Uptopian Ideas

Topic of discussion : Uptopian Ideas

Required Textbook: 

 Magstadt, T. M. (2017). Understanding politics: Ideas, institutions, and issues. Australia: Cengage Learning. 12th Edition.

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 3, 4; review Chapter 2 (Section: Ideologies and Politics in the United States)
  • Lesson
  • Additional scholarly sources you identify through your own research

Explain one of the perfect political systems of Plato, Aristotle, Bacon, Marx, or Skinner. Use evidence (cite sources) to support your response from assigned readings or lesson, and at least two outside scholarly source. 

Lesson: Political Science Theories


After the fall of Rome, within Western civilizations, the Church ultimately became interwoven with the centralized power of the appointed kings and queens. But over time, philosophers, and then the people, wondered if this was the best way to organize a government. They began by questioning the Church’s role in government, and ultimately expanded into an examination of the need for monarchies in general.

These thoughts began with the work of Niccolo Machiavelli in Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. In The Prince, Machiavelli discusses the role of power in maintaining rule. Although not a direct link to democratic thought because he is advising a prince on how to keep his control over the people, his work was one of the first to hint at a need for a separation of church and state, which is a concept that still elicits controversy today.

Church image separated from state image

Roughly a century later, Thomas Hobbes also questioned the role of the Church within the government. In writing Leviathan, Hobbes advocated the need for a large governmental structure (thus a leviathan) to rule over the people and he began to question the role of the Church in this process. Although a supporter of authoritarian governments, Hobbes was not a supporter of the Church’s power within government. Outside of this premise, he is also known for coining the phrase “state of nature.” This idea stems from his examination of what people look like without any government. He saw this state as very bleak, representing utter chaos and strife, because he theorized that without a strong ruling government to keep the peace, people would be at war with one another as they attempted to seize power from one another as a means of getting what they desired and as a way to avoid what they did not. However, in contrast to what he was proposing, by looking at humanity at its core, he introduced the idea of humanity as thinking for itself, which is the foundation of any democracy.

It was this concept that John Locke then built upon a few decades later by suggesting that the people move away from an all-oppressive ruler to a government based upon the rule of the citizens with a system of checks and balances,. Locke’s ideas serve as the basis of much of the U.S. founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

Liberalism Defined

The Meaning of the Word Liberal

The term liberal in modern vocabularies has taken on an entirely different meaning from its original context. Liberal, when applied to political philosophy, represents a belief that the government should interfere very little in the daily lives of its citizens. This notion allows the individual to pursue his or her own interests without fear of extreme government regulation.

Since The Great Depression, which hit the world the hardest during the 1930s, the U.S. government has trended towards a larger government, as have other Western European nations. This happened as a result of the government providing many social services to protect its citizens from the likes of economic disaster and the toils of war. How far you think the government should go in aiding its citizens depends upon which political ideology most appeals to you. The classic liberal, a categorization credited to John Locke and also known as the modern conservative, tends to favor small government, whereas the modern liberal, modeled on the work of T. H.Green, prefers more governmental programs.

How far you think the government should go in aiding its citizens depends upon which political ideology most appeals to you. The classic liberal, a categorization credited to John Locke and also known as the modern conservative, tends to favor small government, whereas the modern liberal, modeled on the work of T. H.Green, prefers more governmental programs.

Capitalism and Socialism Compared

One arrow saying Capitalism and the other saying Socialism pointing in opposite directions

Capitalism represents the idea of the people controlling the means of production, with little to no interference by government. Capitalism is based on the idea of a market driven economy. This concept simply means that the market (or the masses) drive what is produced by industry with their demand for products. For example, if a great deal of people desire a certain item, then those who produce it will stay in business as long as the demand continues. However, if demand lags, or dies out altogether, that same industry will have to evolve to produce another in-demand product,or leave the market. This demand for product thus drives what is produced, and then determines which industries flourish. This system, in its truest sense, leaves government out of the economic process. Adam Smith, in writing The Wealth of Nations, was an advocate for this type of economic system. However, over time, it has been discovered that some regulation of business is needed, for instance, to preventi a monopoly in order to keep the market competitive.

In contrast to this model of low government involvement, socialism calls for the complete control of production by government. This is a concept originated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two political philosophers during the 19th century, in their Communist Manifesto. Neither man was a fan of the world in which he was raised, where the industrial revolution was taking off and people were suffering under the harsh working conditions found in pure capitalism. They believed that if they presented a new economic plan that replaced the newly established capitalist principles, they could create a happier world for the individual. This world included the human rights of the liberal but went even further to ensure an equal distribution of wealth and goods to the masses. Their theory argued for a socialist transition, where the government seizes all the means of production from the masses, as a way of creating the pathway to communism (or a perfect utopia).

As with any plan, variations in practice can occur. This is exactly what happened when Russia, the first country to implement the teachings of Marx, achieved its revolution. Thus, came the rise of Marxism-Leninism, which varied dramatically from Marx’s proposed plan. The practice of this ideology resulted in many years of conflict with the West during the Cold War. The principal powers during that time, the United States and the Soviet Union, featured two completely different philosophies regarding government and politics. In the end, the Soviet Union’s political, governmental, and economic approaches proved to be disastrous for its society, and the individuals within it. It featured a political process that decided who got what, when, and how in the most arbitrary manner, and used the government to execute those decisions brutally and ruthlessly. In the end, Soviet citizens, tired of being told they were part of one of the world’s great superpowers while waiting in line for basic necessities, gradually withdrew their interest in and support of their government, and the system eventually collapsed.


Studying politics has been an important part of the work of ancient and modern philosophers. As in most sciences, theories have evolved as new information has become available and new ways of exploring become possible. Liberalism split into conservatism and modern liberalism to form two different ideologies that same with capitalism and socialism.

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Answer the following questions based on your reading of The Presidential Difference. 3rd Edition, Greenstein. 

1.  Briefly discuss the six qualities that relate to presidential job performance. What qualities are most important to a successful presidency?

2. Greenstein reviews modern presidents from FDR to Obama. Discuss which four you found to be most significant in the modern presidency. 

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POL201 Final Paper template

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The Final Paper should utilize the POL201 Final Paper template and be at least six pages in length (not including title page and references) and based on your previously submitted assignments. It is important to utilize APA Style Elements (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. headings for major sections of your paper in order to ensure that the paper is easy to follow.

Scaffold your paper around the following outline:

The Final Paper Assignment

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POL/115 Week 3 Assignment

U.S. Federal Bureaucracy and Public Policy

Step 1: Complete the federal bureaucracy matrix to demonstrate how it influences the U.S. political system. Include APA citations for all unoriginal ideas, facts, or definitions.

Elements of federal bureaucracy

In    100-250 words, explain each element, and discuss how it affects or    influences the U.S. political system.

Civil   servants

Government   corporation

Cabinet   departments

Independent   regulatory agencies

Independent   executive agencies

Merit   system

Public   administration

Spoils   system


Negotiated   rulemaking

Step 2: Complete the public policy matrix to explain and the compare the main policy types.

Types of public policy

Explanation or definition

How is it the same or different from the    other types of policy?

Example of the type of policy

Distributive   policy

Regulatory   policy

Redistributive   policy

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