O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Politics Book

Book Description

The Politics Book clearly and simply explains more than one hundred groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought.

Using easy-to-follow graphics and artworks, succinct quotations, and thoroughly accessible text, The Politics Book elucidates the theoretical foundations-as well as the practical applications-of political thought, making abstract concepts concrete.

The Politics Book includes innovative ideas from ancient and medieval philosophers ranging from Confucius and Thomas Aquinas to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky. The voices that have shaped modern politics today, from Mao Zedong to Malcolm X, are also included, giving anyone with an interest in politics an essential resource to political thinking and policy.

The Politics Book includes:

- Key ideas from more than one hundred of the great politicians and political thinkers from antiquity to present day

- Biographies and context boxes to give the full historical context of each idea

- A reference section with a glossary of political terms and a directory of political thinkers

The clear and concise summaries, graphics, and quotations in The Politics Book will help even the complete novice understand the fascinating world of political thought.

Table of Contents

  1. INTRODUCTION
  2. ANCIENT POLITICAL THOUGHT 800 BCE–30 CE
    1. If your desire is for good, the people will be good • Confucius
    2. The art of war is of vital importance to the state • Sun Tzu
    3. Plans for the country are only to be shared with the learned • Mozi
    4. Until philosophers are kings, cities will never have rest from their evils • Plato
    5. Man is by nature a political animal • Aristotle
    6. A single wheel does not move • Chanakya
    7. If evil ministers enjoy safety and profit, this is the beginning of downfall • Han Fei Tzu
    8. The government is bandied about like a ball • Cicero
  3. MEDIEVAL POLITICS 30 CE–1515 CE
    1. If justice be taken away, what are governments but great bands of robbers? • Augustine of Hippo
    2. Fighting has been enjoined upon you while it is hateful to you • Muhammad
    3. The people refuse the rule of virtuous men • Al-Farabi
    4. No free man shall be imprisoned, except by the law of the land • Barons of King John
    5. For war to be just, there is required a just cause • Thomas Aquinas
    6. To live politically means living in accordance with good laws • Giles of Rome
    7. The Church should devote itself to imitating Christ and give up its secular power • Marsilius of Padua
    8. Government prevents injustice, other than such as it commits itself • Ibn Khaldun
    9. A prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honor his word • Niccolò Machiavelli
  4. RATIONALITY AND ENLIGHTENMENT 1515–1770
    1. In the beginning, everything was common to all • Francisco de Vitoria
    2. Sovereignty is the absolute and perpetual power of a commonwealth • Jean Bodin
    3. The natural law is the foundation of human law • Francisco Suárez
    4. Politics is the art of associating men • Johannes Althusius
    5. Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves • Hugo Grotius
    6. The condition of man is a condition of war • Thomas Hobbes
    7. The end of law is to preserve and enlarge freedom • John Locke
    8. When legislative and executive powers are united in the same body, there can be no liberty • Montesquieu
    9. Independent entrepreneurs make good citizens • Benjamin Franklin
  5. REVOLUTIONARY THOUGHTS 1770–1848
    1. To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man • Jean-Jacques Rousseau
    2. No generally valid principle of legislation can be based on happiness • Immanuel Kant
    3. The passions of individuals should be subjected • Edmund Burke
    4. Rights dependent on property are the most precarious • Thomas Paine
    5. All men are created equal • Thomas Jefferson
    6. Each nationality contains its center of happiness within itself • Johann Gottfried Herder
    7. Government has but a choice of evils • Jeremy Bentham
    8. The people have a right to keep and bear arms • James Madison
    9. The most respectable women are the most oppressed • Mary Wollstonecraft
    10. The slave feels self-existence to be something external • Georg Hegel
    11. War is the continuation of Politik by other means • Carl von Clausewitz
    12. Abolition and the Union cannot coexist • John C. Calhoun
    13. A state too extensive in itself ultimately falls into decay • Simón Bolívar
    14. An educated and wise government recognizes the developmental needs of its society • José María Luis Mora
    15. The tendency to attack “the family” is a symptom of social chaos • Auguste Comte
  6. THE RISE OF THE MASSES 1848–1910
    1. Socialism is a new system of serfdom • Alexis de Tocqueville
