Political philosophy is the study of such topics as politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it should take and why, what the law is, and what duties citizens owe to a legitimate government, if any, and when it may be legitimately overthrown, if ever. In a vernacular sense, the term "political philosophy" often refers to a general view, or specific ethic, political belief or attitude, about politics that does not necessarily belong to the technical discipline of philosophy. In short, political philosophy is the activity, as with all philosophy, whereby the conceptual apparatus behind such concepts as aforementioned are analyzed, in their history, intent, evolution and the like.
Head of state (German: Staatsoberhaupt), or chief of state (French: chef d'état), is a term used in constitutional law, international law, political science, and diplomatic protocol when referring to the official who holds the highest ranked position in a sovereign state and has the vested or implied powers to act as the chief public representative of a state. Heads of state in most countries are natural persons holding an office; however, in four United Nations member states the head of state position is held by a body of persons: the Federal Council of Switzerland, the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Co-Princes of Andorra and the Captains Regent of San Marino.
The term head of state is often used differentiating it from the term head of government, e.g. as in article 7 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, article 1 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents and the United Nations protocol list. For instance, in parliamentary systems like the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Federal Republic of Germany; the Monarch and the President are recognized as their respective heads of state, while the Prime Minister and the Chancellor are recognized as the heads of government. However, in republics with a presidential system, as in the United States and the Federative Republic of Brazil, their presidents are recognized as being both heads of state and heads of government. The latter is also generally true in absolute monarchies and sometimes as well in other forms of authoritarian government.
A government is the system by which a state or community is governed. In British English (and that of the Commonwealth of Nations), a government more narrowly refers to the particular executive in control of a state at a given time—known in American English as an administration. In American English, government refers to the larger system by which any state is organized. Furthermore, government is occasionally used in English as a synonym for governance.
In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislators, administrators, and arbitrators. Government is the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state. A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political systems and institutions that make up the organisation of a specific government.
Absolute monarchy is a monarchial form of government in which the monarch exercises ultimate governing authority as head of state and head of government; his or her powers are not limited by a constitution or by the law. An absolute monarch wields unrestricted political power over the sovereign state and its people. Absolute monarchies are often hereditary but other means of transmission of power are attested. Absolute monarchy differs from limited monarchy, in which the monarch’s authority is legally bound or restricted by a constitution; consequently, an absolute monarch is an autocrat.
In theory, the absolute monarch exercises total power over the land and its subject people, yet in practice the monarchy is counterbalanced by political groups from among the social classes and castes of the realm, such as the aristocracy, clergy (see caesaropapism), bourgeoisie, and proletarians.
The divine right of kings, or divine-right theory of kingship, is a political and religious doctrine of royal and political legitimacy. It asserts that a monarch is subject to no earthly authority, deriving the right to rule directly from the will of God. The king is thus not subject to the will of his people, the aristocracy, or any other estate of the realm, including (in the view of some, especially in Protestant countries) the Church. According to this doctrine, only God can judge an unjust king. The doctrine implies that any attempt to depose the king or to restrict his powers runs contrary to the will of God and may constitute a sacrilegious act.
The remote origins of the theory are rooted in the medieval idea that God had bestowed earthly power on the king, just as God had given spiritual power and authority to the church, centering on the pope. The immediate author of the theory was Jean Bodin,]citation needed[ who based it on the interpretation of Roman law. With the rise of nation-states and the Protestant Reformation, the theory of divine right justified the king's absolute authority in both political and spiritual matters. The theory came to the fore in England under the reign of James I of England (1603–1625, also known as James VI of Scotland 1567–1625). Louis XIV of France (1643–1715) strongly promoted the theory as well.
In left-right politics, right-wing describes an outlook or specific position that accepts or supports social hierarchy or social inequality. Social hierarchy and social inequality is viewed by those affiliated with the Right as either inevitable, natural, normal, or desirable, whether it arises through traditional social differences or from competition in market economies. It typically accepts or justifies this position on the basis of natural law or tradition.
The term "right wing" has been used to refer to a number of different political positions through history. The political terms Right and Left were coined during the French Revolution (1789–99), and referred to where politicians sat in the French parliament; those who sat to the right of the chair of the parliamentary president were broadly supportive of the institutions of the monarchist Ancien Régime. The original Right in France was formed as a reaction against the Left, and comprised those politicians supporting hierarchy, tradition, and clericalism. The use of the expression la droite (the right) became prominent in France after the restoration of the monarchy in 1815, when le droit was applied to describe the Ultra-royalists. In English-speaking countries it was not until the 20th century that people applied the terms "right" and "left" to their own politics.