Meaning of Political Science Reduced to its simplest terms, political science is the systematic study of the state1 and government. The word “political” is derived from the Greek word polis, meaning city, or what today would be the equivalent of a sovereign state. The word “science” comes from the Latin word scire, “to know”. (1) The science of politics2, therefore, has, as its formal object, a basic knowledge and understanding of the state and of the principles and ideals which underlie its organization and activities. (2) It is primarily concerned with the association of human beings into a “body politic”, or a political community (one organized under government and law). (3) As such, it deals with those relations among men and groups which are subject to control by the state, with the relations of men and groups to the state itself, and with the relations of the state to other states. 3

Scope of Political Science Political Science is a very comprehensive field. Its curriculum is almost certain to include courses in political theory, public law, and public administration as well as in various more specialized subjects. 4 (1) Political theory. – The entire body of doctrine relating to the origin, form, behavior, and purposes of the state are dealt with in the study of this subject. (2) Public law. – The (a) organizations of governments, (b) the limitations upon government authority, (c) the powers and duties of governmental offices and officers, and (d) the obligations of one state to another are handled in the study of public law. In contradistinction to the rules of private law, which governs the relations among individuals, public law is so specialized that separate courses are offered in each of its subdivisions – constitutional law (a,b),administrative law (c), and international law (d). (3) Public administration. – In the study of public administration, attention is focused upon the methods and techniques used in the actual management of state affairs by executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. As the complexity of government activities grows, the traditional distinctions among the powers of these branches become even less clear-cut5. Today, legislative bodies have been forced to delegate greater discretion to executive officers responsible for the conduct of government policies and powers. Thus, we find many administrative agencies exercising quasi-legislative and quasi-judicial powers, i.e., powers which are legislative (see Art. VI, Sec. 1) and judicial (see Art. VIII, Sec. 1) in nature. Administrative law, already referred to, also falls within the scope of any broad study of public administration. 6 1

upon domestic and foreign politics) indicates one approach which a political scientist frequently must adopt to help explain such phenomena as the early growth of democracy in Great Britain and the United States and its retarded growth in certain Continental Europe. social. sources of raw materials. and activities of states. etc. these fields are jointly concerned with the fact that economic conditions affect the organization. and conservation. and with the patterns of collective human behavior. The political scientist frequently adopts a “historical approach” and employs the knowledge of the past when he seeks to interpret present and probable developments in political phenomena. which in turn modify or even prescribe economic conditions. (6) Philosophy.. with the abiding influences of race and culture upon society. 7 Today. – The political scientist. too. geography. (2) Economics. These concepts are the underlying forces in the framing of constitutions and laws. Aristotle and Locke (and other universal thinkers about the state) are important to the specialist in academic philosophy and also to the political scientist. distribution. – The political scientist as well as the psychologist promotes studies of the mental and emotional processes motivating the political behavior of individuals and groups. (4) Sociology and anthropology. – Geopolitics (a science concerned with the study of the influences of physical factors such as population pressures. and consumption of wealth) were coupled inter the name “political economy”. One of the many topics which the political scientist handles from a “psychological approach” is that of public opinion. The political scientist regularly adopts an “economic approach” when seeking to interpret such matters as “public financial policies” and government regulation of business. – Until late in the 19th century. and cultural development) are all deeply concerned with the origins and nature of social control and governmental authority. The political scientist considers the branch of philosophy called ethics. political science and economics (the study of the production. – The bond between the political scientist and the historian is obvious in the observation that “history is past politics and politics present history”. pressure groups. and he must employ 2 . and the anthropologist (who studies “mankind” in relation to physical. It shares many points of common interest with other social disciplines. – The political theorist must possess a broad scientific background and knowledge of current political problems. development.Interrelationship with other branches of learning. when he contemplates the moral background of proposed changes in social legislation. No precise and definitive boundaries can be placed around a subject as comprehensive as political science. the sociologist (who specializes in the study of “society as a whole”). – The concepts and doctrines of Plato. and propaganda. (7) Statistics and logic. (3) Geography. (5) Psychology. (1) History. and the rise of authoritarian governments in developing countries.

