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How Did Political System Evolve Over Time

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The political system is a system of politics and government or the set of formal legal institutions that make up a government or state.

Before political systems evolved over the years first we had societies that resemble what we think of as politics today. A state can be defined as ‘an organization that successfully claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory.’ (Weber, in Gerth and Mills 1948, p. 78).

Tribal groups which still exists in countries like Papua New Guinea and Brazil are still living undisturbed by the government and the purpose is to represent them at the United Nations, in a way, we all somehow evolved from these ‘tribal groups’. One specific way in which these tribal groups differ from the state model of government is Territory. While many of these tribal groups have their own territories, some are nomadic like the Fulanis of Northern Nigeria; they herd their cattle through lands cultivated by others; though efforts are being made today by the Nigerian government to control the herdsmen. Another notable group is the Kalahari Bushmen and what they all have in common is the belief that the government is a property. Tiv, a tribal group in Nigeria is an example of a group that has existed without centralized governmental institutions. Disputes and quarrels are settled within themselves and if a solution could not be found, then the two groups would remain at loggerheads until a solution is found.

Other societies practiced a division of functions on an ‘age grade’ basis in which the oldest men manage relationships with the gods, another male group responsible for the hunt and older women practice medicine etc. In these tribal societies, figures translated into English as Chiefs have the most authority.

The feudal system was particularly practiced in Europe in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Feudal Europe compromised of states and mini-states rather than being stateless. An example would be the then called Holy Roman Empire headed by the Emperor, the supreme ruler of the collection or mixture of Kingdoms, dukedoms, sovereign bishoprics, federated cities and so on. One of the problems of this system was an overlapping of jurisdiction.

Later on in European history, some of the feudal territories evolved into something similar to a modern state and also in many parts of the world like in Nigeria where we have the kingdoms in Benin, Yorubaland and in Hausaland. A kingdom can be regarded as an example of dynastic politics, meaning they are not so many governments by individuals as by families. Also, we have Empires, a form of rule that has dominated large parts of the globe for millennia. Examples are the ancient empires of China and Rome, the Moghul Empire of India and so on. Even with modern political systems today, it is difficult to find states with an unambiguous nationality or ethnic background.

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How Did Political System Evolve Over Time. (2018, November 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from
“How Did Political System Evolve Over Time.” GradesFixer, 04 Nov. 2018,
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