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Introduction

Politics (from Greek: πολιτικά, translit. Politiká, meaning "affairs of the cities") refers to a set of activities associated with the governance of a country, or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to members of a group.

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 of political science).

In modern nation-states, people have formed political parties to represent their ideas. They 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 Conservative in the United Kingdom, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Germany and the Indian National Congress in India.

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.

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 and the works of Confucius.

Selected article

Logo of the Fourth International

The Fourth International has been a communist international organisation working in opposition to both capitalism and Stalinism. Consisting of supporters of Leon Trotsky, it has striven for an eventual victory of the working class to bring about socialism. In Paris in 1938, Trotsky and many of his supporters, having been expelled from the Soviet Union, considered the Comintern to have become lost to "Stalinism" and incapable of leading the international working class towards political power. Thus, they founded their own competing "Fourth International". Throughout the better part of its existence, the Fourth International was hounded by agents of the Soviet secret police, repressed by capitalist countries such as France and the United States, and rejected by followers of the Soviet Union and later Maoism as illegitimate - a position these communists still hold today. The FI suffered a split in 1940 and an even more significant split in 1953. Despite a partial reunification in 1963, more than one group claims to represent the political continuity of the Fourth International. The broad array of Trotskyist Internationals are split over whether the Fourth International still exists and if so, which organisation represents its political continuity.

Featured picture

Andrew Curtin2.jpg
Credit: Photo: Mathew Brady/Levin Handy; Restoration: Michel Vuijlsteke

Andrew Gregg Curtin (1817–1894) was a U.S. lawyer and politician. He served as the 15th Governor of Pennsylvania during the American Civil War. During the Civil War, Curtin organized the Pennsylvania reserves into combat units, and oversaw the construction of the first Union military camp for training militia. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Governor Curtin was the principal force behind the establishment of the National Cemetery there. After serving two terms as governor, Curtin was appointed ambassador to Russia by Ulysses S. Grant, and he later served in the House of Representatives from 1881 until 1887.

Selected quote

George W. Bush in 2003
Dealing with Congress is a matter of give and take. The president doesn't get everything he wants, the Congress doesn't get everything they want. But we're finding good common ground. A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it.
George W. Bush, 46th Governor of Texas (1995-2000), 43rd President of the United States (2001-2009), July 2001

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Selected biography

Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon (1913–94) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. He graduated from Whittier College in 1934 and Duke University School of Law in 1937, returning to California to practice law. He served in the United States Navy during World War II. Nixon was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946 and to the Senate in 1950. He served for eight years as vice president, from 1953 to 1961, and waged an unsuccessful presidential campaign in 1960, narrowly losing to John F. Kennedy. In 1968, Nixon ran again for president and was elected. He initially escalated the Vietnam War, but ended US involvement in 1973. Nixon's visit to the People's Republic of China in 1972 opened diplomatic relations between the two nations. Though he presided over Apollo 11, he scaled back manned space exploration. He was re-elected by a landslide in 1972. A series of revelations in the Watergate scandal cost Nixon much of his political support in his second term, and on August 9, 1974, he resigned as president. In retirement, Nixon's work as an elder statesman[disambiguation needed], authoring several books and undertaking many foreign trips, helped to rehabilitate his public image.

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