Intelligent. the political scientist has to combine the legal with the extra-legal viewpoints. responsible citizenship can save democracy. The preparation of students for careers in politics. and psychological foundations of law. ignorance and negligence can lose it. and a wide range of other matters that are urgent concern to public officials and to private citizens. and judges who need models or norms that can be applied to immediate situations.scientific methods in gathering and evaluating data and in drawing conclusions. 11 Function and importance of political science. sociological. vocational)? (1) Education for citizenship. These involve a proper application of statistical procedures for the quantitative measurement of social phenomena and of logical procedures for the analysis of reasoning. All states proclaim laws. governmental economic programs. To maintain a full understanding of the facts of political life. bearing no materialistic price tag and promising no job security. (2) Its findings and conclusions may be of immense practical use to constitution-markers. – Most political science courses should be viewed as essential parts of liberal education. legislators. it should be made clear that the primary objective of the political science curriculum is education for citizenship. historical. Why should the university or college student study political science? What good will it do him or her. 9 A comprehension of the nature of law) whether the “natural law” or the “divine law”) and of statues enacted by legislatures is indispensable to the political theorist.. Again. and the foreign service (though vitally important) is secondary to the task of equipping them to discharge the obligations of democratic citizenship. and enforce them through a system of penalties or sanctions. (1) The function of political science is to discover the principles that should be adhered to in public affairs and to study the operations of government in order to demonstrate what is good. (3) The study of political science deals also with problems of social welfare. 12 Goal in study of political science courses. teaching. international cooperation. in later life? Will it help in getting a job – in “getting ahead”? Are political science courses “practical” (i. executives. (2) Essential parts of liberal education. 8 (8) Jurisprudence. – In answer. Such shop-worn adjectives as “practical” and “cultural” have no relevance here. – This branch of public law is concerned with the analysis of existing legal systems and also with the ethical. they may be of immense practical use to individuals who seek to understand that state in which they live. law. to criticize what bad or inefficient. and to suggest improvements. effective within their jurisdictions.e. 3 . which grows constantly heavier in the modern world. 10 Law and state are inseparable. the civil service.

Ideally. and enjoying freedom from external control. Study.480. 14 The Philippines is a state. 16 The island Republic of Nauru17 has a total population of only about 9. and aerial. are ruled by Pope. it should be neither too small nor too large: small enough to be wellgoverned and large enough to be self-sufficing. 13 B. He must know how his government really operates.44 square 4 . maritime. Elements of state. but also the rivers and lakes therein. (Aerial domain). The smallest state in point of territory is Vatican. The Philippines is estimated to have a population of about 88.000 at the end of 2006 according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics.574.614 as of August 1. The modern state has four (4) essential elements. and the air space above the land and the waters.000. (3) Knowledge as understanding of government.”eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. – It includes not only the fixed portion of land over which the jurisdiction of the state extends (territorial domain). and understanding of the complexities of modern government and politics are necessary as eternal vigilance. – Political science seeks to gather and impart this knowledge and understanding. They are: (1) People. what his rights and obligations are. fluvial. Its estimated 900 citizens. China is the largest in point of population placed at 1. a certain area of the sea which abuts upon its coasts (fluvial and maritime domain). mainly clerics and some Swiss guards. having a government of their own to which the great body of inhabitants render obedience. 15 Reputedly the smallest state in point of population is the Vatican.314. 18 composed mostly of Malays and Chinese. CONCEPTS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT Meaning of state. who his elected representatives are. Just how much is freedom worth? The oft-repeated but seldom comprehended quotation. what they stand for.” requires amendment. Without people there can be no functionaries to govern and no subjects to be governed. (2) Territory.17 square mile or 0. information. A state is a community of persons more or less numerous.Democracy has practical advantages which no one can appraise in monetary terms. – This refers to the inhabitants living within the state. permanently occupying a definite portion of territory. located just outside the western boundary of Rome with an area of only 0. what interests and forces are behind particular policies. what the results of such policies are likely to be. Thus the domain of the state may be described as terrestrial. The “good” citizen who behaves himself and votes regularly is no longer enough. 2007. There is no requirement as to the number of people that should compose a state.

