A government is an organization that has the power to make and enforce laws for a certain territory. There are several definitions on what exactly constitutes a government.
The government has been defined as the dominant decision-making arm (the policy elite) of the state. The latter has been defined (by the political economist Max Weber and later political philosophy) as the organization that holds a monopoly in legitimate use of violence within its territory. If seen in ethical terms, the definition of "legitimate" is open to discussion, and implies that an organisation may be considered a state by its supporters but not by its detractors. Some define "legitimate" as simply involving active and tacit support by the vast majority of the population, i.e., the absence of civil war. (An entity that shares military/police power with independent militias and bandits is not a state in this view. It may be a "failed state.") Democratic control over the government -- and thus the state -- would encourage the legitimacy of the state in this view.
Legal history is a term that has at least two meanings.
(1) Among certain jurists and historians of legal process it has been seen as the recording of the evolution of laws and the technical explanation of how these laws have evolved with the view of better understanding the origins of various legal concepts, some consider it a branch of intellectual history.
(2) Twentieth century historians have viewed legal history in a more contextualized manner more in line with the thinking of social historians. They have looked at legal insistutions as complex systems of rules, players and symbols and have seen these elements interact with society to change, adapt, resist or promote certain aspects of civil society. Such legal historians haved tended to analyze case histories from the parameters of social science inquiry, using statistical methods, analyzing class distinctions among litigants, petitioners and other players in various legal processes. By analyzing case outcomes, transaction costs, number of settled cases the have begun an anlysis of legal institutions, practices, procedures and briefs that give us a more complex picture of law and society that the study of jurisprudence, case law and civil codes can achieve.
Political science is the study of politics. It involves the study of structure and process in government - or any equivalent system that attempts to assure safety, fairness, and closure across a broad range of risks and access to a broad range of commons for its human charges. Accordingly, political scientists may study social institutions such as corporations, unions, churches, or other organizations whose structure and process approach that of government in complexity and interconnection.
The term "political science" was first coined in 1880 by Herbert Baxter Adams, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University.