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The Principles of Government What is Government? Terms of Government Theories of How Government Began The Purpose of Government.

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Presentation on theme: "The Principles of Government What is Government? Terms of Government Theories of How Government Began The Purpose of Government."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Principles of Government What is Government? Terms of Government Theories of How Government Began The Purpose of Government

2 What is Government? Government is among the oldest of all human inventions. Its origins are lost in mists of time. The earliest known governments date from around 3000 B.C. in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Greek philosopher Aristotle observed more than 2,300 years ago that “man is by nature a political animal.”

3 Many terms and concepts of government originated in ancient Greece and Rome. Politics Democracy Republic

4 Government Government is an institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. What are some examples of public policies? The list of public policy issues is nearly endless.

5 Government Governments must have power in order to make and carry out public policies. Every government has three basic kinds of power: 1. Legislative Power – The power to make law 2. Executive Power – The power to execute, enforce, and administer law 3. Judicial Power – The power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within society.

6 Government These powers of government are often outlined in a country’s constitution. A constitution is the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and process of a government.

7 The State Over the course of human history, the state has emerged as the dominant political unit. A State is a political community that has these four characteristics: –1) clearly defined boundaries- the exact location has often lead to war –2) population –3) government –4) sovereignty- independent, has supreme authority within its boundaries

8 The State Today there are more than 190 states in the world. This has more than doubled from 50 years ago. People often call a state a “nation” or a “country.” However, the word nation is an ethnic term, referring to races or other large groups of people. The word country is a geographic term, referring to a particular place, region, or area of land. The most popular political type of states in the world today are called nation-states.

9 The largest State based on population is:

10 The People’s Republic of China Population: 1,324,655,000

11 The largest State based on territory is:

12 Russian Federation Area : 6,592,800 square miles

13 The smallest state based on population and territory is:

14 Vatican City Population: 1,000 Area [sq.mi]: 0.17

15 How did the state or government come to be? No one knows why people created the earliest governments. Scholars have constructed some theories.

16 Theories of the Origin of the State 1) Evolutionary Theory - Belief that the state evolved gradually from the family (father> tribe> clan> state)(Ex. Sioux Indians, Israel)

17 Theories of the Origin of the State 2) Force Theory-Belief that a powerful individual or a group took over an area by force & established government.

18 Theories of the Origin of the State 3) Divine Right Theory- Belief that God intended a particular person and his family to rule over a state. (Egyptians, Chinese, and Aztecs felt their rulers were either descendants or chosen by God. 1400's England to oppose the monarch was to oppose God and was both treason and sin.)

19 Theories of the Origin of the State 4) Social Contract- conceived by John Locke, a British political theorist, in 1690.Belief that people were naturally endowed with the right to life, liberty, and property. To preserve these rights they freely gave power to a governing authority.

20 The Social Contract Theory States: 1) The state exists only to serve the will of the people. 2) The people are the source of its power. 3) The people can give and take away power to the government.

21 Nearly a century later the American colonies revolted against King George III, supported by the political philosophy of natural rights Locke had written.

22 The Purpose of Government Today governments serve several major purposes:

23 The Purpose of Government 1)To maintain social order- people can't live without conflict. Gov't provides ways to resolve conflict by placing limits on what people can do.

24 The Purpose of Government 2) To provide public services - Gov't provides essential services that make community life possible and promotes the general welfare. Ex. sewer systems and inspection of meat.

25 The Purpose of Government 3) To provide national security- protect people against the threat of attack or terrorism.

26 The Purpose of Government 4) To make economic decisions-Gov't passes laws that determine and control the economic environment of the state. From providing a national currency to controlling every individual's economic decisions.

27 Have Popular attitudes toward government changed since Lincoln’s time? “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. But in all that people can individually do for themselves, government ought not to interfere.” -Abraham Lincoln, 1854


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