As governments form and change over time, they look to political philosophers to answer important questions about governance. This text set covers some of the world's most influential political thinkers.
John Locke argues that people must sacrifice some freedoms in order to live peacefully in society.
Excerpts from Leviathan
This book established the concept of the "social contract."
Excerpt from The Prince
Machiavelli discussed the value of cruelty and how it can be used to retain power.
On the Doctrine of the Feeling of Power
In this passage, Nietzsche explains how the "feeling of power" drives all humans.
This informational text explains how Athens created and organized one of the world’s first recorded democracies, which is still widely influential today.
Excerpt from Spirit of Laws
Charles-Louis de Secondat Montesquieu
In these satiric excerpts from Montesquieu’s political theory, the philosopher reflects on the origins of slavery and inequality.
Excerpt from “Our America”
José Martí discusses leadership in Latin American nations.
Barack Obama’s Nobel Lecture
Barack Obama accepts the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.