little, although it is stirring to all who are siding with the Greeks and love what they believe to be genius. Actually it indicates only the statement " Something some Greeks had, had something to do with some defeat some Persians had. " That is, the story begins, not concludes with the sentence. "Genius" and other words in the sentence mean only vaguely the same thing to all readers. The musician is likely to think of genius as peculiarly aesthetic; a soldier thinks of Greek military formations. But worst of all, the sentence does not refer to any observable connection between the genius and defeat. Moreover one is entitled to suspect that no such operational contact exists.

It would be foolish to say that such "operational" thoughts did not occur to many men who never heard of the term "operationalism." What the term "operational inquiry" denotes is that a statement about observed events can be tested, and besides is phrased in language concrete enough to let everyone talk intelligibly about the events. The philosophy of operational inquiry holds that a great improvement in social science will occur as scientists insist upon the language and events-oriented approach of operationalism. Noticeably, since Machiavelli's value-free mode of inquiry, and through one line of descent from Max Planck, Einstein, and other natural scientists to Bridgman and Eddington, and through a second line of descent from Hobbes, Bentham, Durkheim, Max Weber, Pareto, and other social scientists to Dewey, the line of descent is growing stronger, the descendents more numerous. The language and meaning of words in political and social science are ever more distinct from their classical ancestors.

To summarize, operationalism in political science begins with realism (Machiavelli). It takes a value-free position (Machiavelli). It holds that reality has infinite complexity (a political party can be described by millions of words and from innumerable points of view). It aims at using some portion of this complexity to solve a problem (such as, what happens to the number of members in a party when dues are charged). It uses words to get this reality into a position where we can work with it to suit our needs. (We define terms such as party, member, dues, and charged in a tight empirically testable way.) Once it thus comes to grip with its created reality, it can experiment with and test that reality (as for instance by varying the dues and watching for a decline in numbers). What is really known then is a set of operations that we can confidently say will have certain consequences if they are performed. These, then, are the working parts of one of the greatest instruments ever devised by man to deal with his environment, whether human or natural. As Dewey wrote in his Quest for Certainty, "A genuine idealism and one compatible with science will emerge as soon as philosophy accepts the teaching of science that ideas are statements not of what is or has been but of acts to be performed."


One more idea arrests our attention in this chapter, the concept of an unconscious part of man's personality that works continuously to shape and influence his behavior. Hints of this notion come from all over the world and from antiquity, but Sigmund Freud is unchallenged as discoverer of the phenomenon and developer of its implications. Harold D. Lasswell (1902- ) has in turn established the idea in the body of political science. Exploitation of the "unconscious" has rapidly opened up the field of political psychology, including factors that enter into public opinion, leadership, policy decisions, motives, ideologies, and organizational behavior. No subject of political science, and no applications of political science, are untouched by the new knowledge that has flowed from the realization that political man can be only understood and acted upon through his hidden and concealed drives, feelings, and predispositions.

Lasswell's career has been constructed of all modern intellectual forces, in a unique fashion. The European masters of political sociology and the American pragmatists coalesce with the psychoanalytic movement in his intellect. Consequently, in his numerous works, one discovers a language, logic, concepts, principles, and emphases formed out of a profound appreciation of these differing minds, and combined in style and language that can only be called Lasswellian. His Psychopathology and Politics and Power and Society are of paramount importance to modern political theory. Even though he is a theorist of general social science, he is an inventor and developer of research techniques in the areas of content analysis, political psychology, law, and the sociology of leadership. There is scarcely a field of social science that he has not touched upon and improved.

Like his contemporary peers, Lasswell is first a scientist, which means methodologist and validator of propositions about man-as-he-is, rather than a moralist. Yet as the sum of his writings mount, he approaches the condition of Dewey, whose total creation had a heavy impact on moral thought. Lasswell approaches morality gently, coaxing it out of natural social behavior, so to speak. He concludes with less of a triumphant new statement of ethics than with a clarification of how human dignity and welfare can be served by the logic and empirical methods of the policy sciences.

* * *


The list of basic ideas has served to give preliminary shape to the study of political science. It has also indicated something of the role that individual political scientists play, and a few more words to this point may be said by way of concluding.

A suspicious reader may perceive in the story of basic ideas presented in these pages a bias toward Western political science. Averroes, the Muslim Aristotelian, is not ranked with Aquinas, the Christian Aristotelian. Ibn Khaldun is not credited with the basic development of the idea of world history over Augustine. Aristotle and Plato, not Kautilya of India, are credited with perceiving political science as a body of instructions. Machiavelli, not Kautilya of India, is called the founder of the idea of power politics. (In Kautilya's Arthasastra [about 321-300 B.C.] is found an encyclopedia of rules for administering a government. The science of governing, Dandaniti, is the queen of sciences. It applies the triple Vedas (knowledge of righteous and unrighteous acts), and the Varta (knowledge of agriculture and trade), by means of its own sciences of the expedient and inexpedient [Nayanayan] and power and impotency [Balabale]). Nor are the great ideas traced into Sumeria, Egypt, the Sudan, Persia, or China, where undoubtedly some or all of them have occurred to men. The imperial administration of China was independent of the great Roman development. The organization and philosophy of the social division of labor was well developed in India two thousand years ago.

