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Power
An Exhibit on Politics

Power
  • The Human Condition : Volume 5 (by )
  • Review of the management of our affairs ... (by )
  • Meditations (by )
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  • Leviathan (by )
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Power:  An Exhibit on Politics

This virtual exhibit examines the history of political ideologies and the on the application of personal and political power within the context of social and resource control.  Throughout history, man has struggled for both control, and sovereignty. The concepts of freedom and independence have been great inspiration for writers throughout millenia.  These documents are located in the following Collections: Politics, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, Government, Law, Literature...among many other volumes of influential works.


The Social Mind
The Social Mind
In Twentieth Century Political Thought, political philosopher Joseph S. Roucek draws from E.A. Ross and C.H. Cooley to say that the state has a “social mind” that prescribes forms and obligations to all associations, and shapes the societal composition.  The modern discourse of political struggles is that political victors become the leading creators of the “social mind” that control the order of the defeated.  This discourse is common in the study of politics that shape modern nations and international relations today (Twentieth Century Political Thought, Joseph S. Roucek). 

The Review of the Management of Our Affairs in China, Since the Opening of the Trade in 1834; With an Analysis of the Government Despatches from the Assumption of Office by Capt. Elliott, on the 14th December, 1836, to the 22d of March, 1839 discusses the history of British influence in China’s opium trade.  According to the author, the British collaborated with elite Chinese bureaucrats and merchants, creating profits for a few, but much havoc in the country (; With an Analysis of the Government Despatches from the Assumption of Office by Capt. Elliott, on the 14th December, 1836, to the 22d of March, 1839, Captain Eliot).  The aggression of foreign powers entering into China for their own trade interests transformed the country into German, Russian, British and French “spheres of influence” (“May Fourth Movement,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  In this context, the “social mind” in China was actually being influenced by foreign powers rather than according to the interests of the Chinese themselves.   According to China at the Peace Conference, August 1919, Paris became the site for the Peace Conference that brought together the world’s leaders to end the World War I (China at the Peace Conference, August 1919, Far Eastern Political Science Review).   Wellington Koo and Cao Rulin represented China.  Koo demanded an end to imperialist policies in China (“V.K. Wellington Koo,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  However, Western powers refused his claim.  China was the only country that did not sign the Paris Peace Conference Treaty. This led to the May Fourth Movement in China (“May Fourth Movement,” World Heritage Encyclopedia). 
Sovereignty
Sovereignty
The writer, Roucek, also states that the indispensable elements of states are populations, territory and sovereign power.  The quantity and quality of a population legitimizes a ruling power’s territorial administration.  Sovereignty is described as political leaders raising the flag, erecting government buildings and instituting police and army forces to defend their territory.   In the words of J.W. Burgess, the original, absolute, unlimited power of the state over individual and collective subjects that reside in that territory (Twentieth Century Political Thought, Joseph S. Roucek).   This concept of sovereignty is demonstrated in the the writings of Italian diplomat and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli.  He believed that a state’s stability is always subject to threat. 

Niccolò Machiavelli was born in a time when France, Spain, the Holy Roman Empire and Switzerland battled Italian city-states for regional influence and control (“Niccolò Machiavelli,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Machiavelli wrote The Prince, a 16th-century political treatise which argued that there is a benefit to leaders using violence to achieve stability and security, also known as sovereignty (The Prince, Niccolò Machiavelli).  However, political sovereignty may also be born from the social, economic and psychic forces emerging out of the population.  According to Popular Sovereignty, in order for a peaceful state to be achieved, informed individuals need to be willing to work toward it.  It is the responsibility of the the institutions and laws to support the development of informed individuals who will in turn advocate for popular needs and interests (Popular Sovereignty, Charles Anthony).
Ideology
Ideology
Roucek adds that the state’s power is founded upon territorial residence and control of vital economic items, such as property.  Smaller political units called city-states evolved into states.  Ancient monarchies expanded into empires.  The ideological leadership of states can be absolutist, tyrannical, representative, democratic, socialistic, militaristic and industrial.  Other ideological forms include aristocracy and democracy, theocracy, physiocracy and plutocracy.  These differences in governments reflect the techniques that dominant groups use to exercise their power (Twentieth Century Political Thought, Joseph S. Roucek). 

New political ideologies are adopted by groups as contexts shift.  In 1835, French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, documenting his travels to America and illuminating the amorphous nature of the state (“Alexis de Tocqueville,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  Through this book, he wanted to inform France about its changing position in the global arena due to the rise of Anglo-America as an emerging imperial power.  De Tocqueville observed how state practice of aristocratic politics was giving way to a new ideal called democratic politics:  American democracy allowed people to come together for the common cause of creating their political society according to civil laws, while also expanding across the North American continent (Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville).  

Another type of political ideology is socialism, which would critique dominant political orders such as U.S. imperial power.  In Revolutionary Socialism, A Study in Socialist Reconstruction, Louis C. Fraina wrote that imperialism is the height of capitalism as it animates the economic, social and political forces that structure capitalism to exploit workers. Thus, the death of capitalism is an opportunity to practice Revolutionary Socialism, in which proletariat workers depend upon themselves to produce their own needs, in order to change the elite-controlled society (Revolutionary Socialism, A Study in Socialist Reconstruction, Louis C. Fraina). 
Works Cited
Alexis de Tocqueville.”   World Heritage Encyclopedia.  WorldLibrary.org.  Web.  2014.

Anthony, Charles.  Popular Sovereignty.  London:  Longmans, Green & Company, 2010.  

Captain Eliot.  Review of the Management of our Affairs in China, 1834; With an Analysis of the Government Despatches from the Assumption of Office by Capt. Elliott, on the 14th December, 1836, to the 22d of March, 1839.   London:  Smith, Elder and Company, 1840.

Far Eastern Political Science Review.  China at the Peace Conference, August 1919.  Canton:  Diplomatic Association, 1919.

Fraina, Louis.  Revolutionary Socialism.  New York:  The Communist Press, 1918.

Machiavelli, Niccolò.  The Prince.  London:  Oxford University Press, 1921. 

"May Fourth Movement."  World Heritage Encyclopedia.  WorldLibrary.org.  Web.  2014.

Roucek, Joseph S.  Twentieth Century Political Thought.   New York:  Philosophical Library, Inc., 1946. 

V.K. Wellington Koo.”  World Heritage Encyclopedia.  WorldLibrary.org.  Web.  2014.

Political Collections
Political matters refer to the calculation of forces that seek to assert power over territory and population.  The Nature of Organized Power: An Exhibit on Politics features Roucek’s concepts such as the “social mind,” “sovereignty” and “ideology” to explore how a particular definition of order asserts its power over territory, and circulates its ideals to generate public consent of that order.  However, this order is always shifting, as different political ideas co-exist and compete for the manifestation of their ideal reality.

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