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CHAPTER 1: PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT
SECTION 1 -GOVERNMENT AND THE STATE
WHAT IS GOVERNMENT? • Government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. • “Government by its very existence is an institution; politics is a process. ” • For a state (country) to exist there are four basic elements they must contain: • Population • Territory • Sovereignty • Government
THE FOUR CHARACTERISTICS OF A STATE Population • A state must have people in order to exist • There is no minimum or maximum number required Territory • A state must be comprised of land/territory with clear recognized boundaries Sovereignty Government • Every state is considered sovereign if it is • Every state must establish a politically free and independent from any form of organized (and hopefully stable) form of outside rule. government • A sovereign state has supreme power to decide how to govern within it’s own territory as well as how it will conduct foreign it’s policies
ORIGINS OF THE STATE Force Theory The force theory states that one person or a small group took control of an area and forced all within it to submit to that person’s or group’s rule. Evolutionary Theory The evolutionary theory argues that the state evolved naturally out of the early family. Divine Right Theory The theory of divine right holds that God created the state and that God gives those of royal birth a “divine right” to rule. Social Contract Theory The social contract theory argues that the state arose out of a voluntary act of free people.
THE PURPOSE OF GOVERNMENT The main purposes of government are described in the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States: “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. ”
1. FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION • Following the failure of the Articles of Confederation (1781) which created a weak central government our current Constitution was created (1787) in order to link the states together under the idea that “unity is our greatest strength”
2. ESTABLISH JUSTICE • Thomas Jefferson felt that providing justice is “the most sacred of the duties of government” • What does that mean: • The law in both it’s administration and content must be reasonable, fair and impartial”
3. INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY • The key to maintaining peace within our nation is establishing order. This is the prime function of government. • James Madison said in The Federalist Papers No. 51 that “If men were angels, no government would be necessary”
4. PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE • Defending our nation from attacks both foreign and domestic has always been one of our government's chief responsibilities. • In order to maintain our safety our nation maintains an army, navy, air force and coast guard. While the department of Homeland Security keeps watch for threats entering our country.
5. PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE • The services our government provides are designed to benefit all or most of our citizens. • Some examples are: • Improving education • Improving Roads • Lowering Taxes • Welfare • Disability • Social Security
6. SECURE THE BLESSING OF LIBERTY • Although a high priority for our government is the ideas of freedom and liberty they are not considered absolute but relative. – People can not be free to do whatever they want because that would infringe on the freedom of others. • Both Federal and State Constitutions define the rights and liberties of for those living in our country.
SECTION 2 -FORMS GOVERNMENT
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT Governments can be classified by three different standards: 1. Who can participate in the governing process. 2. The geographic distribution of the governmental power within the state. 3. The relationship between the legislative (lawmaking) and the executive (lawexecuting) branches of government.
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT Democracy Dictatorship In a democracy, supreme A dictatorship exists where political authority rests with those who rule cannot be held the people. responsible to the will of the people. A direct democracy exists where the will of the people is An autocracy is a government translated into law directly by in which a single person holds the people themselves. unlimited political power. In an indirect democracy, a An oligarchy is a government small group of persons, chosen in which the power to rule is by the people to act as their held by a small, usually selfrepresentatives, expresses the appointed elite. popular will.
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT Unitary Government A unitary government has all powers held by a single, central agency. Confederate Government A confederation is an alliance of independent states. Federal Government • A federal government is one in which the powers of government are divided between a central government and several local governments. • An authority superior to both the central and local governments makes this division of power on a geographic basis.
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT • Presidential Government. Features an elected president who serves as the head of state (the ceremonial “face” a state presents to the world )as well as its Chief Executive (head of the executive branch of government), with a separate and coequal elected legislature (which actually makes the laws). • In Parliamentary Government, the head of state is a king or queen, or someone called a president (but nothing like our kind). They are ceremonial or “figurehead” leaders. • The head of government is the prime minister (sometimes called a premier). • The prime minister and his/her cabinet is the executive branch, and these executives also serve as members of parliament, which is the legislative branch.
CLASSIFICATION BY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEGISLATIVE AND EXECUTIVE BRANCHES
FORMS OF GOVERNMENT
SECTION 3 -BASIC CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY
FOUNDATIONS The American concept of democracy rests on these five basic notions: I. Individual Worth-A recognition of the fundamental worth and dignity of every person; II. Equality-A respect for the equality of all persons; III. Majority Rule and Minority Rights-A faith in majority rule and an insistence upon minority rights; IV. Compromise-An acceptance of the necessity of compromise; V. Individual Freedom-An insistence upon the widest possible degree of individual freedom.
FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY I. Individual Worth • Democracy is firmly based upon the importance of the individual. • At times, the welfare of one or a few individuals is subordinated to the interests of many. • Paying taxes, Registering for the draft, Stopping at a stop II. Equality • Democracy stresses the equality of all individuals. • “All men are created equal. ” • This means that all people are entitled to: 1. Equality of opportunity 2. Equality before the law
FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY III. Majority Rule, Minority Rights • Majority Rule-In a democracy, the majority of the people will be right more often than they will be wrong, and will be right more often than will any one person or small group. • Democracy requires majority rule restrained by minority rights. • Majority must recognize the right of any minority to become, if fair and lawful, the majority. • Majority must always be willing to listen to minority’s arguments. IV. Compromise • Compromise-The process of blending and adjusting competing views and interests. • Essential to Democracy b/c: 1. Democracy insists that each individual is equal to all others. 2. Few public questions have only two sides; Most can be answered in several ways.
FOUNDATIONS OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY V. Individual Freedom • Democracy can thrive only with individual freedom. • Only as far as the freedom of ALL will allow. • “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins. ” • Democratic governments must work constantly to strike the proper balance between freedom and the law. • The authority of government must be adequate to the needs of society; Authority can’t be so great that it restricts the individual.
DEMOCRACY AND THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM • The free enterprise system is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods; investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control; and determined in a free market. • Decisions in a free enterprise system are determined by the law of supply and demand. • An economy in which private enterprise exists in combination with a considerable amount of government regulation and promotion is called a mixed economy.
DEMOCRACY AND THE INTERNET • Democracy demands that the people be widely informed about their government. • Theoretically, the Internet makes knowledgeable participation in the democratic process easier than ever before. • However, all data on the World Wide Web is not necessarily true, and the long-term effects of the Internet on democracy has yet to be determined.