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Department of Political Science

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 science.

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 governments' actions.

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 Rousseau.

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.​​


Contact Information

Political Science
Dr. Guy C. Clifford House
180 Summer Street
Bridgewater, MA 02325
Tel: 508.531.1387
Fax: 508.531.6186

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