What is Political System: Types of Political System and their Functions

Nuelson Penuel Monday, June 12, 2023 Education



Looking for a comprehensive guide to understanding what a political system is and how it functions? Look no further than this informative blog post. We'll explore what is political system, types of political system, functions of Political system, the key components of political systems, their historical development, and the various functions that they serve within societies. From democratic systems to authoritarian ones, we'll cover it all. So whether you're a student of politics or simply curious about how your society operates, this post is an essential read.

What is Political System?

A political system is a set of institutions, policies and procedures that govern a society. It is a way of organizing a government and how decisions are made within that government, as well as how power is allocated and utilized. Political systems can vary widely from one country or culture to another and include different structures, such as democratic, authoritarian, or hybrid systems. The political system influences how public policy is made, how resources are allocated and how laws and regulations are created. The system also shapes the relationships between citizens, the government, and other political actors and the mechanisms for resolving disputes. Understanding political systems is essential for citizens, politicians, and policymakers alike to effectively participate in and influence the decision-making process.

History of Political System

The history of political systems can be traced back to ancient civilizations, including Greece and Rome. These civilizations were known for their system of democracy, which allowed citizens to participate in the decision-making process. Other ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and China, had more authoritarian forms of government, with power held by a single individual or ruling class. During the medieval period, feudalism became the dominant political system in Europe, with power held by a small group of nobles who controlled most of the land and resources. This system gradually gave way to centralized monarchies in which power was held by a single king or queen who controlled the government and military. The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century saw the rise of new political theories and movements, including liberalism, socialism, and communism. These movements emphasized the importance of individual rights and freedoms, as well as the need for greater equality and social justice. In the 20th century, the two dominant political systems were democracy and communism. The Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union saw the spread of communism around the world, while democratic governments emerged in many Western countries. Today, the world is characterized by a diverse range of political systems, ranging from authoritarian regimes in countries like China and North Korea to thriving democracies in countries like the United States and India. The ongoing struggle for power and influence in the international arena continues to shape the evolution of political systems around the world.

Types of Political System

The following are some forms of political system: 1. Democracy: In a democracy, the power is held by the people who have the right to participate in the decision-making process through voting. There are two main types of democracy, direct democracy and representative democracy. In a direct democracy, citizens participate directly in the decision-making process. In a representative democracy, citizens elect representatives who make decisions on their behalf. 2. Monarchy: In a monarchy, power is held by a single person, often called a monarch, who inherits the position from their family. The monarch usually has absolute power and controls all aspects of the government. There are two main types of monarchy, absolute monarchy and constitutional monarchy. In an absolute monarchy, the monarch has complete control over all aspects of the government. In a constitutional monarchy, the monarch serves as a symbol of the country and has limited power, while the government is run by elected officials. 3. Dictatorship: In a dictatorship, one person or a small group holds all the power and makes all decisions. The dictator often takes power through force or violence, and there are no democratic processes or elections. In a dictatorship, the government has complete control over all aspects of society and the economy. 4. Totalitarianism: In a totalitarian system, the government controls all aspects of the citizens' lives through strict laws and policies. Totalitarian governments often use propaganda, censorship, and surveillance to maintain control over society. Citizens have little to no freedom of speech, religion, or assembly. 5. Theocracy: In a theocracy, religious leaders hold most of the power and make most of the decisions, and government policies are based on religious beliefs. Theocracy often combines religious and political power, and religious leaders hold the highest positions in the government. 6. Fascism and Nazism: In a fascist or Nazi system, a single party holds power, and the government controls most aspects of society. Fascist governments are often characterized by authoritarianism, nationalism, and totalitarianism. These political systems often use propaganda and intimidation to maintain control over society. 7. Anarchy: In an anarchist system, there is no central government, and power is decentralized to individuals or small groups. In anarchy, there are no laws or rules, and individuals are free to do as they please. However, anarchy often leads to chaos and violence, and people struggle to maintain social order.

What are the Components of Political System?

