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The Evolution of World Politics

This week has two purposes. One is to establish a historical foundation for our analysis of international relations that emphasizes the themes and events you will encounter repeatedly in this book.

Second, this chapter sketches the evolution of the current, rapidly evolving world political system. The concept of an international system represents the notion that (1) the world is more than just the sum of its parts, such as countries, (2) that world politics is more than just the sum of the individual interactions among those parts, and (3) that there are general patterns of interactions among the system’s actors. The nature of the international system and its impact on world politics are further explored in chapter 3.


  • Recognize major trends in the evolving world system from the birth of states to the present.
  • Understand the origin of the current world system and the importance of the Treaty of Westphalia (1648).
  • Identify the changes that occurred during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and continue to have an important impact on the international system.
  • Discuss the emergence and features of the bipolar system following World War II.
  • Discuss the transition from a bipolar system to the most likely form of a modified multipolar system.
  • Identify both international and domestic challenges to the authority of the state.
  • Discuss the implications of following either the traditional national security or alternative international security approach in the quest for peace.
  • Discuss the implications of economic interdependence and the counter pressures to pursue more traditional national economic policies.
  • Discuss the implications of the growing economic disparity between the North and South.
  • Analyze the future of human rights and environmental issues in the face of national resistance to international solutions.

On a side note, please be aware that you must properly use citations when using outside sources. Citations must be at the bottom of the post and in proper format. Each initial discussion post should have at least one outside sources.

in own words

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