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Intro to Government American Government 8/29.

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1 Intro to Government American Government 8/29

2 What is Government? What comes to mind when you think of a “government”? A government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces public policies. Public policies are all of the things a government decides to do. Politics is the process, while government is the institution.

3 Power In order for a government to function it must have power. Every government exercises three basic types of power: 1. Legislative Power- the power to make laws and frame policy 2. Executive Power- the power to execute, enforce, & administer laws 3. Judicial Power- The power to interpret laws and settle disputes

4 Definition: A body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government. Added Info: Does not always have to be written down. Examples: The American Constitution: Ratified in 1789 and is the oldest surviving constitution in the world. Image: Constitution

5 Classifying Governments*
Who can participate The geographic distribution of power within the state Relationship between the legislative & executive branches Dictatorship Democracy Unitary Federal Confederation President Parliamentary *these classifications are not mutually exclusive.

6 Definition: Supreme authority rests with the people Added Info: Can be either: Direct- people vote directly on all policy Indirect-people elect representatives to vote in their best interest Examples: Recall elections Voting Demonstrations Consent of the people Image: Democracy

7 Definition: Those who rule are not held responsible to the will of the people Added Info: Governmental power can be held by one person or a small group of leaders. This is the most common form of government throughout history. Examples: Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany Josef Stalin and Communist Russia Moamar Qadaffi in Libya Assad in Syria Image: Dictatorship

8 Definition: All powers held by the government belong to a single, central agency. Added Info: Most governments in the world are unitary in form. This does not mean that they are a dictatorship. Examples: Great Britain France Sweden Image: Unitary

9 Definition: Governmental power is divided between a central government and several local governments. Added Info: Both levels of government act directly on the people through laws , officials, and agencies. Examples: The United States: The National government (D.C.) has certain powers that the state gov’ts (WI) do not have, vice versa. Image: Federal

10 An alliance of independent states Added Info:
Definition: An alliance of independent states Added Info: The national gov’t only has the power that member states have given it. Examples: The Articles of Confederation The Confederate States of America The European Union Image: Confederation

11 Geographic Distribution of Power
Unitary Federalism Confederation State Gov’t Central Gov’t Central Gov’t Central Gov’t State Gov’t State Gov’t

12 Definition: Separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. Added Info: The two branches are independent of one another and coequal. Checks and balances must exist between the two. Why? Examples: The United States Mexico Most of South America Image: President

13 The prime minister and cabinet are members of the legislative branch.
Definition: The prime minister and cabinet are members of the legislative branch. Added Info: The executive is chosen by the legislative and is thus a part of it. The PM stays in office as long as they maintain the support of the majority in Parliament. Examples: Most of the world is parliamentary Great Britain Canada Image: Parliamentary

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