Academic Vocabulary (Key terms): State Nation Sovereignty Government Autocracy Oligarchy Democracy Republic
Let’s Define Some Terms… State – a political community that (1) occupies territory and has an (2) organized government with the power to (3) make and enforce laws (4) without approval from a higher authority. So is California a State? Is the United States of America one state or a whole bunch of states? Name two states in Europe. What is the smallest state (in physical size) you can think of? Nation – any sizable group of people who are united by common bonds of race, language, custom, tradition, and sometimes religion. So are we a nation? Are there other nations of people living inside California’s borders right now? Yeah, who are they? Don’t get confused…. REALLY, the terms “nation” and “state” and “country” are all the same things… we just like to confuse you.
1. Population – (People!) in states with populations that generally agree about basic values, the state is fairly stable. They have consensus. Shifts in population can also affect the political behavior of a state. – What population shifts are you aware of that are changing the politics of the US? of California? of Yucaipa?
3. Sovereignty – (Power!) The term “sovereignty” means to have supreme power and authority. Example: The King or Queen of England was called the Sovereign because they had complete authority in their country. A state has sovereignty within its territory. It alone makes laws, shapes foreign policy, and decides its own course of action. In theory all states are equal and no state has the right to interfere with the internal workings of another state…. IN THEORY. Give me an example of a state interfering with the internal affairs of another state. 4. Government – (Institutions!?) States need institutions to maintain social order, provide public services, and enforce decisions made. What are some government institutions you know about? Do they really seem that necessary? What would life be like without them?
So, What Do Governments Do Today? Maintaining Social Order Why do we need to do this? How does the state maintain order today? Providing Public Services Governments also do services and projects that benefit the people. These are things that they could not or would not do on their own, but are necessary for a strong community. What are they?
Providing National Security & Foreign Policy The government must protect us from attack, both from without and within. The government also engages in foreign policy with foreign countries. Making Economic Decisions The government regulates the economy to help its citizens because it can’t provide everything for everyone. Scarcity (the lack of resources) can cause MAJOR problems in a nation. Can you name these people??
NOTE THE REFERENCES TO PURPOSES OF GOV’T Preamble of the U.S. Constitution We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Government Systems Unitary System All key powers to the national government Central gov’t creates all state, local governments Great Britain, Italy and France Federal System Divides power between the national government and state governments United States (started as a confederacy)
Constitutions and Government Purposes of a constitution 1. Sets ideas that the people believe in and share 2. Establishes the basic structure of government (gov’t powers and duties) 3. Provides the supreme law for the country
Major Types of Government Autocracy Power and authority are in the hands of a single individual Absolute or totalitarian dictatorship Monarchy (absolute vs. constitutional) Oligarchy A small group holds power Communism Military councils (“juntas”)
Major Types of Government Democracy Rule is by the people “government of the people, by the people and for the people” Direct Democracy – California proposition system— everyone votes! Representative Democracy (“Republic”)– United States—people rule through elected representatives Time to apply this information!
In pairs, find 2 examples of countries TODAY with each of the following types of government. Democracy (other than the U.S.A.) Oligarchy Autocracy Note down (on one paper): 1. What person or group has the most power? 2. How did they acquire that power? (i.e. elections, force)? How could they lose power? 3. How is power divided? 4. What types of rights/liberties do people have? 5. Do minority groups maintain these rights? Good Sites: Wikipedia cia.gov--World Factbook amnesty.org --Countries
Characteristics of Democracy Individual Liberty All people should be as free as possible (not absolute freedom, though) Majority Rule with Minority Rights Democracy accepts the decisions of the majority The Constitution protects individual rights “Is the United States truly democratic?” Rank the U.S. from 1-5 based on how well you think our democracy adheres to each characteristic. Note down a reason for your ranking
Characteristics of Democracy Free Elections All genuine democracies have free and open elections Free elections ensure that public officials listen to the people Competing Political Parties Gives people choices Highlight key issues Make party in power more accountable “Popular sovereignty” People are the source of all power: “demo-kratia” “We the People” “people” “power”
Characteristics of Democracy Distributed power “separation of powers” into different branches of gov’t “checks and balances” that limit one branch from becoming too powerful Limited government power “social contract”= government must respect the will of the people or they will be removed from power “rule of law”= all people and groups are subject to the same set of laws and enjoy “equal protection under the law” (14 th Amendment)