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Presentation on theme: "GOVERNMENT IN AMERICA Ch. 1"— Presentation transcript:

Politics and Government Matter Many Americans – especially young people – are apathetic about politics and government. Voter turnouts: ’96 turnout below 50% for 1st time since early 20s when women had just received suffrage & had not yet begun to use it as frequently as men Young always have lowest turnout – fallen from 50% in 1972 to 33% in 2000 A tremendous gap has opened up between the young (under age 25) and the elderly (over age 65) on many measures Political interest – have had no major public policy issues like Medicare or Vietnam Knowledge Participation – major political events & campaigns used to be shared national experiences but today’s youth have never known a time when most citizens paid attention to politics Goal of text authors is for students to realize importance of politics. Government has a substantial impact on all our lives We have the opportunity to have a substantial impact on our government “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 We the people of the U.S. in order to …. liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this ….

3 GOVERNMENT What is Government? What is the purpose of Government?
To provide public services Police, fire, libraries, schools, etc. To provide for the public defense Army, Navy, Marines, etc. To solve conflicts & preserve order Court Systems; National Guard To establish public policy Through laws, P actions, Ct. decisions, Budget choices, Regulation To socialize/educate the young…….how? What governments do. Regardless of how they assumed power, all governments have certain functions in common Governments maintain national defense Governments provide public goods – things that everyone can share, like clean air & water. Governments have police powers to provide order – as when the Chinese government crushed the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and when the National Guard was called in to restore order in Los Angeles after the 1992 Rodney King verdict. Governments provide public services – such as schools and libraries. Governments collect taxes to pay for the services they provide. (1 of every 3 dollars) Governments socialize the young into the political culture – typically through practices such as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in daily exercises at public schools.

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” People – population – number is not important; don’t have to be homogeneous. Greatest pops – China, India, U.S. Territory – size doesn’t matter here either. Russia is largest – 6.6 million square miles (U.S. is almost 4 million square miles). Government – whatever type. Hobbes said it was necessary to avoid “the war of every man against every man.” Without gov’t, Hobbes said there would be “continual fear & danger of violent death and life would be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Sovereignty – supreme and absolute power. Not subordinate or responsible to any other authority and can decide its own domestic and foreign policies. The U.S. is a “sovereign state.” Why are the states in the U.S. not sovereign? (they’re subordinate to the Constitution of the U.S.) But note: “nation” technically is an ethnic term referring to races or other large groups of people and a “country” is a geographic term referring to a particular place, region, or area of land

5 History of Political Development
Origin of the State Theories Force Theory Evolutionary Theory Divine Right Theory Social Contract Theory 1

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 2

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 4

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 ( ) 5

9 Hobbes – (Ordered Gov’t / Absolute rule by one)
Idea of social contract involves an absolute government since people cannot be trusted. Leviathan, 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. Some of these ideas from each of these philosophers will find their way into the Constitution. If men are not naturally in a state of war, why do they always carry arms & why do they have locks on their doors? Hobbes The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only have the law of nature for his rule. Locke When the lawmaking and the law-enforcing powers are united in the same person, there can be no liberty. Montesquieu Any law which the people have not ratified in person is void; it is not law at all. Rousseau Hobbes’ major work was Leviathan. Hobbes’ theory holds that without society, we would live in a state of nature, where we each have unlimited natural freedoms. in the state of nature can do anything he likes; but this also means that anyone can do anything he likes to anyone else. To avoid this, we jointly agree to limit our rights in a social contract by which we each gain civil rights in return for subjecting ourselves to civil law or to political authority. Locke presumes people will understand that, in order to best protect themselves and their property, they must come together into some sort of govt and agree to adhere to certain standards of behavior. Thus, they relinquish some of their natural rights to enter into a social compact. In this civil society, the people submit natural freedoms to the common laws of the society; in return, they receive the protection of the government. Which contemporary theory of democracy would Rousseau’s theories subscribe to? Hyperpluralism Which contemporary theory would Locke’s philosophy subscribe to? Elite/class Ending questions: How large is gov’t in U.S.? The government of the United States actually does less and is small – compared to the governments of similar governments. Germany, Great Britain, Canada, and Japan all spend a massive amount of their budgets on national insurance that provides most healthcare. The tax burden on Americans is also small, compared to other democratic nations. Why is individualism so important in American political thought? it has helped limit the scope of American government. It developed from immigrants’ desire to escape government oppression. The existence of a western frontier up until the early twentieth century allowed people to escape government almost entirely; this ethos still infuses American individualism.

Authoritarian System the people cannot hold government accountable for its actions Democratic System the people can hold government accountable for its actions through competitive elections 10

11 Two Major Classifications of Governments:
1) AUTOCRACY: 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? Examples of autocracies? Hitler’s Nazi regime Fascists – Mussolini Communists – USSR; Stalin Maoists – China Hussein’s Iraq (but now a parliamentary democracy) What about Saudi Arabia? Monarchy – Note that the King is also the Prime Minister There is a legislative body – appointed by King; legal system is based on Islamic law What about Iran? Iran is a theocracy. The country is ruled by Muslim clerics. It is actually a republic with a Supreme Leader (highest political & religious authority) and a President (Ahmadinejad) What about Venezuela? Although Venezuela's government is ostensibly claimed to be a federal republic, it is very rapidly becoming a tyrannical dictatorship under "President" Hugo Chavez. He has "nationalized" all foreign business activities, and his followers have either killed or driven out of the country most of the affluent business class - creating another Cuba? What about Myanmar (Burma – between China and India)? A “military junta” since 1989 coup. - a group of military officers who rule a country after seizing power – or government by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors.