It is the smallest independent nation in the world. but are not part of the government.674 square miles or about 9. and (b) External or the freedom of the state to carry out its activities without subjection to or control by other states. and (4) Sovereignty. expressed and carried out. This theory justifies the right of the people to revolt against a bad ruler. – The term may be defined as the supreme power of the state to command and enforce obedience to its will from people within its jurisdiction and corollarily. and the nation became a state. – It holds that the state is of divine creation and the ruler is ordained by God to govern the people. The word is sometimes used to refer to the person or aggregate of those persons in whose hands are placed for the time being the function of political control. then developed into a tribe which broadened into a nation. Origin of states.849.kilometer. of international law. the family grew into a clan.599. These internal and external aspects of sovereignty are not absolutely true in practice because of the development of international relations and consequently. By natural stages. The former Soviet Union19 was the largest state in point or territory with its total land area of about 8. – It refers to the agency through which the will of the state is formulated. Canada has an area of about 3. There are several theories concerning the origin of states. This “body of men” is usually spoken of as “administration”. by some great warriors who imposed their will upon the weak. to have freedom from foreign control. The Republic of Nauru has an area of about 8 square miles or 21 square kilometers. The Philippines has a total land area of about 115. and (4) Social contract theory.610 square kilometers20 which covers a surface nearly as large as Europe.970. among which are: (1) Divine right theory. It has. The ordinary citizens of a country are a part of the state.. – It attributes the origin of states to the enlargement of the family which remained under the authority of the father or mother.610 square miles or 22.273.955 square kilometers. External sovereignty is often referred to as independence. (3) Paternalistic theory. 5 . (3) Government. – It asserts that the early states must have been formed by deliberate and voluntary compact among the people to form a society and organize government for their common good. two manifestations: (a) Internal or the power of the state to rule within its territory. therefore. It would fit in Rizal Park in Manila. (2) Necessity or force theory. Reference has been made by advocates of this theory to the laws which Moses received at Mount Sinai.813 square miles or about 299.674 square kilometers. – It maintains that states must have been created through force.

Jordan. language. Nation should not also be confused with state as they are not the same. its form may change. As ordinarily. but the state. There was no Philippine state during those periods when we were under foreign domination. The United States is a melting pot of several nationalities. while nation is an ethnic concept. In common speech. dealings of the state with foreign powers (constituent functions) and (b) the advancement of the physical. A government may change. Syria. On the other hand. we had various governments at different periods of our history. Thus. however. and vice versa. remains the same. (4) In common usage. (2) A state is not subject to external control while nation may or may not be independent of external control. A state cannot exist without a government. from pre-Spanish times to the present. the former is meant when the latter is mentioned. and others. the latter is the principal. but it is possible to have a government without a state. however. (1) The state is a political concept. customs. It is necessary for (a) the protection of society and its members. and who believe that they are one and distinct from others.It is not known exactly which of the above theories is the correct one. The term is more strictly synonymous with “people”. State distinguished from government. A nation is a group of people bound together by certain characteristics such as common social origin. Purpose and necessity of government. the two terms are often used synonymously. The former is the agent. the security of persons and property. The Philippines is a state composed of one nation. and (3) A single state may consist of one or more nations or peoples and conversely. The Constitution uses them interchangeably. Lebanon. and cultural well0being of the people. Saudi Arabia. economic. the preservation of the state from external danger. History. they are usually regarded as identical. – Government exists and should continue to exist for the benefit of the people governed. a single nation may be made up of several states. States distinguished from nation. the administration of justice. Among them are: Egypt. the acts of the government (within the limits of the delegation of powers) are the acts of the state. the Arab nation is divided politically into several sovereign states. social. (1) Advancement of the public welfare. has shown that the elements of all the theories have played an important part in the formation and development of states. and traditions. (ministrant functions) 6 . as long as its elements are present. The government is only the agency through which the states articulate its will.

Forms of government. (b) Aristocracy or one in which political power is exercised by a few privileged class which is known as an aristocracy or oligarchy. and a general feeling of fear and insecurity will prevail in society. The principal forms are the following: (1) As to number of persons exercising sovereign powers: (a) Monarchy or one in which the supreme and final authority is in the hands of a single person without regard to the source of his election of the nature or duration of his tenure. freedom. representative. equality. progress and development will not be possible. Monarchies are further classified into: 1) Absolute monarchy or one in which the ruler rules by divine right. it is better equipped to administer for the public welfare than any private individual or group of individuals. or republican democracy or one in which the will of the state is formulated and expressed through the agency of a relatively small and select body of persons chosen by the people to act as their representatives. and (c) Democracy or one in which political power is exercised by a majority of the people. 23 (2) As to extent of powers exercised by the central or national government: (a) Unitary government or one in which the control of national and local affairs is exercised by the central or national government.(2) Consequence of absence. (3) As to relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of the government: 7 . and 2) Limited monarchy or one in which the ruler rules in accordance with a constitution. The need for government is so apparent that even the most primitive societies. and (b) Federal government or one in which the powers of government are divided between two sets of organs. and human dignity can never be enjoyed. each organ being supreme within its own sphere. 22 and 2) Indirect. and values taken for granted in a free modern society such as truth. rule of law. The United States is a federal government. one for national affairs and the other local affairs. 21 Democratic governments are further classified into: 1) Direct or pure democracy or one in which the will of the state is formulated or expressed directly and immediately through the people in a mass meeting or primary assembly rather through the medium of delegates or representatives chosen to act for them. – Government exists to do these things which by their very nature. had some form of it. justice. It is obvious that without an organized structure of government. history shows. anarchy and disorder.

