This authoritative analysis introduces the key concepts used by contemporary political scientists. Rigorous, concise, and tightly argued, it makes use of everyday and historical examples to illustrate important and challenging conceptual material. Uses the core political phenomenon of influence as a springboard to explaining politics, government, state, political systems, democracy, and the like. Explores the democratic political system and what has been learned about the conditions that facilitate or undermine democracy. Is updated throughout to treat recent developments in world events and political analysis. Discusses the important differences between democratic and nondemocratic systems. For anyone interested in learning more about how political systems and governments work.