Victoria 3: How To Manage Your Government And Laws

Quick Links

  • How To Pass Laws
  • Institutions
  • Legitimacy
  • Elections And Government Reform

Without law, everything would fall into disorder. At least, that's how Victoria 3 handles things. In this game, laws are extremely important – they dictate almost everything about the lives of your Pops – their liberties, rights to free speech, subsidized education, and more. For example, your Trade Law has four policy options, ranging from completely Free Trade to closed-borders Isolationism.

Changing your laws is the primary way to mold your nation into the nation you want it to be. However, you can't just slam the laws down in any old order and hope for the best – laws need to be voted on and passed by those with political might in your nation, and you can only pass one law at a time.

How To Pass Laws

When you go to the laws menu and try to choose a policy, you'll be presented with a percentage chance of that specific policy being passed in a given voting cycle. Voting cycles last a number of days based on each law's base voting cycle rate, Legitimacy, and legislative efficiency. We'll cover Legitimacy later.

The chance of passing the law can fluctuate within that cycle. You'll likely be presented with events with tough decisions that will affect the chance of passing the law, and you may be forced to suffer some Radicalism or Turmoil as a result.

Note that the percentage you see is only the chance of a law passing in a given cycle, not the chance of the law passing at all. As long as the number remains positive, there is always a chance. In addition, there are some events in the game that let you boost the chance by a huge amount, effectively letting you brute-force the law change.

You will not be able to begin voting for laws that have no chance to pass, so how do you improve your chances? It's quite simple: you need Interest Groups that favor the law to have political clout. Laws that improve the working lives and rights of workers are going to be unpopular with Industrialists, for example, so if they are a particularly powerful group, you might have no chance in hell of passing them.

This is why it's a good idea to learn how to manipulate Interest Groups and their levels of clout to be able to pass the laws you want. If you hover over the law in question, you'll be able to see at a glance which Interest Groups have an opinion on them – if you're passionate about getting the law passed, you can take steps to empower those in favor and disenfranchise those against it. An easy 'set it and forget it' way to do this is to Bolster or Suppress those Interest Groups.

Every time a voting cycle reaches its conclusion, one of four things will happen:

  • The law will pass, immediately coming into effect.
  • The law's progress will advance, increasing the likelihood that the law passes at the next checkpoint.
  • The law will be stalled, reducing the likelihood that the law passes at the next checkpoint.
  • The law is debated, which is a complication that requires your input. What happens here is quite random, and is more likely if the chances of passing, advancing, and stalling are all relatively low.

While voting on a law, Interest Groups in favor of the law will get a large approval bonus towards you, while those against will get a large approval drop. Keep an eye out for any indication that a decision will increase Radicalism, as this can be disastrous for your country's stability.

Political Movements

From time to time, Interest Groups that are unhappy with how the country is run may start up a Political Movement. These movements have specific goals – either to change, revert, or preserve a specific law. If the movement is powerful – which you can see on your Government Overview screen – you'll want to take it seriously. Movements that go ignored may become revolutionary if there's enough Radicalism within.

Institutions

Apart from laws, the best way to induce huge changes in your country is by investing in Institutions. These are tiered policies that you unlock by enacting certain laws, and you can choose to invest Bureaucracy in them to level them up.

Unlocking an institution will automatically set it at level one, which does cost some Bureaucracy. Simply unlocking the Institutions isn't always enough to let you level them up, though – some of them require that you increase your maximum Institution level through specific, more advanced laws. Also, some Technologies will raise the max level of an Institution but do not unlock them outright.

Leveling up an Institution takes time – roughly one year, or 50 weeks, per level.

The table below details every Institution in the game and the laws that unlock them:

InstitutionUnlock MethodDescription
Home AffairsInternal Security LawsReduces revolution rate and radicals from Standards of Living drops, and increases loyalists from Standards of Living increases.
Colonial AffairsColonization LawsEach level increases colonial growth generation.
Law EnforcementPolicing LawsEach level reduces the amount of Radicalism generated when Standards of Living drop, and also reduces the penalties incurred by Turmoil.
EducationEducation System Laws and Children's Rights LawsEach level increases Literacy in children as they grow up, and also boosts cultural assimilation rates.
Health SystemHealth System LawsEach level reduces mortality based on exactly which Health System laws you have enacted.
Workplace Safety OfficeLabor Rights LawsEach level reduces workplace danger, effectively reducing workplace mortality. Also increases the minimum wage.
Social SecurityWelfare LawsEach level provides more welfare payments to the poorest Pops in your country, and also reduces their political power.

Legitimacy

As the game puts it, Legitimacy is a measure of how well the makeup of the ruling party suits the country's currently-enacted laws. This is one of the main factors, but there are other things that can affect Legitimacy.

To improve Legitimacy, you'll want to make sure that Interest Groups with lots of political power and clout are in the ruling party, not the opposition. Keep in mind, however, that having a ruling party with too many Pops will reduce your Legitimacy significantly – you need an opposition party of some substance, it seems.

To improve your Legitimacy, try switching to Governance Principles and Distribution of Power Laws that boost it, such as Parliamentary Republic and Universal Suffrage. In addition, you'll get a nice bonus if your leader is a member of an Interest Group in power – this is guaranteed if your leader is based on elections.

If you have low Legitimacy, it will be more difficult to pass new laws, so taking steps to ensure it remains high – at least 60 percent as a baseline – is a good idea.

Elections And Government Reform

If you have a law and government type that enables elections, they will occur every four years and take six months. At the end of the voting period, the votes are tallied, and Interest Groups will have their political power levels adjusted accordingly.

Some government types have leaders chosen by elections, while others will only have the parties in power chosen. If the former, you'll want to pay more attention to elections – leader traits can impact your country significantly.

Once an election happens, you will be notified that you can reform your government for free. What this means is that you can rejig the makeup of your ruling party without incurring any Radicalism from Interest Groups forced into the opposition. This isn't always necessary, especially if your nation is quite stable, but it's worth considering each and every time an election happens to improve your Legitimacy.

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