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Political Systems We hang the petty thieves & appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Systems We hang the petty thieves & appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Systems We hang the petty thieves & appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop

2 Characteristics of a Country 1.A clearly defined territory- borders (natural & man made). 2.A permanent population. 3.Sovereignty- freedom from outside control. 4.A government.

3 Government Structures Unitary Gives all key powers to the national or central government. Central government creates local governments & gives them limited powers. Works well for small, compact countries: Japan, France, United Kingdom, Germany

4 Government Structures Federal System Divides the powers of government between the national & state governments. Specific powers granted to the national government, while others are reserved for the states. Each level of government has sovereignty in certain areas. Works well for large, expansive countries: United States, Mexico, Canada, Brazil

5 Government Structures Confederation A loose union of independent territories. The smaller political units keep most of their sovereignty & give the central government only limited powers. Allows several states to cooperate in common concerns but retain separate identities. Works well for countries with very diverse populations or regions: Russia, Switzerland, India.

6 Government Authority Autocracy- authority to rule belongs to a single individual. Monarchy A king or queen holds the supreme powers of government. Monarchs usually inherit their positions. Absolute monarchs have complete & unlimited power to rule their people. Rare today, but once ruled most of Western Europe.

7 Government Authority Dictatorship The leader can gain power through revolution or election. Seeks to control all aspects of social & economic life. Government is not responsible to the people, & the people have no power to limit ruler’s actions. May try to give the appearance of control by the people, i.e. might hold elections but offer only one candidate. Any political opposition is suppressed, usually with violence. Examples: Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Kim Jong Il.

8 Government Authority Oligarchy A government in which a small, privileged group holds power. Power gained through wealth, military strength, social position, religion, or a combination of these. There may be a national assembly representing the people. However, these assemblies only approve policies & decisions already made by the leaders. As in a dictatorship, oligarchies usually suppress all political opposition––sometimes ruthlessly. Communist Party in China, Aristocracy in Medieval Europe.

9 Government Authority Democracy - people hold power, leaders rule with consent of the people –Republic A representative democracy where the people elect representatives who conduct government business. Representatives are responsible to the people. An assembly of representatives is called a legislature, a congress, a parliament, etc. The head of state, a president or Prime Minister, is elected for a specific term. Many democratic countries, like the U.S. & France, are republics.

10 Government Authority Constitutional Monarchy The monarch serves as the symbolic head of state & shares governmental powers with elected legislatures. The monarch’s role is largely ceremonial, & elected officials hold the authority to rule & make laws. Examples: the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, Jordan, & Thailand.

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