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Ideology background (Civ5)

Ideologies are a new end-game concept introduced in the Civilization V: Brave New World expansion pack. Ideologies take your society to the next level of social development, when tradition and customs cease to be the means for some additional bonuses for the empire and instead become a kind of a philosophical system which not only organizes your empire's view of the world, but is also able to affect the hearts and minds of common people in other nations. The three Ideologies available were formerly the Industrial Era social policies, which have now been expanded with additional content and more interesting gameplay mechanics in order to provide another level of depth in the late game.


Ideology (Civ5)

Ideology icon

Ideologies can be conceptualized as large, mutually exclusive social policy trees which affect not only one's own civilization, but also exert pressure on other civilizations. Besides bonuses provided, there are also diplomatic repercussions, especially when empires don't share an Ideology. 20xHappiness5 Happiness can be strongly affected by ideological interaction, and in fact hamper a civ's development.

Every civilization will be prompted to choose an Ideology upon reaching the Modern Era or controlling three Factories (either by constructing them or gaining control of cities with such a building). The choices are:

  • Freedom
  • Order
  • Autocracy

When you are deciding on the Ideology, you can see the recommended Victory types for each Ideology; furthermore, you can see all its tenets when you click on its details. Choose very carefully - the Ideology will channel the rest of the game for you!

By choosing an Ideology, you choose a path for the continued social development of your civilization. You can then focus on that path by adopting tenets for the chosen Ideology. These are basically theme-based social policies, and provide different bonuses for the empire. The way you adopt tenets shapes your Ideology, and tailors it to your needs and goals. See below for more information.

Ideology policy tree (Civ5)

Ideology image on the Social policies popup

Ideology has a big impact on the diplomatic relations with other civilizations, both in standard negotiations and in the matters of the World Congress. One very obvious effect is that you can have an idea of a civilization's voting intentions in the Congress if you follow the same Ideology even if you have no Diplomat in their Capital Capital! But other than that, those that follow the same Ideology as yours will tend to be more friendly to you, supportive, and open to sharing information. On the other hand, those with different Ideologies will tend to become more hostile. Another effect of differing Ideologies is a penalty to your Tourism Tourism influence over other civilizations (which will make it harder to progress towards a cultural victory).

Public Opinion and Preferred Ideology[]

The new cultural concept which involves a civilization gaining influence over other civilizations with Tourism Tourism also plays a major role in Ideologies. As in real life, travelers and tourists spread not only the culture of their nation, but also its political ideas, so the Tourism Tourism generated by a civilization also creates ideological pressure on other civilizations. In other words, politics now becomes a major factor in a nation's life, with the potential power to cause serious harm.

The main effect which expresses this is Public Opinion. Public Opinion refers to how well the people of one civilization feel about the Ideology their leaders have chosen. As such, there is no Public Opinion present with civilizations that have not adopted an Ideology yet.

A civilization that is not being influenced at all, or otherwise being influenced only by civilizations sharing the Ideology, will have the default Public Opinion level of Content (The people are in full agreement with their leaders about the ideology they are following). Conversely, when a civilization is being influenced by another one with different Ideology, its Public Opinion will drop to the lower levels, based on the exact influence difference:

  • Dissidents: Some enlightened people feel that there is something wrong with their ideology, and spread some discontent among the population, usually limited to media articles or graffiti.
  • Civil Resistance: The people unhappy with the nation's Ideology become many and organize to start causing mayhem. Strikes, protests and sporadic violence may be seen as a result.
  • Revolutionary Wave: This is the lowest level of Public Opinion. There is widespread discontent with the Ideology among the population and conscious efforts to effect a change are being constantly made. A Revolution is near!

To determine this, the civilization's influence level (exotic, familiar, etc.) over others is compared to the others' influence level over them - if the incoming influence is higher than the outgoing influence, ideological pressure is created and Public Opinion drops. The larger the difference, the more severe the drop. Each point of difference between the influence levels translates into one point of ideological pressure. Civilizations will also generate ideological pressure when influencing others following the same ideology, but these pressure points act defensively and will cancel out the pressure points coming from different ideologies.

For example, if America follows Freedom and is "Popular" towards Russia, and Russia follows Order and is "Familiar" towards America, then America will feel no ideological pressure, but Russia will receive 1 point of ideological pressure towards Freedom, since "Popular" is one level above "Familiar", and suffer from dissidents. However, if the same game also contains China, also following Order and influencing Russia by 1 point, then the American and Chinese influence will cancel each other out and Russia will stay at "Content".

The effect of low Public Opinion is the reduction of 20xHappiness5 Happiness. Discontent from Public Opinion translates directly into a certain level of added Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness for your empire (depending on the number of cities or the number of 20xPopulation5 Population, whichever is greater). The Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness penalty is more severe the higher the level of discontent is.

