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GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA Ch. 1 “There never has been, nor ever will be, a people who are politically ignorant and free.” Thomas Jefferson.

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Presentation on theme: "GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA Ch. 1 “There never has been, nor ever will be, a people who are politically ignorant and free.” Thomas Jefferson."— Presentation transcript:

1 GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA Ch. 1 “There never has been, nor ever will be, a people who are politically ignorant and free.” Thomas Jefferson

2 The Purpose of Government Preamble to the Constitution Form a More Perfect Union Establish Justice Insure Domestic Tranquility Provide for the Common Defense Promote the General Welfare Secure the Blessings of Liberty

3 GOVERNMENT What is Government? What is the purpose of Government? – To provide public services Police, fire, libraries, schools, etc. Police, fire, libraries, schools, etc. – To provide for the public defense Army, Navy, Marines, etc. Army, Navy, Marines, etc. – To solve conflicts & preserve order Court Systems; National Guard Court Systems; National Guard – To establish public policy Through laws, P actions, Ct. decisions, Budget choices, Regulation Through laws, P actions, Ct. decisions, Budget choices, Regulation – To socialize/educate the young…….how?

4 What is a nation-state / a “state?” Defined as: – A body of people – Living in a defined territory – Organized politically (with a government) – With sovereignty - the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority The dominant political unit in the world – Over 190 today, a/k/a “nation” or “country”

5 History of Political Development Origin of the State Theories Force Theory Evolutionary Theory Divine Right Theory Social Contract Theory

6 FORCE THEORY The first political leaders took control by conquest - force Gained control over territory, people, and possessions The “strongest” conquered the weak The state evolved out of the early family system Extended families grew into clans and then tribes Usually an elder male member of the family gained political power EVOLUTIONARY THEORY

7 DIVINE RIGHT THEORY The right to political power is granted by God God chooses political leaders God grants the right to rule to the nobility

8 SOCIAL CONTRACT THEORY By voluntary act, people left the “state of nature” & chose to form society to live by rule of law People gave up absolute freedom in exchange for protection provided by the State (government) Based on the principle of government by consent of the people Basis for democratic government Natural Rights of Life, Liberty, Property Right to Revolt if government seriously abuses its power Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau

9  Hobbes – (Ordered Gov’t / Absolute rule by one) Idea of social contract involves an absolute government since people cannot be trusted. Leviathan, 1651 - Human nature is nasty and mean-cannot be trusted to govern; each person is a threat to others for natural resources. So, people give up their natural law, right, and liberty for a social contract that provides order & the safety of civil law, rights, & liberty.  Rousseau – (Rule by all - direct democracy – mobocracy”) Version of contract theory is based on the concept of popular sovereignty –which is inalienable – thus, there can be no representative democracy, only direct democracy  Montesquieu – Separation of powers Saw separation of powers (division of power between executive, legislative, judicial branches of gov’t) as a way to reduce or eliminate the arbitrary power of unchecked rulers.

10 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE PEOPLE & THEIR GOVERNMENT Authoritarian System o the people cannot hold government accountable for its actions Democratic System o the people can hold government accountable for its actions through competitive elections

11 An autocracy is a government in which a single person holds unlimited political power. Monarchies and dictatorships are both autocratic …… how are they different? A monarchy is an autocratic government led by a hereditary ruler – what theory? A dictatorship exists where there is rule by one that is NOT related to lineage….. Can a monarchy be a dictatorship? Two Major Classifications of Governments: 1)AUTOCRACY:

12 Current Monarchies

13 Current Dictatorships

14 In a democracy, –supreme political authority rests with the people. A direct democracy exists where the will of the people is translated into law directly by the people themselves. –Examples? In an indirect democracy, a small group of persons, chosen by the people to act as their representatives, expresses the popular will. –Examples? 2)Democracy:

15 What is a “republic?” A political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who elect people to represent them – an indirect democracy.

16 Legislative & Executive Branches Represent the People Presidential System – Independent Executive – President elected separately from Congress Parliamentary System – Legislature (Parliament) chooses Prime Minister who must retain support of Parliament


18 DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACYDEMOCRACY – a means of selecting policymakers and organizing government so that policy represents & responds to the preferences, or will, of the public. – “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Dahl’s criteria for an ideal democracy: (1) equality in voting – “one person, one vote” (2) effective OPPORTUNITIES for participation (3) Enlightened understanding - plethora of ideas. (4) citizen control of the agenda. (5) inclusion of all who are willing to participate.

19 Major Tenets of Democracy: MAJORITY RULE with minority rights W orth of the individual E quality of all persons N ecessity of compromise I ndividual Freedom

20 Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on individual rights: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

21 Politics What is the difference between “politics” and “government?” – POLITICS IS A PROCESS ; GOVERNMENT IS AN INSTITUTIO N Politics is the process that selects our leaders who then fulfill positions in institutions of government that make public policy, using the policymaking system. Politician: person who has the ability to persuade others that it is in their selfish interest to follow him! The end product of government & politics is PUBLIC POLICY.


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