The Analysis of Political Systems

By Douglas V. Verney | Go to book overview

I
INTRODUCTION

I N the spring of 1958 a crisis in France led to the resignation of the Prime Minister and the appointment of General Charles De Gaulle as head of Government. With his appointment the Fourth Republic came to an end after an existence of only twelve years.

These events raise some interesting questions. Was it the failure of government itself which was significant in France? Or is government merely the product or reflection of deeper social forces in a country? There are many today who regard the mechanics of government as of secondary importance to social pressures. To them, whether France has a parliamentary or presidential system of government is immaterial: what is important is the role of particular groups, the failure of liberal- democracy, the attitude of the general public, and the challenge of Communism.

In the academic world of political science a similar trend is also evident. Instead of attending to the structure of government many are focussing their interest upon popular participation, or what is sometimes termed the 'political process'. There is concern for 'political dynamics', for the ways in which leaders, political parties and social groups achieve power, and a quest for the mainsprings of action unrevealed by a study of the more publicised formal structure of government.

Yet in an age when more people than ever before claim to believe in some form of democracy, that is government based on the consent of the governed, it is important that concern for free elections and the establishment of political parties should not lead to the assumption that the form of government which a

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The Analysis of Political Systems
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • I - Introduction 1
  • Part 0ne - The Structure of Government 15
  • II - Parliamentary Government 17
  • III - Presidential Government 39
  • IV - Convention Theory 57
  • Part Two - The Political Process 95
  • VI - 'Classical' Democracy 99
  • VII - Representative Democracy And Political Parties 115
  • VIII - The Political Process: Interests and Pressure Groups 129
  • IX - Elite Theories 157
  • X - The 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' 174
  • XI - Class War 186
  • Part Three - Conclusion 197
  • XII - Government and the Political Process 199
  • Index 233
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