Based on the incoming cultural influences, the civilization will also have a Preferred Ideology. If the Public Opinion is Content, then the Preferred Ideology will always be the Ideology currently being followed. Otherwise, citizens will prefer the Ideology of whichever civilization(s) has the most influence over them. Depending on how severe the penalties are, a civilization may be compelled to change to the public's Preferred Ideology.

It is very difficult to maintain a Content Public Opinion level - you need to be a culturally strong civilization, be it in your Tourism Tourism stat or your total Culture Culture generated, or you will have to deal with some Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness generated from Public Opinion. You can eliminate that by switching Ideology, but you cannot do so while the Public Opinion is Content (and of course, you have no reason to do it in this case). Making an Ideology the World Ideology will effectively remove the Public Opinion for civilizations following that Ideology, while at the same time applying an extra level of Public Opinion against civilizations of different Ideologies, so long as the World Ideology resolution is in place.


When the Public Opinion of an empire drops to the lower level of discontent (Civil Resistance or Revolutionary Wave), and their other sources of 20xHappiness5 Happiness aren't enough to counter the negative effects, allowing the empire to reach low general levels of Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness (in the range of -10 to -19), the first adverse effects will manifest themselves with the appearance of Rebel units in random locations near cities in your empire. Rebels will attack your empire randomly, like the Barbarians, but they won't behave exactly like them - don't be confused by their black and red colors! Note also that Rebels are at the same tech level your civilization currently is, which means that they're pretty dangerous.

Even more severe effects will happen when Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness reaches levels as low as -20. At this point some cities within the empire will begin to revolt, meaning that they will leave the empire on their own. The city to revolt will usually be whichever city is closest to the Capital Capital of a civilization following the Preferred Ideology, and it will defect to said civilization. Note that only cities will switch sides, along with the territory they control - units in the city's territory will not switch sides. All Great Works in a "rebel" city will also switch to the other civilization. The city will still have a period of resistance and need a Courthouse (or it can be razed or made a puppet).

Because of the severity of these revolts, the game will give you advance warnings about impending city revolts. Pay attention and try to raise 20xHappiness5 Happiness in time to prevent the defection, by whatever means necessary.

Finally, in order to satisfy the masses, the civilization undergoing revolution may be compelled to switch to the Preferred Ideology. This brings the Public Opinion back up to Content, and gets rid of Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness originating from Public Opinion, but of course at the cost of the benefits from Tenets that had previously been adopted. Upon switching Ideologies, you get to pick a number of Tenets in your new Ideology equal to the number of Tenets you had in your old Ideology, minus any Early Adopter tenets you may have received from being one of the first two civilizations to pick that Ideology.

In this way, Ideologies and Tourism Tourism, combined with the World Congress's ability to further reduce 20xHappiness5 Happiness and sap the opponents' abilities to fight back, can be used as an effective weapon to cripple opponents' empires and steal cities from them without having to deal with the monetary, production, and diplomatic costs associated with going to war.

Switching Ideology[]

It is possible to change your Ideology, whether by choice or by necessity, but this is highly inadvisable. When you switch Ideology, your empire will have a one-turn Anarchy, which means that all your cities simply stop working for one turn - they not only stop their current Production, but they also don't produce any yields. Another, far more serious consequence is that you lose access to all tenets you had adopted from your previous Ideology. And if you had adopted many, this can turn out to be a complete disaster, since you may depend on them to maintain 20xHappiness5 Happiness or any other number of yields.

If the switch was a result of a social revolution, then you may not have much choice. In this case, at least you may end up actually recovering your empire's 20xHappiness5 Happiness, thanks to Public Opinion being set back to Content and removing all resulting Unhappiness (Civ5) Unhappiness.

Still, it is highly advisable to avoid switching Ideology at all costs, so think carefully when you choose your original Ideology.

Ideological Tenets[]

Each Ideology has a set of 16 Tenets, divided into three levels, which represent the gameplay effects of the chosen Ideology. Ideological Tenets can be unlocked by accumulating Culture Culture, the same way you adopt new social policies. When you have accumulated a sufficient amount of Culture Culture, you are given the option to adopt a new social policy or a new Ideological Tenet.

However, Tenets aren't organized into strict "trees" like Social Policies. They are divided into three levels, but all Tenets from the same level are interchangeable - that is, it doesn't matter which ones you will adopt first, as long as you have the necessary number to unlock a next-level Tenet.

