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Politics is the set of activities that are associated with the governance of a country, state or area. It involves making decisions that apply to groups of members and achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community. The academic study of politics is referred to as political science.

In modern nation states, people often form political parties to represent their ideas. Members of a party often agree to take the same position on many issues and agree to support the same changes to law and the same leaders. An election is usually a competition between different parties. Some examples of political parties worldwide are: the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa, the Democratic Party (D) in the United States, the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India, which has the highest number of political parties in the world (2,546 political parties).[circular reference]

Politics is a multifaceted word. It has a set of fairly specific meanings that are descriptive and nonjudgmental (such as "the art or science of government" and "political principles"), but does often colloquially carry a negative connotation. The word has been used negatively for many years: the British national anthem as published in 1745 calls on God to "Confound their politics", and the phrase "play politics", for example, has been in use since at least 1853, when abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared: "We do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us."

A variety of methods are deployed in politics, which include promoting one's own political views among people, negotiation with other political subjects, making laws, and exercising force, including warfare against adversaries. Politics is exercised on a wide range of social levels, from clans and tribes of traditional societies, through modern local governments, companies and institutions up to sovereign states, to the international level. During the past decade two tendencies (1.Concern for theoretical explication and methodological rigor, and 2. The emphasis on field studies of the “emerging,” “new,” and “non-Western” nations) made it possible to overlook comparative politics.

A political system is a framework which defines acceptable political methods within a society. The history of political thought can be traced back to early antiquity, with seminal works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, the works of Confucius and Arthashastra and Chanakya neeti by Chanakya in 3rd Century BCE.

Selected article

1939–1941 semi-official emblem

The League of Nations was an international organization founded after the First World War at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The League's goals included disarmament; preventing war through collective security; settling disputes between countries through negotiation and diplomacy; and improving global welfare. The League was a government of governments, with the role of settling disputes between individual nations in an open and legalist forum. The League lacked an armed force of its own and so depended on the Great Powers to enforce its resolutions, which they were often very reluctant to do. The League ultimately proved incapable of preventing aggression by the fascist powers in 1930s. The onset of the Second World War made it clear that the League had failed in its primary purpose—to avoid any future world war. The United Nations effectively replaced it after World War II and inherited a number of agencies and organisations founded by the League.

Featured picture

Great presidential puzzle2.jpg
Credit: Artist: James Albert Wales; Lithography: Mayer, Merkel, & Ottmann; Restoration: Jujutacular

An 1880 political cartoon depicts Senator Roscoe Conkling over a "presidential puzzle" consisting of some of the potential Republican nominees as pieces of a newly invented sliding puzzle. Conkling held significant influence over the party during the 1880 Republican National Convention and attempted to use that to nominate Ulysses S. Grant, only to lose out to "dark horse" candidate James A. Garfield.

Selected quote

George W. Bush in 2003
Dealing with Congress is a matter of give and take. The president doesn't get everything he wants, the Congress doesn't get everything they want. But we're finding good common ground. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it.
George W. Bush, 46th Governor of Texas (1995-2000), 43rd President of the United States (2001-2009), July 2001

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Phạm Ngọc Thảo (1922–1965), a major provincial leader in South Vietnam and infiltrator of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), was a communist agent of the Viet Minh and later the Vietnam People's Army. As the overseer of Ngô Đình Nhu's Strategic Hamlet Program in the early 1960s, he deliberately forced the program forward at unsustainable speeds, constructing poorly equipped and poorly defended villages, in order to foster rural resentment against the regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem, Nhu's elder brother. Thao was posthumously promoted by the ARVN to the rank of one-star general and awarded the title of Heroic war dead (Vietnamese: Liệt sĩ). After the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, the communist government awarded him the same title and paid war pensions to his family, claiming him as one of their own.

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