12 Current Monarchies

13 Current Dictatorships
With the death of Muammar Gaddafi, another country, Libya, is free of the dictatorship that choked the country for 42 years. Even so, many dictators like Gaddafi are still in charge of tens of countries all over the world. In this article we are going to talk about the top 10 most hated tyrants right now and the reason why they should be removed from power. There are at least 33 dictators all over the world According to CBS, out of 193 countries in the world, at least 33 are being ruled right now by dictators. On the map we can see that the areas where tyrants are oppressing people are in Africa and South West of Asia and that former Soviet republics, Kazahstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tadjikistan are also being lead by bloody dictators. We also notice that the only country in Europe that is still being lead by a dictator is Belarus, and the dictator’s name is Aleksandra Lukashenka. people accept him.

14 2) Democracy: 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. in the direct democracy of Athens, the citizens did not nominate representatives to vote on legislation and executive bills on their behalf (as in the United States) but instead voted as individuals. Participation was by no means open, but the in-group of participants was constituted with no reference to economic class and they participated on a big scale. Examples other than the U.S.? Japan - Constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. Still has an Emperor in name – no power just like queen of England - Hirohito's son, Emperor Akihito, sits on the Chrysanthemum Throne. France Canada Mexico Russia: They have a Federal Republic, which means that Russia has a federation of states with a Republican form of Government. It is also semi-presidential, which means that both a Prime Minister and a President handle day-to-day business together.

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 9


18 DEMOCRACY DEMOCRACY – 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. Equality in voting – the principle of “one person, one vote” is basic to democracy. Effective representation – political participation must be representative. Enlightened understanding – free speech and free press are essential to civic understanding. Citizen control of the agenda – citizens should have the collective right to control the government’s policy agenda. Inclusion – citizenship must be open to all within a nation.

19 Major Tenets of Democracy:
MAJORITY RULE with minority rights Worth of the individual Equality of all persons Necessity of compromise Individual Freedom Worth of the Individual: BUT, the welfare of one or a few individuals is subordinated to the interests of the many in a democracy Equality of all persons: TJ & “all men are created equal.” BUT doesn’t mean equality of conditions or that all have a right to an equal share of worldly goods. Means equality of opportunity & equality before the law. Majority Rule with Minority Rights: Majority rule is only satisfactory way to determine the will of the people. BUT, without limits, majority could destroy its opposition & thus democracy. So, democracy insists that majority rule be restrained by minority rights. Minority has the right to become, by fair and lawful means, the majority. Compromise: Necessary since democracy puts individual first &, at same time, insists that each individual is the equal of all others. Too many different competing groups, interests, opinions to make a decision any other way. Also, very few public issues have only 2 sides – for ex., paving a public street – who should pay? City? Property owners along the street? Both? A Toll? Individual Freedom: What is the difference between “freedom” and “liberty?” Note: freedom is not complete – that would be anarchy. In a democracy, each individual must be as free to do as he or she please as far as the freedom of all will allow. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes on relative nature of each individual’s rights: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”

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

What is the difference between “politics” and “government?” POLITICS IS A PROCESS; GOVERNMENT IS AN INSTITUTION 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. POLITICS is a process; GOVERNMENT is an institution. Politics is process by which a society decides how power and resources will be distributed within that society. Politics is the process – the means by which govt is conducted. Political scientist Harold Laswell defines politics as “Who gets what, when and how.” Political Participation refers to the ways in which people get involved in politics. Voter turnout is a major indicator of the health of a government. America does quite poorly when judged by its voter turnout. – one of lowest in all the world. Single-issue groups – interest groups whose members will vote on a single issue, such as pro-life and pro-choice groups that ignore a politician’s stand on everything except abortion; usually have narrow interest, dislike compromise The Policymaking System A policymaking system is a set of institutions and activities that link together government, politics, and public policy In a democratic society, political parties, elections, interest groups, and the media are key linkage institutions between the citizens and the government’s policy agenda. The end product of government and politics is public policy. When people confront government officials with problems they expect them to solve, they are trying to influence the government’s policy agenda. A policy agenda is the list of problems to which political leaders are paying serious attention. Political parties and interest groups work very hard to get the issues that they want on the policy agenda. A political issue arises when people disagree about a problem or about a public policy choice. The end product of government and politics is public policy. Sometimes this can also include not only what they decide to do but what they decide not to do. Policymakers stand at core of the political system, working within the three policymaking institutions established by the US Constitution: the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. (& #4 – bureaucracy) Note: few policies made by a single institution, e.g., environmental policy (P—Congress – bureaucracy – Courts)


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