What is the history of political thought?
As man progresses, society and societal rules become more and more complex. Along with that, the necessity for developing inclusive political policies, introducing adequate political reforms, and ensuring proper governance becomes essential. The development of political thought goes back to the origin of civilizations. Most civilizations began with the establishment of monarchies; however, as society progressed, democracy became a favored form of governance. Moreover, these changes in the political thought of humankind became possible after many centuries of economic and political reforms.
Some the essential features regarding the history of political thought that are also the topics for custom essay writing, are as follows:
Changes in societal order
Political participation and the changes that it can bring to the societal order go back to the Ancient Greeks. Thus, one of the major factors that bring about changes in the political thought processes of humanity is changing societal order. As man becomes educated and society becomes more complex, so does political thought. Since the Mohenjo-Daro Harappa civilizations, the Babylonian civilization, or the Egyptian civilization, societal orders have been continuously changing. Each change has contributed to bringing about changes in the political thought processes of humanity and humankind as a whole. Thus, the history of political thought goes back to the time man became civilized and started living in specific communities and societies. As society became more complex, it became essential for the common man to step out and participate in the politics of the state. As he became more involved, the requirement for selecting representatives became important. This gave rise to the idea of election and the importance of choosing virtuous leaders to lead the nation. Although the ancient Greeks initiated this notion, the requirement for this process cannot be denied even now. It will not be wrong to say that the nations that have thrived and are still thriving are built on the ideas of democracy and freedom. Thus, as societal order changed, so did political thought, and its roots go back to the beginning of humanity's civilization.
Writings of major political thinkers
Most social thinkers and political philosophers opine that political thought gains a new dimension, only when humanity goes through major social, economic, or political upheavals. However, the inspiration for these upheavals can be traced back to the writings of many social and political thinkers. If you read John Locke's Two Treatises of Government, you will find that it laid the foundation of modern notions about liberalism. Locke is considered to be the 'Father of Liberalism,' and he was amongst the first political thinkers to introduce the concept of equality and liberty. He also spoke against discrimination base on race, creed, religion, and gender. The notion of gender equality traces its roots back to the Enlightenment Era. However, Locke's theories themselves are inspired by the Greek Antiquity. It was the Greeks who first introduced a basic form of democratic government. They insisted on the participation of the common man in devising political policies and reforms. It was the writings of Plato and Aristotle that gave importance to political involvement. Plato, in his Republic, tries to define justice from a philosophical perspective. He insists that any form of authoritarian government that infringes on the liberty and freedom of man should be removed. A man should be allowed to pursue the profession of his choice and learn to live in moderation. According to Plato, both riches and poverty can corrupt humankind. Thus, political thought has to change depending on the economic condition of the nation. It was from the writings of Plato and Aristotle that Locke, Rousseau, and Voltaire were inspired to develop the notions of equality and liberty. They believed that all men are born equal, and discrimination based on birth should be done away with entirely. Thus, Greek Antiquity and the Enlightenment Era both inspired modern political thought.
Revolutions and increased involvement of common man in politics
It was the French Revolution that laid the foundation for the development of a society based on equality. It also saw the end of the feudal system of governance. The idea of a community that seeks 'equality, fraternity, and liberty' slowly started to permeate the political thought of social thinkers with the French Revolution. Though the Revolution itself was inspired by the writings of famous philosophers like Locke and Rousseau, it was ultimately a revolution that helped man rethink his political ideas. Before the French Revolution, the monarchy was considered to be the only form of governance. However, after the Revolution, a new way of management and modern political thoughts began to take shape. The French Revolution inspired many other nations to rise against their feudal masters. The impact of the Revolution was felt across the Atlantic as well. The effect of the Revolution and its concept of liberty and equality helped in designing American politics.
Similarly, the World Wars also helped in changing the political thoughts across the world. The cause of the World Wars, too, can be traced back to the economic crisis, war efforts by powerful nations, and inequality. After the devastating effect of World War II, it became necessary for man to change his political thought completely. The roots of the present notion of international cooperation and understanding go back to World War II. The requirement for increased international collaboration became evident after many countries became capable of developing a nuclear weapon. The need for controlling the development of atomic weapons was another cause for this increased international cooperation. Thus, revolutions and wars have played critical roles in shaping modern political thought.
Thus, modern political thought processes go back to the beginning of civilization. As man progresses, the need for developing proper political systems, justice systems, and governance became important. Humankind was able to achieve this painfully and through bloodshed, in the form of revolutions and wars. However, without these, the development of modern political thought would not have been possible. Social thinkers and political reformers too played very important roles in bringing about these changes. So as man progresses, so will political thought and concepts.
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Author: Frank Taylor