CHAPTER 1 CITIZENSHIP AND GOVERNMENT IN A DEMOCRACY
WHAT IS CIVICS? Civics is the study of the rights and duties of citizens. Citizens are community members who owe loyalty to the government and are entitled to protection from it. Citizens are part of a country (United States) and share common history, customs, and values.
WHAT IS GOOD CITIZENSHIP? The American ideal of citizenship has always stressed each citizen’s responsibility to participate in the community and in the different levels of government. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE by engaging in community service where your efforts are needed, valued, and respected!
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE? In groups of two, write down two ways that you can be of service to your community.
GOVERNMENT Government is the ruling authority for a community. Any organization that has the power to make and enforce laws and decisions from its members acts as a government. Government makes it possible for people to live together peacefully and productively.
WHO NEEDS A GOVERNMENT? Why is government important? What would happen if there was no government? Independently write down as many answers as you can think of and be prepared to share.
FUNCTIONS OF GOVERNMENT KEEP ORDER PROVIDE SECURITY PROVIDE PUBLIC SERVICES GUIDE THE COMMUNITY
KEEPING ORDER Conflicts are unavoidable! Governments have the power to make and enforce laws to help prevent and settle conflicts. Example – Governments make traffic laws to prevent conflicts on the road. Police officers ticket or arrest violators. Courts decide whether those accused are guilty and how they should be punished.
PROVIDING SECURITY The government is responsible for defending citizens and their land from enemies (both locally and nationally). Who provides our security?
PUBLIC SERVICES Governments create and manage schools, hospitals, roads, post offices, etc. Many services are aimed at keeping citizens healthy and safe. Examples – fire departments, ambulance, food and drug administration, safety inspectors, welfare programs, etc.
GUIDING THE COMMUNITY Public Policy is the course of government action to achieve community goals. When laws are passed or guidelines are set to reach these goals, the government is creating public policy. Most public policy decisions cost money. A budget is the government’s plan for collecting and spending money wisely.
LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT 1. NATIONAL GOVERNMENT 2. STATE GOVERNMENT 3. LOCAL GOVERNMENT a) County b) City, town, borough, township c) School d) Clubs and organizations
DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT Democracy is a type of government in which the people rule. Democracy began in ancient Greece, most famously in the city of Athens.
TYPES OF DEMOCRACIES DIRECT DEMOCRACY is when all citizens have an equal voice in government decisions. Example – Athens in ancient Greece. REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY is when citizens choose a smaller group to represent them, make laws, and govern on their behalf. Example – United States, the oldest representative democracy in the world.
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” – Abraham Lincoln What do you think Lincoln meant by this phrase? Free and fair elections. One person, one vote. Candidates free to express views to public. Citizens vote freely with secret ballot.
Majority Rule The government works to create equality, but you can’t please everyone. Majority rule is abiding by what most of the people want, while respecting the rights of those in the minority. 100,000 in Japanese relocation camps. President Bush urges that Islam is a peaceful religion after 9/11 attacks.
SO WHY STUDY CIVICS? The people have the power in American Democracy. Understanding how the government operates and how you can participate in it will help you become a responsible and informed citizen. YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE!