Welcome to the Political Science Department at
Bridgewater State University. This web site includes information about the department, the degree programs,
faculty members, and other information.
It also includes information for political science students looking to access
information resources for doing research in political
The Origins of Political Science
Political science is, in one sense, an ancient discipline and,
in another sense, one of the most recently developed social sciences. The
origins of the study of politics reach back to the commencement of human
society, for people have always been making observations about the nature of their
governments, the personalities of their leaders, and the consequences of their
Aristotle characterized politics as the
"queen of the sciences," and in his works he classified governments
according to their varying structures and made predictions about how each of
these governments would behave. Other philosophers have shared Aristotle's
political concerns. Machiavelli was certainly a student of politics, as was St.
Thomas Aquinas. So too were John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Jean Jacques
On occasion, political theory and practice
have been joined as they were in Philadelphia in 1789. The men who wrote the
American Constitution were political theoreticians of the first magnitude who
endeavored to mold political theories into working political institutions.
It is also true, however, that political
science as it is taught today is a very new discipline, one which has been
developed in the United States in the past forty years. During this period, scholars
have attempted to move from observations about politics to scientific
observations about politics. This movement has been marked by a widespread
effort to collect data about politics and government utilizing relatively new
techniques developed by all the social sciences. Its goal has been to describe
and explain political phenomena with greater accuracy. In short, political
science today is constantly seeking to make itself rigorous in terms of its
standards of scholarship. It is now more demanding in its standards of proof,
and it is less ethnocentric in its perspective of world politics.