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 peopleLegislators – make the lawsExecutives –administer and enforce the lawsJudges – apply the law to court casesThis course will be about answering this question as we exploreFoundations of American GovernmentGovernment institutionsThe 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 / PopulationLand or TerritoryGovernmentSovereignty
6 PeoplePeople 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 LandBoundaries – Exact shape or location of boundaries are often a source of conflictUS 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 territorySovereignty 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 TermsCountry and Nation are terms used interchangeably with state but …Country is a geographic term referring to a place or boundariesNation is an ethnic term referring to races or other groups of peopleA 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 stateForce TheoryEvolutionary TheoryDivine Right TheorySocial Contract Theory
14 Force TheoryOne 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 TheoryThe 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 TheoryThe Gods have chosen certain people to rule – by divine rightSome believed their rulers were gods, descendents of gods or at least chosen by godsPeople believed the state was created by GodConcept of royal birthTo disobey a ruler is to disobey God
17 Social ContractPhilosophers believed the origin of the state was in a social contractThomas HobbesIn a state of nature no government existedWithout gov’t life was cruel brutish and shortBy contract the people surrendered to the state power needed to maintain order – The state agreed to protect its citizensPeople did not have the authority to break the contract
18 John Locke Took the contract further …. Locke defended Parliament’s overthrow of King James IIHe 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 contractLocke influenced Jefferson
19 Declaration Of Independence Key PrinciplesAll human beings are created equal and they are endowed with certain rightsThese are rights to life , liberty, and pursuit of happiness – Unalienable rightsGovernment was created to protect these basic rightsGovernment derive their power from the consent of the governedIf a government abuses its power the people may change, eliminate and establish a new one.
20 Purposes of Government To maintain social orderTo provide public servicesTo provide national security and common defenseTo provide for and control the economic system