What factors are most important to establish power in a governmental system?
One example is religion.
Give examples from China, the islamic empire, feudal europe, the age of exploration, absolutism (prussia, france, austria), constitutional monarchy in england, the first french republic (french revolutionary period)
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There is no single factor, of course, other than the ability to have those governed to believe that it is in their best interest to obey the ruler. In the case of Europe, for many years the belief was that God had sanctioned the ruler, hence the theory of Divine Right. Most such monarchs added the words "by the grace of God" to their titles. In China, a somewhat similar belief existed based on the Mandate of Heaven, a belief that the harmony of the universe might be impaired if the ruler were not followed. Constitutional Monarchy is largely based on the ideas of John Locke, that governments' primary purpose is to protect people's basic rights; they can change that government if it fails to do so. Similar thinking existed during the revolutionary period in France, as indicated by the Declaration of the Rights of Man. In Islamic countries, most governments are tantamount to theocracies, so the ruler rules literally through God's sanction.
Religion, protection of basic rights, even fear may be the basis of governmental power; although the extent to which these factors are successful varies widely. In each instance, however, power derives from the belief of the governed that they would fare the poorer were it not for the force of government.
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