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Portal:Politics

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Politics (from Greek: Πολιτικά, politiká, 'affairs of the cities') is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The academic study of politics is referred to as political science.

It may be used positively in the context of a "political solution" which is compromising and non-violent, or descriptively as "the art or science of government", but also often carries a negative connotation. For example, abolitionist Wendell Phillips declared that "we do not play politics; anti-slavery is no half-jest with us." The concept has been defined in various ways, and different approaches have fundamentally differing views on whether it should be used extensively or limitedly, empirically or normatively, and on whether conflict or co-operation is more essential to it.

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. 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.

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, Chanakya's Arthashastra and Chanakya Niti (3rd century BCE), as well as the works of Confucius.

Selected article

Stephen F. Austin was elected president of the Convention of 1832.

The Convention of 1832 was the first political gathering of colonists in Mexican Texas. Delegates sought reforms from the Mexican government and hoped to quell the widespread belief that settlers in Texas wished to secede from Mexico. The convention was the first of a series of unsuccessful attempts at political negotiation that eventually led to the Texas Revolution. On October 1, 1832, 55 political delegates met at San Felipe de Austin to petition for changes in the governance of Texas. Notably absent was any representation from San Antonio de Béxar, where many of the native Mexican settlers (Tejanos) lived. The delegates elected Stephen F. Austin (pictured), a highly respected immigrant, as president of the convention. Delegates passed a series of resolutions requesting, among other things, a repeal of the immigration restrictions, a three-year exclusion from custom duties enforcement, permission to form an armed militia and independent statehood. They also voted themselves the power to call future conventions. Before the petition could be delivered to Mexico City, the political chief of Texas, Ramón Músquiz, ruled that the convention was illegal and annulled the resolutions. In a compromise, the ayuntamiento (city council) of San Antonio de Béxar drafted a new petition with similar language to the convention resolutions and submitted it through proper legal channels. Músquiz forwarded the new document to the Mexican Congress. (more...)

Featured picture

Cuban missiles.jpg
Credit: United States Air Force

Photo taken by a Lockheed U-2 spy plane of the San Cristobal MRBM launch site in Cuba, November 1962, after the Cuban Missile Crisis. Although this image was taken days after the crisis had ended (October 28), this image has become iconic of the crisis to the point where it is often cited incorrectly as having been taken during the crisis.

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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Selected biography

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) was a British politician and the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a position she held from 1979 to 1990. She was a member of the Conservative Party and the figurehead of a political ideology known as Thatcherism. Even before coming to power she was nicknamed The Iron Lady in Soviet propaganda, an appellation which stuck. The changes she set in motion between coming to power and 1985 were profound, and altered much of the economic, cultural and commercial landscape of Britain and, by example, the world as a whole. Along the way she also aimed to roll back the welfare state, or "nanny state", as she termed it. Her popularity finally declined when she replaced the unpopular local government rates tax with the even less popular Community Charge. At the same time the Conservative Party began to split over her sceptical approach to Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union. Her leadership was challenged from within and she was forced to resign in 1990, her loss at least partly due to inadequate advice and campaigning.

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