Introduction government and politics
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Introduction Government and Politics Politics - the basics Politics and Economics Political Ideas - Ideology Government The Political Society No rules or laws are needed in the state of nature. (John Locke) Human nature – competitive or cooperative

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Introduction government and politics l.jpg
IntroductionGovernment and Politics

  • Politics - the basics

  • Politics and Economics

  • Political Ideas - Ideology

  • Government

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The Political Society

  • No rules or laws are needed in the state of nature. (John Locke)

  • Human nature – competitive or cooperative

  • As we formed societies, we demanded the imposition of rules to govern innate “social conflict”. All societies needs government.

  • Human beings are equal and endowed by nature with certain rights. (John Locke)

  • Absence of government causing society to revert to a nasty, solitary, and brutish existence. (Thomas Hobbes)

  • The political systems created to impose rules have varied throughout history.

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From Family to Tribe to State

  • Nation - sociological term

  • State - political term

  • State of Nature (Locke)

  • Divine Right Theory (George III)

  • Social Contract Theory

  • Natural Rights Theory (Locke)

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Political Theory

  • Social Contract Theory

    • Locke

      • Humans reasonable, tolerant and cooperative

      • Government by people, separation of powers

    • Hobbes

      • Humans nasty, mean and competitive

      • Government by sovereign authority to maintain order with no separation of power

    • Rousseau

      • Humans corrupted by society – the “noble savage”

      • Favored government as a general will of the people

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  • Politics is the process of resolving social conflict over the distribution of limited resources.

  • It is the process of deciding who will make the rules about what, when, how and to whom societies resources will be given.

  • Peaceful reconciliation of social and economic differences.

  • Politics is ubiquitous.

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Economics and Politics

  • Money and material resources are limited.

  • Human desires are limitless.

  • Natural conflict occurs.

  • Politicians and government institutions must step in to resolve conflict.

  • Capitalism versus Communism

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Politics and Ideology

  • Ideology - a patterned set of ideas or beliefs about a specific topic

  • Political Ideology - a set of ideas, values or beliefs about the proper political and economic system in which people should live.

  • The role government should play in the political system.

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  • The institutions and procedures through which a territory and people are ruled.

  • The political and administrative organization of a nation, state or locality.

  • Governments vary in size, structure, and operational rules bases on many factors.

  • Provides for conflict resolution, defense, safety, and economic prosperity.

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Forms of Government

  • Autocracy (One)

  • Oligarchy/Aristocracy (Few)

  • Democracy (Many)

  • Theocracy

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  • A government in which a single individual—a king, queen, or dictator—rules.

  • King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lion- Hearted, led Britain from 1189–99.

  • Sadam Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, and Castro were/are all examples of dictators.

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Oligarchy or Aristocracy

  • A government in which a small group—landowners, military officers, or wealthy merchants—controls most of the governing decisions.

  • Louis XVI (1754 – 1793) was symbolic of the French aristocracy.

  • The Royal Family in Saudi Arabia was an example of an aristocratic oligarchy.

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  • A government in which political power is vested in the people.

  • Direct (classic) democracy provides for decision making by all of the people. (Ancient Athens).

  • Representative democracy or a Republic provides for representatives chosen by the people.

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Modern Democratic Concepts

  • Elitist Democracy – political power is concentrated in the hands of a small group of powerful (wealth) individuals.

  • Pluralistic Democracy – power is dispersed among different power centers.

    • Labor organizations

    • Professional associations

    • Industry

    • Environmentalists

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Representative Democracy

  • Today, most nation-states operate under the concept of representative democracy.

    • Total Nation-States 193

    • Free - 90 Partially Free - 58

    • Not Free - 45

  • Individuals are elected by the citizens to represent them in the affairs of civil society.

  • Presidential versus Parliamentary organization is main difference.

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How Do Governments Govern?

  • Constitutional

  • Authoritarian

  • Totalitarian

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Purpose of Government in 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 defence, promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty….

  • Collective Goods – for the benefit of all.

  • Minimalist State – restrict government action to only those things individuals can not do.

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Principles of American Democracy – Political Culture

  • American Creed

  • Individual Freedom (Liberty)

  • Equality - political, economic, social

    • Not complete equality regulated by government

  • Constitutional Democracy

    • Majority rule protecting minority rights

    • Voluntary consent of governed

    • powered by a written charter

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  • Individualism Politics

  • Liberty

  • Equality

  • Constitutionalism Government

  • Democracy




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The Initial Debate:The Proper Role of Government

  • The Founders were divided over the proper size and role of government.

    —The Federalists wanted a strong central government to promote commerce, prevent political strife, and protect international interests.

    —The Antifederalists feared that a strong central government would endanger liberty, thereby favoring weaker and decentralized government.

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The Current Debate

  • The conflict continues today between conservatives (Republicans) and liberals (Democrats).

    —Conservatives (Republicans) seek a strong government to protect economic interests, public morality, and international interests, and generally prefer state government action.

    —Liberals (Democrats) seek a strong national government to protect civil liberties, the environment, and to provide economic security.