Government & Law: Introduction to Western Political Thought | Political Science Assignment Help

July 24, 2017
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Question: Introduction to Western Political Thought

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This is the first assessment in Introduction to Western Political Thought. It is worth 30% of your final grade and should, consequently, not be treated lightly because it isn't an essay.

The brief: You must, using your own words and citing the relevant academic literature, define the following 20 key terms used in political theory:

  1. Monarchy
  2. Autocracy
  3. Despotism
  4. Justice
  5. Freedom
  6. Equality
  7. Citizenship
  8. Sovereignty
  9. The State of Nature
  10. Democracy
  11. Modernity
  12. Liberalism
  13. Capitalism
  14. Utilitarianism
  15. The State
  16. Society
  17. The Demos
  18. Politics
  19. Socialism
  20. Oligarchy

Conditions: Each glossary entry should not be more than 50 words long. As brevity is key here you are not permitted to use direct quotations from your sources - only in-text citations in support of your own words.

Note: You might find it helpful to first bring together a number of different encyclopedias or dictionaries devoted to political terminology. Read what each of them has to say about a term, do some further research about it (by reading a relevant journal article or scholarly book chapter), and then start drafting your 50 word definition.

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    1. Monarchy

Monarchy is one of the oldest forms of government in which the nation is ruled by a single entity. A person from a royal family usually becomes the monarch. Monarchy is passed on by means of family lineage (, 2016).

    1. Autocracy

Autocracy is a government that is ruled by a self-appointed entity and negates the notion of elected group of leaders or officials (, 2016).

    1. Despotism

Despotism is exercising power by means of oppression and cruelty. When a nation is ruled by a despot then there is absence of parliament and constitution. Despotic government impacts the socio-economic conditions of a nation (, 2016).

    1. Justice

Justice may be explained as the moral principle that states the accurate conduct. It has originated form the Latin word that means law or right. Western thinkers consider justice to be the most important virtue that is required for maintaining and establishing a stable society and establishing interpersonal relations (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).

    1. Freedom

Freedom is the capability and right of individuals to find out their actions, while residing in a society or community that extends optimum development of potential in human beings. Freedom is exercised by people only by means of the society or community in which they are affiliated (Encyclopedia of Marxism, 2016).


The term equality is a relationship between several circumstances, persons, processes or objects having similar attributes in at least a single respect but not in every aspect. Hence, equality is different from similarity and identity. Equality is a comparative term as it helps in comparing the association between objects (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).


  • Citizenship


A political community member enjoying the rights and assuming the membership duties is a citizen. Citizenship consists of three dimensions including the consideration of citizens to have legal status, quality as political agents and being members of a political community (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).


  • Sovereignty


The fundamental meaning of sovereignty is “supreme authority of territory’. The fundamental meanings of sovereignty in political theory take the two dimensions of legal and political sovereignty. Legal sovereignty assumes to constitute the legal framework and constituting by imposing constitutional authority. On the other hand, political sovereignty does not consider the imposition of constitutional authority (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).


  • The State of Nature


One of the concepts of political and moral philosophy is the state of nature. The state of nature means to imagine the human society prior to the formation of governments and states. The term was proposed by Hobbes, who maintained that in a state of nature, there is an absence of agency having identified authority for efficient power and arbitration over disputes so as to implement decisions (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).


  • Democracy


Democracy is known as the notion permitting and supporting decision making in groups featured by participant equality during the mandatory stage of decision making in unison. Democracy is related to collective making of decisions, there is absence of normative weight, the construct of equality may be profound or superficial and democracy involves several groups (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2016).


  • Modernity


Modernity is used as a term that designates socio cultural values, practices and attitudes in post – medieval Europe as well as demarcation of a historic era and has led to global development. The logic behind modernity is similar to that of linear thought as modernity involves in separating philosophies of antinomies (, 2016).


  • Liberalism


Liberalism is a political philosophy that is concerned with the improving and protection of the independence of a person to be one of the fundamental issues in politics. Liberals are of the opinion that the government is established to protect individuals from harm and at the same time view government to be a threat to liberty (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2016).


  • Capitalism


Capitalism is explained as an economic system wherein distribution and production are corporately or privately owned and the development is relatively subject to the reinvestment and accumulation of revenues earned in free market establishment (Importance of Philosophy, 2016).


  • Utilitarianism


Utilitarianism is based on the fundamental notion of actions to be morally accurate or inaccurate depending on the impact of the actions. The main features of utilitarianism is happiness and consequentialism. The construct of happiness in utilitarianism is something that every individual aspires to have. Consequential utilitarianism is judging an action on the basis of its outcomes for maximum happiness (Utilitarian philosophy, 2016).


  • The State


A form of polity or political relationship that may be differentiated on the basis of not being self-incorporated into other political relationships, despite the fact that it may incorporate aspects from these political associations is known as the state (Kukathas, 2008).


  • Society


Society is the outcome of frictions and tensions that are both interrelated and interactive and are used by citizens to meet requirements, integrate and develop in a community that may be absolutely or partially incompatible with the requirements of other individuals irrespective of groups and residing in the same community (Philosophy forums, 2016).


  • The Demos


Demos are the common people or the general population. The Demos is a construct that has its roots in Athenian Democracy. Another meaning of demos is village (Blackwell, 2003).


  • Politics


Politics is a set of tasks related to governing a particular area or a nation with special emphasis on the ongoing debates and dialogues that take place among the parties exercising and influencing power (, 2016).


  • Socialism


Socialism is an economic and political model of a social organization that preaches that the exchange, distribution and production should be both monitored as well as owned by the social community. It emphasizes on the control of property and wealth by the workers (, 2016).


  • Oligarchy


Oligarchy means the control and regulation of an area or a nation by a small group. Such people are distinguished by means of military control, education, wealth, and royalty. Oligarchy has been used by Aristotle to designate a reign by a few people (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2016).

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