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Politics is the set of activities associated with the governance of a country, state or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to groups of members.

It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance—organized control over a human community, particularly a state. The academic study focusing on just politics, which is therefore more targeted than general political science, is sometimes referred to as politology (not to be confused with politicology, a synonym for 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 (2546 political parties) . 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 given 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

A 2007 concert in Minsk hosted by the BRSM

The Belarusian Republican Youth Union is an organized youth group in the Eastern European country of Belarus. The goals of the BRSM are to promote patriotism and to instill individual moral values into the youth of Belarus, using activities such as camping, sporting events and visiting memorials. The organization, which was created by a merger of other youth groups in 2002, is the successor of the Leninist Communist Youth League of the Belorussian SSR. While it is only one of a few youth groups inside Belarus, it is the largest and receives much backing from the Belarusian government. The BRSM has been accused of using methods of coercion and empty promises to recruit members and of being used as a propaganda tool by the Lukashenko Government.

Featured picture

British Columbia Parliament Buildings - Pano - HDR.jpg
Credit: Ryan Bushby

Located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and officially opened in 1898 with a 500 feet (150 m) long facade, central dome, two end pavilions, and a gold-covered statue of Captain George Vancouver, the British Columbia Parliament Buildings are home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

Selected quote

James Madison
But the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others. The provision for defense must in this, as in all other cases, be made commensurate to the danger of attack. Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

This policy of supplying, by opposite and rival interests, the defect of better motives, might be traced through the whole system of human affairs, private as well as public. We see it particularly displayed in all the subordinate distributions of power, where the constant aim is to divide and arrange the several offices in such a manner as that each may be a check on the other—that the private interest of every individual may be a sentinel over the public rights. These inventions of prudence cannot be less requisite in the distribution of the supreme powers of the State.

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Selected biography

Queen Elizabeth II

Elizabeth II (born 1926) is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms, head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations, and head of state of the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories. Her father, George VI, acceded to the throne in 1936 on the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. She began public duties during the Second World War, in which she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. On George VI's death in 1952, she became Head of the Commonwealth and Queen of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon. Her coronation service in 1953 was the first to be televised. Since her accession, the number of her realms has varied as territories gained independence and some realms became republics. In 1947 she married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with whom she has four children: Charles, Anne, Andrew, and Edward. Her reign of 67 years is the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer. Elizabeth's Silver and Golden Jubilees were celebrated in 1977 and 2002; her Diamond Jubilee is being celebrated during 2012.

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