Unit I Notes Basic Concepts of American Democracy. What is government?. That complex of offices, personnel, and processes by which a state is ruled. The earliest evidence of government dates back to Egypt more than 2,500 years ago. Why is government necessary?. People need rules and laws.
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That complex of offices, personnel, and processes by which a state is ruled.
The earliest evidence of government dates back to Egypt more than 2,500 years ago.
People need rules and laws.
People need order
People need organization
People need services
People need protection
Requiring school attendance
Passing and enforcing labor laws
Funding the military
Regulating air and water quality
All the things that a government chooses to do.
Guaranteeing free speech and press
Imposing income taxes
Funding the space station
No pass-No play
Setting minimum wage
Executive: President and Cabinet: Power to enforce law
Legislative: Congress: Power to make law , tax, and spend
Judicial Branch: Supreme Court and Federal Courts: Power to interpret laws and the Constitution
A fundamental set of laws setting out the principles , powers, and structures of a government.
The process by which a society decides how powers and resources will be distributed within that society.
Who gets what!
A body of people organized politically who are sovereign.
Creator and enforcer of public policy and law.
Absolute and supreme power within the borders of a state. No outside forces make and enforce law and policy.
A state has all 4 characteristics. (USA)
A State has no sovereignty. (Texas)
If you know the location of sovereignty, you can determine a state’s form of government.
Divine Rights of Kings Theory
Social Contract Theory
God grants certain people the right to rule. Power is derived from religion and birth.
Government evolved gradually over time from family, to Clan, to Tribe, to government.
Government begins by force or military might.
Government begins when people agree to form a state by giving up some of their freedom in exchange for protection.
*John Locke *
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Henri, The Baron deMontesquieu
Man is born in a “State of Nature”
Man lives under the “Law of Nature”
Man chooses to form a government for protection
Man must give up some rights in exchange for protection
If government fails to protect the rights of the people, the people have the right to choose a new government.
The SIX basic democratic ideas borrowed from John Locke :
“All men are created equal..”
“they are endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights..”
“that among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…”
“governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..”
“that whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it…”
“…and to institute new government…”
A political system in which “one man” has hereditary rule . No other institutions of government exist.
A political system in which an individual or small group hold absolute political power.
A political system based upon the rule of local lords bound to a king by the ties of loyalty and land. A hierarchy of titles and land determined power.
A political system based upon the consent of the people in which rights are guaranteed by the government to all people.
A political system in which power is distributed based upon noble birth and title.
A political system in which only a few people have power, usually those who have been “chosen”.
A political system in which the government has absolute power based upon a belief in nationalism and military might.
A political system in which there is no government, rule, or law.
A political system in which all economic resources are collectively owned and people owe allegiance t o a chief or leader.
Geographic Distribution of Power
Number of people who may participate
Relationship between legislative and executive branches
A political system in which all power belongs to the national government.
Uniform system of law nation-wide.
No power struggle between the national and local governments.
Less expensive government.
No local government.
Only a few people have law-making power for the nation.
No diversity of law.
A political system in which power is constitutionally divided between the National government and State governments with the National government supreme.
Allows for regional differences in law.
Divided power allows for more people to have a voice in law making.
National supremacy helps to create national identity.
Multiple, often wasteful levels of government make government more expensive.
Confusion about the law
Conflict between National, State, and local government over power.
A political system in which power is constitutionally divided between the national government and the States with the States having supremacy.
Allows for regional differences
Local officials are primarily responsible for government decision-making.
Limited national government ($)
Little or no national power or identity.
States in conflict over power.
No one person is in charge of the nation.
A form of government in which the legislative branch (Parliament) is dominant and chooses the Executive.
Three interdependent branches
Legislature is dominant
No fixed terms of office
No separation of powers
Prime Minister is chosen by Parliament from Parliament
Only Parliament is directly elected by the people
Government can act very quickly
Very little conflict between the branches
No expensive national election for Prime Minister
Taxes and laws may pass too quickly
Prime Minister may be fired by Parliament without cause
Political instability can lead to economic instability
A form of government which has 3 independent branches.
Three, separate, equal branches of government
Fixed terms of office (Exec and Leg Branches)
Separation of Powers
Checks and Balances
Legislature directly elected by the people
Executive elected indirectly by the people and independent of the Legislature
Each branch has set powers
Checks and Balances prevents abuses of power
Executive is independent of Legislative
President and Congress are designed to be in conflict
Law-making is difficult and lengthy
No one has all the power or responsibility all the time
A form of government in which the people are sovereign.
Government is chosen by the people in competitive elections
Personal liberties are guaranteed by the government
Equality before the law
High level of freedom for all people
People have a choice in government
No one is above the law
Everyone has the same rights, even “bad” people
Conflict over rights
Change takes a long time
Direct or Pure Democracy: everyone votes on all laws themselves
Republic or Indirect Democracy: people elect representative to make the laws
A form of government in which power is held by one person or a small group of people and the people have few rights.
Change can take place very quickly
Little conflict over rights
All decisions are made for the people by the government.
People have few or no rights
Governments regulates personal lives
Government officials have more rights
Totalitarian: government has absolute and unchallenged power
Authoritarian: government has total control over all aspects of the peoples’ lives
Is there a written constitution?
Do all adults have the right to vote?
Are there regularly scheduled elections?
Are there secret ballots?
Are there REAL choices on the ballot?
Do people have the right to protest and criticize?
Do the people have religious freedom?
Does the government have to answer to the people?
Fundamental Worth of the Individual
Equality of All Persons
Majority Rule Restrained by Minority Rights
An economic system is an organized way of providing goods and services to society.
It is NOT the same thing as a form of government!
An economic system based on the private ownership of property, the profit motive, and economic freedom.
Created by Adam Smith is his book The Wealth of Nations, 1776
Private ownership of property
Limited government intervention in the economy
Government support of entrepreneurship
Consumer protection is limited
Freedom of economic choice
Government subsidies of business
Government uses taxes to provide some services
Government provides limited social services to some people
People have economic choices
Freedom of mobility
The market sets prices and supply
Government supports innovation
Profits and incomes are unlimited !
Only productive people are rewarded
Limited social services are provided only to the neediest members of society
Government uses personal income to support business
An economic system in which private ownership of property is combined with public ownership(gov’t).
First created by Aristotle about 400 BCE
Sometimes called democratic socialism
Nationalization of major industries
Workers have direct role in economic decisions of nation (vote)
Government central planning regulates the economy
High taxes to re-distribute wealth
Extensive social services for all citizens
Government provides all with necessities of life
Everyone has benefits
Government can control the economy
No incentive to work harder
Limited economic choice
Entrepreneurship not rewarded
Taxes are VERY high (80%+)
An economic system characterized by collective ownership of all resources and the absence of private property and social classes.
Created by Karl Mark and FredrichEngles in their book Das Capital, 1865
Nationalization of all businesses
Government controls the economy
Economic freedom is non-existent
Limited social services are provided to all
Profits are illegal
Repressive political system is required to achieve economic equality
Everyone is economically equal
Everyone’s needs are provided by the government
Everyone has a job
Government can change economic priorities quickly
No incentive to work hard
Very limited economic choices
Only needs are provided
No economic mobility