You first unlock a Level 1 Tenet slot, which you can fill with any effect you choose from the list of Level 1 Tenets. Every Tenet after the first in the same level unlocks one new slot for a Tenet of the next level. You may choose which Tenet you want to unlock first within a level, much like you choose Beliefs when founding or enhancing a Religion. Note, however, that unlike Beliefs, different civilizations may choose the same Tenet.

Each Level 3 Tenet in an Ideology is associated with one of the victory conditions recommended for the Ideology you're currently following, providing some sort of bonus for achieving it. One of these helps you achieve a cultural victory, while the other two give you an edge to achieve two out of the three other available victory conditions.

The first two civilizations to adopt a certain Ideology will receive a reward - two and one Early Adopter free tenet(s), respectively - giving them an early advantage to improve their Ideologies and gameplay.

For detailed strategies for the use of Ideology, check here.


Freedom Tenents

Freedom Tenets

Freedom tenet (Civ5)

Freedom tenet icon

Allows construction of Statue of Liberty.

Level 1[]

Level 2[]

Level 3[]


Order Tenents

Order Tenets

Order tenet (Civ5)

Order tenet icon

Allows construction of Kremlin.

Level 1[]

Level 2[]

Level 3[]


Autocracy Tenents

Autocracy Tenets

Autocracy tenet (Civ5)

Autocracy tenet icon

Allows construction of Prora.

Level 1[]

Level 2[]

Level 3[]

  • Cult of Personality: +50% Tourism Tourism to Civilizations fighting a common enemy.
  • Gunboat Diplomacy: Gain 6 more Influence (Civ5) Influence per turn with City-States you could demand tribute from. Military units are 50% more effective at intimidating City-States.
  • Clausewitz's Legacy: Receive a +25% attack bonus to all Military Units for the first fifty turns after this tenet is added.


  • The three Ideologies can easily be connected to the three major ideological movements that gained momentum in the 20th century: Liberalism (Freedom), Communism (Order), and Fascism (Autocracy). The names of many Tenets (Five-Year Plan, Militarism, New Deal, etc.) also directly point to these connections. Of course, from a game standpoint, you can develop each Ideology in such a way that it bears no resemblance to its real-world counterpart - the game gives you a lot of freedom in this matter.
  • Like social policies, Ideologies will grant a unique honorific title to the nation's leader:
    • Freedom grants the title "President".
    • Order grants the title "Chairman".
    • Autocracy grants the title "The Terrible".

Related achievements[]

Axis Powered
Axis Powered
Win a Diplomatic Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
A reference to the alliance of fascist powers during World War II.
Better Red Than Dead
Better Red Than Dead
Win a Conquest Victory using the Order Ideology.
Reference comes from "Better dead than red", an anti-Communist slogan had been popular in the U.S. for to attempt to make peace with the Eastern Bloc allies in the 1950s.
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Win a Conquest Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
A reference of the titled namesake song by Tears For Fears.
Games Without Frontiers
Games Without Frontiers
Win a Diplomatic Victory using the Freedom Ideology.
One Small Step
One Small Step
Win a Space Victory using the Freedom Ideology
Taken from "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," a famous phrase used by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 Moon landing.
Radio Free Europe
Radio Free Europe
Adopt the Freedom Ideology and fill 10 Broadcast Towers with Great Works.
Radio Free Europe is an American-funded broadcasting organisation founded in 1949, broadcasting mainly to Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, to some extent as a propaganda broadcaster against the Communist Bloc. It is also the title of the first single by American alternative rock band R.E.M.
Rocking in the Free World
Rocking in the Free World
Win a Cultural Victory using the Freedom Ideology.
A reference to the Neil Young song of the same name.
Strength Through Joy
Strength Through Joy
Win a Cultural Victory using the Autocracy Ideology.
"Kraft durch Freude" (Strength Through Joy) was an organisation dedicated to leisure activities and tourism for Germans under the totalitarian, fascist Nazi regime. The world wonder unlocked by choosing the Autocracy ideology, Prora, was a Strength Through Joy project.
Tear Down this Wall!
Tear Down this Wall!
Force an AI player with the Order Ideology to switch to Freedom.
A reference of Tear down this wall!, a famous speech by American President Ronald Reagan in Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987 given a support to end communism in Eastern Europe (including Soviet Union and its allies).
Workers of the World - Unite!
Workers of the World - Unite!
Win a Cultural Victory using the Order Ideology.
References the rallying cry from The Communist Manifesto, a political pamphlet by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Win a Space Victory using the Order Ideology.
A pun of "Eureka" and "Yuri", named after the first human to journey into outer space, Yuri Gagarin.

See also[]

Civilization V [edit]
Gods & KingsBrave New World
† Only in vanilla Civ5
‡ Only in Gods & Kings and Brave New World