As a social science, contemporary political science started to take shape in the latter half of the 19th century. At that time it began to separate itself from political philosophy, which traces its roots back to the works of Chanakya , Aristotle and Plato which were written nearly 2,500 years ago. The term "political science" was not always distinguished from political philosophy, and the modern discipline has a clear set of antecedents including also moral philosophy, political economy, political theology, history, and other fields concerned with normative determinations of what ought to be and with deducing the characteristics and functions of the ideal state.
Originally, political economy meant the study of the conditions under which production or consumption within limited parameters was organized in nation-states. In that way, political economy expanded the emphasis of economics, which comes from the Greek oikos (meaning "home") and nomos (meaning "law" or "order"). Thus, political economy was meant to express the laws of production of wealth at the state level, just as economics was the ordering of the home. The phrase économie politique (translated in English as political economy ) first appeared in France in 1615 with the well-known book by Antoine de Montchrétien , Traité de l’economie politique . The French physiocrats , along with Adam Smith , John Stuart Mill , David Ricardo , Henry George , and Karl Marx were some of the exponents of political economy.  The world's first professorship in political economy was established in 1754 at the University of Naples Federico II in southern Italy . The Neapolitan philosopher Antonio Genovesi was the first tenured professor. In 1763, Joseph von Sonnenfels was appointed a Political Economy chair at the University of Vienna , Austria. Thomas Malthus , in 1805, became England's first professor of political economy, at the East India Company College , Haileybury, Hertfordshire .