Abstract: Unlike economists, it is unusual for political scientists to discuss first principles of our discipline. My purpose in this article is to make a small contribution toward remedying this situation by calling to mind a few fundamentals about government that all students of politics should know. Drawing on the work of classical, modern and contemporary scholarship, and my own empirical analysis of 700 elections in 50 democracies, of more than a dozen dictatorships of various ideological cast, and of the history of two cases with which I am most familiar—the United States and Cuba—I identify five elements of politics, two basic compounds or regime types, and six scientific “laws” that govern their operations.
Keywords: Political science, laws of politics, democracy, dictatorship, United States, Cuba
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