    2. Say not I, but we • Giuseppe Mazzini
    3. That so few dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time • John Stuart Mill
    4. No man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent • Abraham Lincoln
    5. Property is theft • Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
    6. The privileged man is a man depraved in intellect and heart • Mikhail Bakunin
    7. That government is best which governs not at all • Henry David Thoreau
    8. Communism is the riddle of history solved • Karl Marx
    9. The men who proclaimed the republic became the assassins of freedom • Alexander Herzen
    10. We must look for a central axis for our nation • Ito Hirobumi
    11. The will to power • Friedrich Nietzsche
    12. It is the myth that is alone important • Georges Sorel
    13. We have to take working men as they are • Eduard Bernstein
    14. The disdain of our formidable neighbor is the greatest danger for Latin America • José Martí
    15. It is necessary to dare in order to succeed • Peter Kropotkin
    16. Either women are to be killed, or women are to have the vote • Emmeline Pankhurst
    17. It is ridiculous to deny the existence of a Jewish nation • Theodor Herzl
    18. Nothing will avail to save a nation whose workers have decayed • Beatrice Webb
    19. Protective legislation in America is shamefully inadequate • Jane Addams
    20. Land to the tillers! • Sun Yat-Sen
    21. The individual is a single cog in an ever-moving mechanism • Max Weber
  7. THE CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES 1910–1945
    1. Nonviolence is the first article of my faith • Mahatma Gandhi
    2. Politics begin where the masses are • Vladimir Lenin
    3. The mass strike results from social conditions with historical inevitability • Rosa Luxemburg
    4. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last • Winston Churchill
    5. The Fascist conception of the state is all-embracing • Giovanni Gentile
    6. The wealthy farmers must be deprived of the sources of their existence • Joseph Stalin
    7. If the end justifies the means, what justifies the end? • Leon Trotsky
    8. We will unite Mexicans by giving guarantees to the peasant and the businessman • Emiliano Zapata
    9. War is a racket • Smedley D. Butler
    10. Sovereignty is not given, it is taken • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
    11. Europe has been left without a moral code • José Ortega y Gasset
    12. We are 400 million people asking for liberty • Marcus Garvey
    13. India cannot really be free unless separated from the British empire • Manabendra Nath Roy
    14. Sovereign is he who decides on the exception • Carl Schmitt
    15. Communism is as bad as imperialism • Jomo Kenyatta
    16. The state must be conceived of as an “educator” • Antonio Gramsci
    17. Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun • Mao Zedong
  8. POSTWAR POLITICS 1945–PRESENT
    1. The chief evil is unlimited government • Friedrich Hayek
    2. Parliamentary government and rationalist politics do not belong to the same system • Michael Oakeshott
    3. The objective of the Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system • Abul Ala Maududi
    4. There is nothing to take a man’s freedom away from him, save other men • Ayn Rand
    5. Every known and established fact can be denied • Hannah Arendt
    6. What is a woman? • Simone de Beauvoir
    7. No natural object is solely a resource • Arne Naess
    8. We are not anti-white, we are against white supremacy • Nelson Mandela
    9. Only the weak-minded believe that politics is a place of collaboration • Gianfranco Miglio
    10. During the initial stage of the struggle, the oppressed tend to become oppressors • Paulo Freire
    11. Justice is the first virtue of social institutions • John Rawls
    12. Colonialism is violence in its natural state • Frantz Fanon
    13. The ballot or the bullet • Malcolm X
    14. We need to “cut off the king’s head” • Michel Foucault
    15. Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves • Che Guevara
    16. Everybody has to make sure that the rich folks are happy • Noam Chomsky
    17. Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance • Martin Luther King
    18. Perestroika unites socialism with democracy • Mikhail Gorbachev
    19. The intellectuals erroneously fought Islam • Ali Shariati
    20. The hellishness of war drives us to break with every restraint • Michael Walzer
    21. No state more extensive than the minimal state can be justified • Robert Nozick
    22. No Islamic law says violate women’s rights • Shirin Ebadi
    23. Suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation • Robert Pape
  9. DIRECTORY
  10. GLOSSARY
  11. CONTRIBUTORS
  12. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  13. COPYRIGHT