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

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

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

”eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.480.” requires amendment. what interests and forces are behind particular policies. (Aerial domain). A state is a community of persons more or less numerous.574. what his rights and obligations are. The “good” citizen who behaves himself and votes regularly is no longer enough. permanently occupying a definite portion of territory. having a government of their own to which the great body of inhabitants render obedience. information.314. 14 The Philippines is a state. Thus the domain of the state may be described as terrestrial.000 at the end of 2006 according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Just how much is freedom worth? The oft-repeated but seldom comprehended quotation. it should be neither too small nor too large: small enough to be wellgoverned and large enough to be self-sufficing. mainly clerics and some Swiss guards. Ideally. (2) Territory. Elements of state. The modern state has four (4) essential elements.614 as of August 1. what they stand for. 16 The island Republic of Nauru17 has a total population of only about 9. 15 Reputedly the smallest state in point of population is the Vatican. 2007. They are: (1) People. fluvial. 18 composed mostly of Malays and Chinese. maritime.17 square mile or 0.000. a certain area of the sea which abuts upon its coasts (fluvial and maritime domain). located just outside the western boundary of Rome with an area of only 0. (3) Knowledge as understanding of government. There is no requirement as to the number of people that should compose a state. and enjoying freedom from external control. The Philippines is estimated to have a population of about 88. 13 B. China is the largest in point of population placed at 1. – It includes not only the fixed portion of land over which the jurisdiction of the state extends (territorial domain). – Political science seeks to gather and impart this knowledge and understanding. Study. and aerial. – This refers to the inhabitants living within the state. and the air space above the land and the waters. what the results of such policies are likely to be.44 square 4 . Its estimated 900 citizens. but also the rivers and lakes therein. He must know how his government really operates. CONCEPTS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT Meaning of state.Democracy has practical advantages which no one can appraise in monetary terms. and understanding of the complexities of modern government and politics are necessary as eternal vigilance. The smallest state in point of territory is Vatican. are ruled by Pope. Without people there can be no functionaries to govern and no subjects to be governed. who his elected representatives are.

(3) Government.674 square kilometers. Origin of states. of international law. The ordinary citizens of a country are a part of the state.674 square miles or about 9. – 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 (b) External or the freedom of the state to carry out its activities without subjection to or control by other states.599. The Philippines has a total land area of about 115. – 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.273.610 square kilometers20 which covers a surface nearly as large as Europe. – It attributes the origin of states to the enlargement of the family which remained under the authority of the father or mother. but are not part of the government. External sovereignty is often referred to as independence. There are several theories concerning the origin of states. 5 .970. – It maintains that states must have been created through force. – It refers to the agency through which the will of the state is formulated.kilometer. among which are: (1) Divine right theory. therefore.955 square kilometers. two manifestations: (a) Internal or the power of the state to rule within its territory. the family grew into a clan.. Canada has an area of about 3. to have freedom from foreign control. and (4) Social contract theory. – It holds that the state is of divine creation and the ruler is ordained by God to govern the people. by some great warriors who imposed their will upon the weak. 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. By natural stages. It has. The Republic of Nauru has an area of about 8 square miles or 21 square kilometers. It is the smallest independent nation in the world.610 square miles or 22. The former Soviet Union19 was the largest state in point or territory with its total land area of about 8. This “body of men” is usually spoken of as “administration”.813 square miles or about 299.849. then developed into a tribe which broadened into a nation. and the nation became a state. This theory justifies the right of the people to revolt against a bad ruler. and (4) Sovereignty. (3) Paternalistic theory. expressed and carried out. It would fit in Rizal Park in Manila. These internal and external aspects of sovereignty are not absolutely true in practice because of the development of international relations and consequently. Reference has been made by advocates of this theory to the laws which Moses received at Mount Sinai. (2) Necessity or force theory.

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

and a general feeling of fear and insecurity will prevail in society. each organ being supreme within its own sphere. progress and development will not be possible. and 2) Limited monarchy or one in which the ruler rules in accordance with a constitution. anarchy and disorder. and human dignity can never be enjoyed. and (c) Democracy or one in which political power is exercised by a majority of the people. Monarchies are further classified into: 1) Absolute monarchy or one in which the ruler rules by divine right. and values taken for granted in a free modern society such as truth. 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. one for national affairs and the other local affairs. history shows. The United States is a federal government. had some form of it. equality. representative. it is better equipped to administer for the public welfare than any private individual or group of individuals. – Government exists to do these things which by their very nature. 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. justice.(2) Consequence of absence. (b) Aristocracy or one in which political power is exercised by a few privileged class which is known as an aristocracy or oligarchy. (3) As to relationship between the executive and the legislative branches of the government: 7 . It is obvious that without an organized structure of government. freedom. Forms of government. 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. 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. 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. 22 and 2) Indirect. rule of law.

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

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

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