Political science is a field that delves into the study of government institutions, political behavior, and various political systems that exist worldwide. As a political science student, it is imperative to have a comprehensive knowledge of the many political ideas that drive our world, and there is no better way than to immerse oneself in political literature.
Fortunately, there are a lot of great books that can help a political science student gain that knowledge. These books are known as “the canon,” which encompasses a vast assortment of works from ancient Greek philosophers to modern-day political theorists. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best political books for any political science student.
1. The Republic by Plato
The Republic is a dialogue written in ancient Greece by Plato, who is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers in Western thought. The book is a comprehensive guide to the notion of the ideal state and a discussion of what makes a good leader. It provides a perfect introduction to the study of political institutions and the origin of political theory.
2. Politics by Aristotle
Politics, written by Aristotle, was considered one of the essential texts in political theory throughout history. It provides a framework for the study of political institutions, such as governance, justice, and the nature of the state. Aristotle’s work uses empirical observations and logical reasoning to explain how political institutions work.
3. The Prince by Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince provides a guide to leadership and maintaining power. Machiavelli’s work is famous for its frank and uncompromising approach to political power. He suggests that a leader should be both feared and loved by their subjects, and use whatever means are necessary to maintain power, including lying and deceit.
4. Leviathan by Hobbes
Leviathan is a work of political philosophy written by Thomas Hobbes. It covers topics such as the nature of the state and political power, the origin of political institutions, and the relationship between individuals and the state. Hobbes argues that without a strong government, society would be chaotic and violent.
5. The Social Contract by Rousseau
The Social Contract is a book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that discusses the relationship between the state and the individual. Rousseau believes that a social contract is necessary to establish a just and free society. In his work, he also explores the role of government and its responsibility to its people.
6. Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels
The Communist Manifesto is a book by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that outlines the principles of communism. Marx and Engels advocate for the overthrow of capitalist society and the establishment of a socialist system. This book provides insight into the history of socialist thought and political activism.
7. The Federalist Papers by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay
The Federalist Papers are a collection of essays written in support of the U.S. Constitution. The essays were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. They provide insight into the historical context of the American government and its political philosophy.
8. The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt
The Origins of Totalitarianism is a book by Hannah Arendt. The book chronicled the rise of totalitarian regimes in the 20th century and provides insight into their roots. Arendt explores topics such as propaganda, ideology, and the role of mass movements in shaping political change.
In conclusion, these are some of the best political books recommended for every political science student. These books provide a comprehensive guide to the principles, concepts, and fundamentals of political theory, governance, and social order. By studying the works of some of the greatest political philosophers of all time, you’ll be better equipped to take on the challenges of the modern world.