The components of a political system are the basic elements that make up a government and its operations. These components can vary depending on the type of government and country, but generally include the following: 1. People: The individuals who make up the population of the country are an essential component of a political system, as they form the basis of the government's authority. 2. Power: The ability to make decisions and enforce them is a key component of a political system. This may come from a single figure (like a monarch or a dictator), a small group (like an oligarchy), or the people themselves (as in a democracy). 3. Institutions: Institutions, such as the legislature, judiciary, and executive, are the formal bodies that make decisions and carry out the government's work. These institutions often have defined roles and processes for decision-making. 4. Laws and regulations: The laws and regulations that shape a political system help define how power is distributed, how decisions are made, and how citizens are expected to behave. 5. Ideologies and values: The ideas and values that underpin a political system can be powerful drivers of behavior and decision-making. These can include beliefs about democracy, justice, individual rights, and economic systems. 6. Political parties and interest groups: Political parties and interest groups are organizations that represent various factions of the population and work to influence government decisions and policies. 7. Media: The media is an important component of a political system, as it provides information and analysis to the public, and can also influence public opinion and political decisions.

What are the Functions of Political System?

The functions of a political system can vary depending on the country and type of government, but some common functions include: 1. Providing security and defense: One of the primary functions of a political system is to provide security and defense for its citizens, including protecting them from external threats and maintaining law and order within the country. 2. Managing the economy: Political systems also play a role in managing the economy, including making decisions about taxes, spending, and trade policies. This can impact the financial well-being of citizens and businesses. 3. Establishing and enforcing laws: A political system is responsible for creating laws and regulations that govern behavior within the country. These laws are enforced by the government and judiciary. 4. Protecting individual rights and freedoms: Political systems are often designed to protect the rights and freedoms of individuals, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. This can also include protecting minorities and marginalized groups. 5. Setting foreign policy: Political systems determine a country's foreign policy, including relations with other countries and international organizations. This can involve making decisions about trade agreements, alliances, and diplomatic efforts. 6. Facilitating infrastructure and public services: Political systems are responsible for facilitating the development of infrastructure and public services, such as roads, schools, and hospitals. This can impact the quality of life for citizens and the country's overall economic development.

What are the Classifications of Political System?

Political systems can be classified in several ways depending on different criteria. Some of the most common ways to classify political systems are as follows: 1. Democracy vs. Authoritarianism: Political systems can be classified based on the degree of power that the citizens have in the decision-making process. A democratic system is one where citizens have the power to vote and participate in the governance of their country. An authoritarian system, on the other hand, is one where power is held by a single ruler or a small group of people, and citizens have no or limited participation in decision-making. 2. Unitary vs. Federal: Political systems can be classified based on the level of government and the extent of its power. A unitary system is one where the central government has all the powers and authority to govern the country, while in a federal system, powers are shared among the central government and subnational governments such as states or provinces. 3. Presidential vs. Parliamentary: Political systems can also be classified based on the structure of the executive branch. In a presidential system, the executive branch is headed by a president who is both the head of state and the head of government. In a parliamentary system, the executive branch is headed by a prime minister who is chosen by the parliament. 4. Monarchy vs. Republic: Political systems can be classified based on the type of head of state. In a monarchy, the head of state is a monarch such as a king, queen, or emperor, who inherits their position through a family line. In a republic, the head of state is elected by the citizens and is usually a president. 5. One-party vs. Multi-party: Finally, political systems can be classified based on the number of political parties that are allowed to exist. In a one-party system, only one political party is allowed, and all opposition is suppressed. In a multi-party system, several political parties can exist, and citizens have the freedom to choose which party to support.


In conclusion, a political system refers to the set of institutions, laws, and procedures within a society that are responsible for making and enforcing decisions that affect the lives of its citizens. It is a fundamental aspect of human society that helps to organize the distribution of power and resources, manage conflicts, and make collective decisions for the common good. Political systems can vary widely in their structure and function, from democratic systems that allow for popular participation and representation, to authoritarian systems that concentrate power in the hands of a few individuals or groups. Understanding political systems is essential for individuals and societies to navigate the complex challenges of governance and ensure that power is wielded in a fair and equitable manner.

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