Significant Political Theorists


What politics is, and what outcomes it should seek to bring about is a more than three thousand-year-old debate. Over these millennia, various ideas have come up, including among them the notion that the exercise of political power should be guided by a mechanism of checks and balances, that a government should be legitimate among the people by means of a universal suffrage and that people have a right to revolution, including through violent means, to usher in the desired ends. On the other hand, highly-regarded sages have made the case that strict social hierarchy should be adhered to for harmony to be achieved. This demonstrates the extent to which ideas are a product of their historical context – both in justifying and indeed in arguing against the pervading norms of their place and time, they nonetheless reflect the context of their emergence. In this contribution to the series, we look at the originators of significant ideas which have made their way to our time and have held sway in political histories of various countries and the globe as a whole. The criteria for selection included affirmative answers to the following questions. Were the individuals making arguments which had hitherto not been made before their own time? Did these ideas find expression in the practices and governance systems of one or more countries? And do they continue to…[CLICK HERE TO READ]