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lesson Note
Subject: Government
Topic: Political Power and Authority.
Lesson Objectives: by the end of the Lesson, the learners should be able to:

1. Define Political Power and Political Authority;

2. Mention and explain the types of power;

3. Mention the sources of political authority;

4. Say the Differences between political power and Political Authority.

Lesson Summary / Discussion

A. Power
Power may be defined as the ability to make someone act against his will
and conform to certain desires. It is also the ability of a leader or ruler to exert influence on the subjects to control their behaviour. Power is the substance of politics and its possession and use helps from government to execute her will.

Types of Power
1. Political power: This is used by the people in government to control the
affairs of the society. It helps the rulers to make binding decisions for the entire citizens of a country. The President, governors and the local
government chairmen wield this type of power on the society.

2. Economic Power: Economic power is based on the possession and use of
economic resources. Land owners and estate owners possess this type of

3. Physical power: This involves the use of physical force to obtain
compliance. It is also called naked force. Student unions and some youthful organizations made up of strong and energetic members sometimes make use of this power.

4. Military power: Armed forces use this to regulate the conduct of people in the society. This type ot power is backed up with the use of gun.

5. Charismatic Power: This is acquired through the enviable quality of a leader.
This special charisma helps him to compel others to obey through persuasion.

B. Authority

Authority is defined as the moral right to give orders and enforce obedience. Authority puts one in a moral position to decide on issues, make policies and settle conflicts which is acknowledged by the generality of people.
Authority is the right to hold and exercise power.

Sources of Political Authority
1. Traditional Authority: This is derived from existing customs and tradition
of people which are hereditary. Monarchs and Queens derive their political power from this source.

2. Legal Authority: This is based on fundamental rules and regulations
otherwise referred to as constitution. Democratic leaders and sometimes Military heads of state exercise this type of authority.

3. Charismatic Authority: “This type of authority is based on the exceptional
good qualities of a person whicn make him accepted by people as a leader.

4. Consent of the people. The agreement of people in a given society can form source of authority on which a person or group of persons can exercise power.

Differences Between Political Power And Authority

1. Political Power is the ability to control others while political authority is the moral right to control others.

2. Power is exercised with force and sanction whereas political authority is exercised with moral principles that do not involve the application of force.

3. Power may not generate acceptance by people and so may lack legitimacy but political authority generates legitimacy.

4. Political power relies mainly on force meanwhile political authority relies on consent.

5. In political power, fear and sanction compels people to comply with directives however the acceptable sources like charisma, custom and traditions enable people to comply in the use of political authority.

Done studying? See previous lessons in Government

Lesson Evaluation / Test

1. Define Political Power and Political Authority.

2. Mention and explain the types of power.

3. What are the sources of political authority?

4. What are the differences between political power and Political Authority?

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