It would be dishonorable and incorrect, by way of self-justification, to hide behind the historical and philosophical authorities who have not only dominated Western minds but trained the Eastern minds as well. The correct explanations are simple enough. By historical interpenetration, the Near East, the Middle East, and Africa are involved. The American Indian civilizations have given us no political literature to speak of and the line of descent of their ideas is still working below the surface of the Western Hemisphere countries. Chinese and Indian literature has been more exclusively didactic, moralistic, intuitive, and fragmentary than the Western literature. Western man has been more vocal, more socially self-conscious, more possessed of glimmerings of the methods and principles of pure science from the beginning. Even so, in the life of man, these 2500 years and few ideas must appear a small matter. There were 500,000 years before and there are more millenia to come, and many more ideas came before and many more will come after. Hence, although reasonable disputation may be in order, there should be little place for partisan or ethnic quarrels in a tentative history of ideas.

Great ideas - whether moral or scientific - cannot come from one man, either. He represents his teachers. Plato bespoke the Sophists. Aristotle repeated Plato. Bentham reflected the Levellers, English revolutionaries of a century earlier. Pareto reflected Comte, the "Father of Sociology." In turn, those that follow modify; sometimes they improve, sometimes they destroy. The Roman jurists who worked on the Great Code of Justinian systematized some views of Cicero. Referring to his disciples, Marx once said in disgust: "I am not a Marxist." Moreover, political philosophers draw from other fields some of their greatest ideas. Smith was primarily an economist and psychologist. Mill was an economist and logician. Marx was trained in the idealistic philosophy of, Hegel.

Also a movement may bring forth great ideas that can hardly be ascribed to a single man. An example is the Bible, that treasure of moral rules and observations about man's soul. There is much of politics there, and many authors. The Sophists were many in number. It is difficult to say who was the most original Stoic, even though we have chosen Zeno. The pragmatists Charles Pierce and William James lent much to Dewey. Furthermore, ideas that are in the air can be independently invented. Gaetano Mosca developed a theory of rule by the few at about the same time as Pareto. Should Gentili or Hugo Grotius, who wrote a grand treatise a few years after him, be credited as the inventor of international law? The limits of individual responsibility are manifest.

Moreover, it is important to note our emphasis finally upon great philosophers and scientists, instead of great men who are incidentally philosophers, or powerful men whose ideas have influenced the course of history. That is why, for example, the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic, who wrote a beautiful little book of Meditations in the Stoic vein, is not emphasized; nor Jefferson (who wrote voluminously but unsystematically) or Woodrow Wilson (even though Wilson was a fine political scientist); nor Napoleon or Mussolini, both of whom had original ideas about the structure of the modern state and human motivation.

Then many leaders, such as Akhnaton, Moses, Augustus Caesar, Louis XIV, King George 111, Hitler, Stalin, and Franklin Roosevelt, have had important effects upon their age, but their ideas have been incoherent, or unsystematic, or imitative, or undeveloped. Therefore they are excluded here. But how they behave and think is information upon which political science depends greatly for its theories.

A final point needs to be made. A glance at the luxuriant growth of political values and studies in history shows that society is misunderstood when it is oversimplified. The world of ideas is not divided into two-totalitarian and democratic. Reality is much more complicated. It is also more durable. No sweeping doctrine of history-nor even a great war-can wipe the slate of history clean and start humanity along a common path. The ghosts of history haunt banquets that toast the future.

The proliferation of major values imposes burdens upon political science. There is a multiplicity of frames of reference for viewing society. There are many objectives. There exist many methods of seeking truth. There is a grand confusion of findings, because the seemingly most innocent statement of a political fact often turns out to be based on controversial premises about what is good or bad, or about what is the nature of man. The achievement of common goals promises to be a lengthy and painful process, the outlines and limits of which cannot be now foreseen. Even the desirability of agreement on ends is in question.

Thus a great waste of time and effort is unavoidable in reaching agreement on matters to be studied, on methods of studying them, and on criteria for establishing the validity of findings. Political science has been called the Queen of Sciences. The name perhaps fits her lofty concerns and goals. But her subjects are unruly and the boundaries of her kingdom unmarked.

PC.GIF     PC.GIF    

 Table of Contents