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Principles of Government What is “the state” ? Taken from the Latin stare (to stand) a state is a political community that occupies a definite territory;

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Presentation on theme: "Principles of Government What is “the state” ? Taken from the Latin stare (to stand) a state is a political community that occupies a definite territory;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Principles of Government What is “the state” ? Taken from the Latin stare (to stand) a state is a political community that occupies a definite territory; having an organized government with the authority to make and enforce laws without the consent of a higher authority. * Synonymous with the term country and nation-state * Not to be confused with nation, which is defined as a group of people united by some common bond. Such as…

2 What are the features of a state? Population Territory / land Sovereignty – supreme and absolute power within its territorial boundaries. For example… Government – the institution and processes through which the state maintains social order, provides public services, and enforces binding decisions. Such as… Principles of Government

3 Origins of the State Evolution Theory Force Theory Divine Right Social Contract How did states and governments come into being? Four theories: Principles of Government

4 Evolution Theory States evolved from family units Families grew into large extended units or tribes Heads of the family served as a government How so… Evolved into tribal councils with a hierarchy of authority Examples… Principles of Government

5 Force Theory Governments emerged when people are were brought under the control of some authority States emerged from the conquest of other families or tribes Principles of Government

6 Divine Right Belief that kings are chosen by a deity to rule the state Ancient examples include Egyptians and Aztecs 15 th Century Europe, the belief is used by royalty as the justification for absolute rule To question the king was not only treason but seen as a sin against God Principles of Government

7 Social Contract ~ Hobbes 17 th Century & The Age of Enlightenment, People begin to challenge the monarchy and the idea of Divine Right Thomas Hobbes promotes the concept of government by social contract Principles of Government

8 Hobbes ~ Social Contract In a “state of Nature” there is no government and man is free. However, absolute freedom has a price… life is “cruel, brutish and short” Why? To escape this cruel reality, men would give up some freedom to the state; in return the government (state) would offer people security through law & order Principles of Government

9 Locke ~ Social Contract John Locke took Hobbes ideas one step further by promoting the “right to revolution” Locke believed that if the government fails to provide people with security or if the state abused its power over the people the people could change the government. Does this happen today? Principles of Government

10 Types of Government? Autocracy Oligarchy Democracy Principles of Government

11 Autocracies Power and authority to rule held by one person Totalitarian dictatorships (examples…) Monarchies- Absolute & Constitutional (examples…) Pros & Cons… Principles of Government

12 Oligarchies Power and authority to rule is held by a small group of individuals (Examples…) Principles of Government

13 Democracies From the Greek demos (people) and kratia (to rule). Thus ~ rule by the people Too simple & naïve Democracy is a system of government in which people select policy makers so that policies reflect the will of those governed. (explain…) Principles of Government

14 Two forms of Democracy Direct democracy allows the people the authority to govern themselves directly People make and vote on policies in forums Only exist in small communities today Principles of Government

15 Two forms of Democracy Representative democracy people select representatives and give them authority to make laws and run the government Also known as: republic, indirect democracy and constitutional republic Still in all, power ultimately rests with the public Legitimacy and Revolution? Principles of Government

16 Characteristics of Democracies Individual liberty Majority rule with consideration of the rights of the minority Free elections Competing political parties Principles of Government

17 Characteristics of Democracies Individual Liberty Freedom of speech does not give a person the right to scream, “Fire!” In a crowded theater ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes Explain…. Remember the social contract, we agree to give up freedom for security and the rule of law. Civil liberties (freedom) is relative not absolute.

18 Characteristics of Democracies Majority Rule with Minority Rights Minority refers to numerical minority not race Elections are won by the candidate who wins the majority of votes. (Duh!) However, those who hold power should be considerate of the minority because the minority can become the majority. (Huh?) Representative legislatures prevent “tyranny of the majority” (Explain…)

19 Characteristics of Democracies Free Elections Free and open elections are the cornerstone of a democracy. (Explain…) Amendments 15, 17, 19, 23,24, & 26 have extended voting rights Every vote carries the same weight Candidates are able to express views freely Legal voting requirements are kept to a minimum (Examples…) Ballots are secret (Australian Ballot) (So...)

20 Characteristics of Democracies Competing Political Parties A political party is a group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates, win elections, run government and make public policy. Parties give voters a choice and voice. A vote is a statement (Explain…) Parties should clarify issues and educate the public, Parties also serve as watchdogs


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