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Government. What is government and Why does it exist?  Government is the institution by which society makes and enforces its public policies.  Public.

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Presentation on theme: "Government. What is government and Why does it exist?  Government is the institution by which society makes and enforces its public policies.  Public."— Presentation transcript:

1 Government

2 What is government and Why does it exist?  Government is the institution by which society makes and enforces its public policies.  Public Policy – all those things government does.  Government is the institution through which the state maintains social order, provides public services and enforces binding decisions on citizens.

3 Who Governs and to what ends?  Traditional answer – Those people who exercise government’s powers and have authority and control over other people  Legislators – make the laws  Executives –administer and enforce the laws  Judges – apply the law to court cases  This course will be about answering this question as we explore  Foundations of American Government  Government institutions  The Political Process, Participants and the Political Process

4 What is a state?  The state can be defined as a body of people living in a defined territory, organized politically under a government, having the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority.

5 Characteristics of a state  People / Population  Land or Territory  Government  Sovereignty

6 People  People may be homogeneous - people who are basically alike or heterogeneous - people of different races, language, religions and customs.  The nature of a state’s population affect its stability. Where the people who share a general political and social consensus about basic beliefs have the most stable governments.

7  The mobility of the population has an effect on political power – shifting power in the USA (rural to cities, cities to suburbs, north to south)

8 Territory or Land  Boundaries – Exact shape or location of boundaries are often a source of conflict  US has gained territory from purchase, negotiation, and war.

9 Sovereignty  The key characteristic of a state is sovereignty  Sovereignty is absolute authority within one’s own territory  Sovereignty is the one characteristic that distinguishes the state from all lesser political units (The States within the United States are not sovereign and not states)

10  Location of sovereignty within a state is of supreme importance.  If the people are sovereign then the government is democratic.  If a single person, or a small group hold absolute power a dictatorship exists.

11 Government  Every state is politically organized.  Every state has some form of government.

12 Terms  Country and Nation are terms used interchangeably with state but …  Country is a geographic term referring to a place or boundaries  Nation is an ethnic term referring to races or other groups of people  A State like one of the United States is a lesser political unit lacking absolute authority within its own boundaries.

13 Where did the state come from?  The Four Theories RE: Origin of the state  Force Theory  Evolutionary Theory  Divine Right Theory  Social Contract Theory

14 Force Theory  One person or group claimed control over an area and forced all within it to submit to that person’s or group’s rule.

15 Evolutionary Theory  The state evolved naturally out of the family. In the primitive family one person was the head (government). Over time a family became a network of relatives, a clan. Clans became tribes and later clans gave up their nomadic ways turning to agriculture and the state was born.

16 Divine Right Theory  The Gods have chosen certain people to rule – by divine right  Some believed their rulers were gods, descendents of gods or at least chosen by gods  People believed the state was created by God  Concept of royal birth  To disobey a ruler is to disobey God

17 Social Contract  Philosophers believed the origin of the state was in a social contract  Thomas Hobbes  In a state of nature no government existed  Without gov’t life was cruel brutish and short  By contract the people surrendered to the state power needed to maintain order – The state agreed to protect its citizens  People did not have the authority to break the contract

18  John Locke  Took the contract further ….  Locke defended Parliament’s overthrow of King James II  He wrote people were endowed with the right to life, liberty and property (natural rights)  To preserve their rights they willingly contracted to give power to a government.  If government failed to preserve the rights of the people they could break the contract  Locke influenced Jefferson

19 Declaration Of Independence  Key Principles  All human beings are created equal and they are endowed with certain rights  These are rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness – Unalienable rights  Government was created to protect these basic rights  Government derive their power from the consent of the governed  If a government abuses its power the people may change, eliminate and establish a new one.

20 Purposes of Government  To maintain social order  To provide public services  To provide national security and common defense  To provide for and control the economic system


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