party, political, organization whose aim is to gain control of the government apparatus, usually through the election of its candidates to public office. Political parties take many forms, but their main functions are similar: to supply personnel for government positions; to organize these personnel around the formation and implementation of public policy; and to serve in a mediating role between individuals and their government. Political parties are as old as organized political systems. For example, many of the ancient Greek city-states had organized, competitive parties. Political parties have been organized for various reasons: to support a particular political figure, to advance a particular policy or a general ideological stand, to aid politically certain groups or sections of society, or merely to combine for short-term political advantage. Political parties have also been organized in various ways; in some, control is exercised by a small central elite, either elected or self-perpetuating, while in others, power is decentralized, with candidate picking and decision making spread among local party units. The modern mass political party has taken shape in the last century, along with the rise of democratic ideology, universal suffrage, nationalism, and more effective means of communication. Such a party is commonly categorized by the type of party system in which it operates. In a noncompetitive or one-party system, the party is often employed as part of the governing apparatus, with the functions of maintaining public support for the regime, encouraging popular participation in government programs, and alerting the government to changes in public opinion. In competitive systems, a distinction may be made between two-party systems, which seem to encourage a party strategy of moderation and compromise aimed at obtaining a majority vote, and multiparty systems, where there is less compromise and where a party's strategy emphasizes retaining the support of its core voters. In general, however, the structure and behavior of a particular country's political parties depends most heavily on the country's political and cultural history.

See V. O. Key, Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups (5th ed. 1964); S. M. Lipset and S. Rokkan, ed., Party Systems and Voter Alignments (1967); R. S. Katz, A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems (1981); R. L. McCormick, ed., Political Parties and the Modern State (1984); K. Von Beyme, Political Parties in Western Democracies (1985).

campaign, political, organized effort to secure nomination and election of candidates for government offices. In the United States, the most important political campaigns are those for the nomination and election of candidates for the offices of president and vice president. In each political party such nominations are made at a national convention preceding the presidential election.

Campaign costs in the United States have become enormous, with political advertising, especially television, being the greatest expense. As a result, parties and candidates need to raise many millions of dollars. Financial contributions by corporations, labor unions, and other other organizations, individuals, and federal employees as well as expenditures by the parties' national committees have been restricted by law. Closer regulation of contributions was attempted by establishment of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in 1974 and 1976; the FEC provides public financing in return for spending limits.

In the late 1990s, however, the FEC negated some of its own rules and weakened the restrictions. Additionally, political action committees are permitted as private campaign-funding vehicles, and unlimited "soft money" may be raised by political parties (as opposed to candidates) for "party development" (nearly $500 million in 2000). Also, a number of presidential candidates, beginning with George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential campaign, have chosen to forgo public financing in order to avoid the associated spending limits. Thus the reforms have not slowed the escalating cost of campaigns.

Attempts in the late 1990s to revamp the way national political campaigns are financed were successfully filibustered in the U.S. Senate, but in 2002 Congress passed legislation to eliminate soft money on the national level and restrict it on the state and local level while increasing the amount that could be donated to a candidate. The bill also restricted the ability of political action committees to mention candidates by name immediately before an election. That and the provisions regarding soft money were challenged in court but narrowly upheld (2003) by the Supreme Court. In 2007, however, a more conservative Court narrowed the restrictions on political action committees, and in 2009 the Court narrowly overturned its 2003 decision in part and declared a significant portion of the 2002 legislation unconstitutional when it ruled that Congress could not limit independent expenditures by corporations during elections.

In Great Britain the system of parliamentary government permits the overthrow of the cabinet by a vote of no confidence at any time, and, compared with U.S. congressional elections, this results in a more unified party campaign. British parliamentary and local elections are never held concurrently; campaigns are short and intensive, and party expenditures are comparatively very moderate and are fixed by law.

See V. O. Key, Politics, Parties and Pressure Groups (5th ed. 1964); L. Overacker, Presidential Campaign Funds (1991); J. Pollock, Party Campaign Funds (1991); P. Stern, The Best Congress Money (1991).

Political freedom is the absence of interference with the sovereignty of an individual by the use of coercion or aggression. The members of a free society would have full dominion over their public and private lives. The opposite of a free society would be a totalitarian state, which highly restricts political freedom in order to regulate almost every aspect of behavior. In this sense ‘freedom’ refers solely to the relation of men to other men, and the only infringement on it is coercion by men.


The concept of political freedom is very closely allied with the concepts of civil liberties and individual rights, which in most democratic societies is the profession characterized by various freedoms which are afforded the legal protection of the state. Some of these freedoms may include (in alphabetical order):


Various groups along the political spectrum naturally differ on what they believe constitutes "true" political freedom.

Left wing political philosophy generally couples the notion of freedom with that of positive liberty, or the enabling of an individual to realize her own potential. Freedom, in this sense, may include freedom from poverty, starvation, treatable disease, and oppression, as well as freedom from force and coercion, from whomever they may issue.

However Friedrich Hayek, a well-known classical liberal, criticized this as a misconception of freedom, instead emphasizing the aspects of negative liberty.

Hayek also famously noted that "liberty" and "freedom" have probably been the most abused words in recent history.

In contrast, Milton Friedman, another classical liberal, strongly incorporated the absence from coercion into his description of political freedom.

Many social anarchists see negative and positive liberty as complementary concepts of freedom. They describe the negative liberty-centric view endorsed by capitialists as "selfish freedom". According to Anarchism FAQ

Some treat freedom as if it were almost synonymous with democracy, while others see conflicts or even opposition between the two concepts. For example, some people argue that Iraq was free under Paul Bremer on the grounds that it was a rational, humanist, non-subjugating government, long before elections were held . Others have argued that Iraq was free under Saddam Hussein because Iraq was not a colony , while a third claim is that neither dictatorial nor colonial rule in Iraq are examples of political freedom.

Environmentalists often argue that political freedoms should include some constraint on use of ecosystems. They maintain there is no such thing, for instance, as "freedom to pollute" or "freedom to deforest" given that such activities create negative externalities. The popularity of SUVs, golf, and urban sprawl has been used as evidence that some ideas of freedom and ecological conservation can clash. This leads at times to serious confrontations and clashes of values reflected in advertising campaigns, e.g. that of PETA regarding fur.

There have been numerous philosophical debates over the nature of freedom, the claimed differences between various types of freedom, and the extent to which freedom is desirable. Determinists argue that all human actions are pre-determined and thus freedom is an illusion. Isaiah Berlin saw a distinction between negative liberty and positive liberty.

In jurisprudence, freedom is the right to determine one's own actions autonomously ; generally it is granted in those fields in which the subject has no obligations to fulfill or laws to obey, according to the interpretation that the hypothetical natural unlimited freedom is limited by the law for some matters.

Joseph Garcia(Not the politition) states his belief that freedom in politics is generally used as a governing tool: "For what we call freedom is given only to those who obey, it is then when you stand for what you believe and fight back against oppression you lose those freedoms, and when what is taken away should be your inalienable rights what choice does one have but to obey?"

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