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American Government. Why do rules exist?. Imagine playing a game with others in which there are no rules, absolutely no rules. You, and everyone else, can do what they like any time and any way in the game. How much fun would that be?
Why do rules exist?
Imagine playing a game with others in which there are no rules, absolutely no rules.
You, and everyone else, can do what they like any time and any way in the game.
How much fun would that be?
Could there be a winner? (Isn’t one rule how someone wins?)
How confusing a game would it be?
Chaos would exist and the game would probably end quickly in disarray.
chaos: a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization
Rules exist to create order through rewards and punishments.
Imagine living in a society that had no rules, no order. Everyone could do whatever
they wanted to do to anybody, to any thing, any time they wanted. Anarchy would
exist and your life would probably be brutal, savage and short.
Rules (laws) exist to create order through rewards and punishments.
Click to see a short movie on what government is.
Click to read about the nature of government.
Government is necessary for the existence of civilized society.
anarchy: a state of society without law, government and order
government: the way a social unit maintains order and makes decisions
for the good of the group
Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state,
an intolerable one. - Thomas Paine
A family unit grew into multiple, but related, families, which evolved into a clan,
which grew into a tribe. Archeological and anthropological evidence suggests
that these early humans lived as nomads in Paleolithic times. After the Neolithic
Revolution gave us agriculture, humans created permanent settlements that
grew into towns and then city/states. Elder adults used their wisdom from
experiences to make decisions for the survival of the group.
Writing Assignment One
Write an essay in which you compare and contrast the governing (government)
of your family and that of your circle of friends or a group of your peers of which
you are a member. Include who makes the rules, how rules are made, and how
they are enforced.
Archeology: the study of ancient cultures by examining their tangible remains
such as graves, tools, and other artifacts.
Anthropology: the study of past human cultures and human development.
Paleolithic: when humans lived in small groups hunting and gathering,
2,000,000 to +10,000 b.c.e.
Neolithic: when humans began to domesticate animals, cultivate crops and develop
permanent settlements, +10,000 b.c.e.
Limited resources caused groups of people to compete for survival which led to
one group conquering and then dominating the other group and forcing them
to submit to the victor’s rules.
Ancient History: In the Near East - the rise and fall of civilizations such as Samaria,
Babylonia, Assyria, Egyptians, Hittites, Amorites, Phoenicians, Israelites, etc. In
China – the rise and fall of dynasties such as the Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han.
In India – the Harappan and Vedic civilizations, the Maurya, Gupta and Mughal
Empires. In the Americas – the rise and fall of the Olmec, Zapotec, Aztec, Maya,
Inca, and Moche.
Click to read about the purposes of governments.
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own
governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison
The head of the ruling family was chosen/blessed by God and therefore
that person and his/her heirs were God’s representatives to that group.
Royal dynasties of Europe such as the Tudors of England, Saxons in Germany,
Capetians in France, the Umayyad , Aragon and Castile of Spain.
Divine rightof kings means the divine right of anyone who can get uppermost.
- Herbert Spencer
People form government by giving up absolute freedom in exchange for laws and order. The power to govern us based on the consent of the governed.
The contract, or legal document, is often called a constitution and consists of a
set of basic principles which are used to organize the government of a country or
nation/state under one political system which is defined within the constitution.
Writing Assignment Two
Imagine that you are a wealthy and powerful person living in another time and place.
Explain which theory of government would you most likely believe and want to live
under and why would you feel that way.
Nation/state: a geographic area and the people that inhabit it with a government
that establishes control over it by establishing laws and a means of interpreting
and enforcing the laws.
In our social contract, we have provisions that see to it that you take care of people
who need some help. - Arlen Specter
Click to read about types of government.
Autocracy:a government that has one person in total control, that has
authority over others; government by an absolute monarch or dictator.
Oligarchy: a government that has a few persons or a dominant clique of people,
in control of, and having all power over, the society; government by the few.
Democracy: a government in which power is vested in the citizens and where the
people run the government either directly or by electing representatives to govern
via a free electoral system.
A limitedgovernment is one where those in (political) power have restrictions
on how they are able to rule.
An unlimitedgovernment is one where those in power (political) have no restrictions
on how they are able to rule.
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. -Winston Churchill
This is the obverse (front) and reverse (back) of the Great Seal of the United States.
Symbols are the imaginative signposts of life.Margot Asquith
Lobby to Main Reading Room. Government mural by ElihuVedder.
Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
A] Create a visual representation of government.
B] Create a digital multimedia presentation of what government means to you.
B] Create and record a song in which you express the meaning of government.
D] Click on the link to take a written test that includes some or all of the following:
multiple choice questions, matching questions, short answers, and essays.
Answers for questions 1 – 6:
Archeology B. Anarchy C. Anthropology D. Chaos E. none of these
1. This refers to the study of past human cultures and human development.
2. This is the way a social unit maintains order and makes decisions
3. This is the study of ancient cultures by examining their tangible remains.
4. This was a time period when humans lived in small groups hunting and gathering.
5. This is a state of society without law, government and order.
6. This is a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization.
7. This refers to the right of a group (later a country) to be free of outside interference.
1. Using real examples, describe the ‘government’ of your family.
2. Describe a possible symbol of a group of your peers that you are part of.
3. State, and explain, two examples of how rules exist to create order through
rewards and punishments within the community of your residence.
4. Explain in detail why government is necessary for the existence of civilized society.
Essays: write a three paragraph essay for the following.
1. Compare and contrast two of the following theories of government:
- Divine Right Theory
- Force Theory
- Social Contract Theory
2. Compare and contrast two of the following types of government: