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Political science is a branch of social science that deals with the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior.

Fields and subfields of political science include political theory and philosophy, civics and comparative politics, theory of direct democracy, apolitical governance, participatory direct democracy, national systems, cross-national political analysis, political development, international relations, foreign policy, international law, politics, public administration, administrative behavior, public law, judicial behavior, and public policy. Political science also studies power in international relations and the theory of Great powers and Superpowers.

Political science is methodologically diverse. Approaches to the discipline include classical political philosophy, interpretivism, structuralism, and behavioralism, realism, pluralism, and institutionalism. Political science, as one of the social sciences, uses methods and techniques that relate to the kinds of inquiries sought: primary sources such as historical documents and official records, secondary sources such as scholarly journal articles, survey research, statistical analysis, case studies, and model building.


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Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli (May 3, 1469June 21, 1527) was an Italian diplomat, political philosopher, musician, poet, and playwright. He is a figure of the Italian Renaissance and a central figure of its political component, most widely known for his treatises on realist political theory (The Prince) on the one hand and republicanism (Discourses on Livy) on the other. These two written works, plus his History of Florence commissioned by the Medici family, were published posthumously in 1531. After the ousting and execution of Savonarola, the Great Council elected Machiavelli as the second chancellor of the Republic of Florence in June of 1498.


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The western (front) side of the United States Capitol.

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Separation of powers, a term coined by French political Enlightenment thinker Baron de Montesquieu, is a model for the governance of democratic states. The model is also known as Trias Politica.

The model was first developed by the ancient Greeks in the constitutions that governed their city-states; however, it first came into widespread use by the Roman Republic. It was outlined in the Constitution of the Roman Republic.

Under this model, the state is divided into branches or estates, and each estate of the state has separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility. The normal division of estates is into the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial.

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