At times. and military head. and rajah. it can be said that the Philippine government is a representative democracy. It also embodies some aspects of pure democracy such as. while the titular or nominal executive – the Chief of State – occupies a position of irresponsibility. – Each barangay was ruled by a chief called datu in some places. He was its chief executive. for it possessed four basic elements of statehood. executive power is vested in the President and the Cabinet. – The people of the barangay were divided into four classes. or physical prowess. named after balangay. and furnishes him with sufficient powers to prevent the legislature from trenching upon the sphere marked out by the constitution as executive independence and prerogative. a Malayan word meaning “boat” (thereby confirming the theory that the early Filipinos came to the Philippines in boats). 25 C. each called barangay (consisting of more of less 100 families). chief judge. (see Art. In the performance of his duties. to which the datu belonged. he was assisted usually by a council of elders (maginoos) which served as his advisers. and judicial power with the Supreme Court and the lower courts. Classification of the Philippine Government On the basis of the above classifications of government. and (b) Presidential government or in one in which the state makes the executive constitutionally independent of the legislature as regards his tenure and to a large extent as regards his policies and acts.) Under our Constitution.32. some barangays joined together as “confederations” mainly. however. (3) Social classes in barangay. VI. (2) Datu. for the purpose of mutual protection against common enemies. the barangay was monarchy with the datu as the monarch. wealth. namely: the nobility (maharlika). Under this system. legislative power with the Congress composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives. Sec. – Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. 8 . a unitary and presidential government with separation of powers. law-giver. and the slaves (aliping sagigilid). for instance. wisdom. the constitutional provision on initiative and referendum. the serfs (aliping namamahay). One could be a datu chiefly by inheritance. the freemen (timawa). THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES IN TRANSITION The pre-Spanish government. (1) Unit of government.(a) Parliamentary government or one in which the state confers upon the legislature the power to terminate the tenure of office of the real executive. the Cabinet or ministry is immediately and legally responsible to the legislature and immediately or politically responsible to the electorate. In form. however. 26 Every barangay was virtually a state. the Philippines was composed settlements or villages. sultan or hadji in others.

30 (4) 9 . (2) Spanish colonial government. when Mexico obtained her independence from Spain. From 1821. The system of government. and as humane.” 27 Government during the Spanish period. to 1898. The council in Spain responsible for the administration of the Philippines was the Council of the Indie. – It was based on the discovery28 made by Ferdinand Magellan29. – A legal system already existed in the Philippines even in precolonial times. The two known written codes in the pre-Spanish era are the “Maragtas Code” which was said to have been written about 1250 A. as prudent. which. (3) Government in the Philippines unitary. consummated by its conquest by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi 45 years later and long possession for almost 4 centuries.(4) Early laws. From 1863. (1) Spain’s title to the Philippines. Three times during the Spanish period (1810 – 1813. until it was terminated in 1898. popularly called capitan. it was abolished and legislation for the Philippines was temporarily performed by the Council of Ministers. was clearly as wise. by Datu Sumakwel of Panay. as that of the nations then at the head of civilization. The written laws were promulgated by the datus. 1820 – 1823. although defective was not so bad considering the conditions in other lands in the age during which it flourished. taking into consideration the circumferences and the epoch in which it was framed. the Philippines was given representation in the Spanish Cortes. and the “Kalantiaw Code”. The early Filipinos had both written and unwritten laws. An eminent scholar has written: “The Filipino people. each headed by a governor who represented the Governor General in the province. The barangays were consolidated into towns (pueblos) each headed by a gobernadorcillo (little governor). even in the prehistoric times had already shown high intelligence and moral virtues. – It can be said that the laws of the barangay were generally fair. – From 1565 to 1821. the Philippines was indirectly governed by the King of Spain through Mexico because of the distance of the Philippines from Spain. The unwritten laws consisted of customs and traditions which had been passed down from generations to generation. the Philippines was ruled directly from Spain. In 1837. and the towns into provinces. – The government which Spain established in the Philippines was centralized in structure and national in scope. also of Panay. (5) Comparison with older ancient governments. virtues and intelligence clearly manifested in their legislation.D. when by the Treaty of Paris. the Ministry of Ultramar (colonies) exercised general powers of supervision over Philippine affairs. in 1521. the Philippines was ceded by Spain to the United States. A basic principle introduced by Spain to the Philippines was the union of the church and the state. and 1836 – 1837). the legislative body of Spain.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master your semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.