Government - Chapter 1 People and Government
Section One Objectives: Principles of Government • What are the four main purposes of government? • How do various theories explain the origin of government?
The State • Aristotle – Greek scholar, one of the first students of government • State: political community that occupies a definite territory and has an organized government with the power to make and enforce laws without approval from any higher authority. • If we use this definition, what qualifies as a “state”?
Nation • Any sizable group of people who are united by common bonds of race, language, custom, tradition, and sometimes religion. • Often the territorial boundaries of states and nations are the same. If they ARE, they are called nation-states.
Essential Features of a State 1. Population – pretty obvious, but there have to people living there. If there is consensus (agreement about basic beliefs) then the government will be stable. • What are some issues about which we have consensus in the United States?
2. Territory • There have to be established boundaries (borders) 3. Sovereignty • The idea that the state has supreme and absolute authority within its territorial boundaries. What does this mean?
4. Government • The institution through which the state maintains social order, provides public services, and enforces decisions that are binding on all people living within the state.
Theories of the Origin of the State • Evolutionary Theory: states evolved from the family • Force Theory: government emerged when all the people in an area were brought under one person’s authority • Divine Right Theory: the idea that rulers have been chosen by God; to oppose the ruler was to oppose God • Social Contract Theory: theory by Thomas Hobbes
Social Contract Theory • According to Hobbes • Before government, everyone lived in the state of nature. Life was VERY difficult. In order to gain protection, a contract was formed: people surrendered their power and the government agreed to protect the people. Hobbes said the people did NOT have the right to break this contract.
Social Contract Theory • According to Locke • People have natural rights: life, liberty and property. He said that if the government fails to preserve these rights, the people have the right to break the contract they have entered with the government. • Locke’s ideas were the inspiration behind the American Revolution.
Purposes of Government 1. Maintain Social Order: Government maintains social order because people can’t do it on their own. • Make and enforce laws • Levy taxes • Provide a court system • Providing law and order
2. Providing Public Services Lincoln said the job of government is to do for people what they can’t do for themselves. • Build roads • Create sewer systems • Inspect food and drugs for public safety • Pass laws to be sure that only safe drivers get licensed
3. Provide National Security • Protect people against attacks by other states • Control of the military • Make sure the country is defended and secure • Deals with foreign countries • Make treaties
4. Making Economic Decisions • Government passes laws that shapes the economic environment of the country • Pass laws regarding public services and benefits • Try to control inflation • Encourage trade • Regulate the development of natural resources
Section Two Objectives:The Formation of Governments • What are the similarities and differences between a unitary government and a federal government system? • What are the main purposes of a constitution?
Government Systems • Unitary system: all key power is held by the national or central government. Limited sovereignty can be given to local governments. (Example: Great Britain, Italy, France)
Government Systems continued • Federal system: Power is divided between the central/national government and the states or provinces. Each level has sovereignty in some areas. • In what areas are the 50 states sovereign?
Government systems continued • Confederacy: a loose union of independent states. This is the type of government we had right after the Revolutionary War. It didn’t work, so we wrote the Constitution and built a stronger government.
Constitutions and Government • Constitution: a plan that provides rules for the government. Can be written or unwriten. Purposes of a Constitution: • Sets out the ideals that people believe in • Establishes the structure of the government and defines its powers and duties • Provides the supreme law for the country
THE U.S. CONSTITUTION • The oldest living constitution in the world • Written in 1787 • Creates a “constitutional government” for our country (places limits on the powers of those who govern) • Creates limited government
The Constitution is an incomplete guide • It can’t possibly spell out all the laws, customs and ideas • It doesn’t always reflect the actual practice of government in a country
A statement of goals • The Preamble: Introduction to the Constitution. It lays out the goals of the American government • SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK :) “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.”
A framework for government • Lays out a plan for the government • Describes the relationship between the federal government and the states • Describes how it can be changed (AMENDMENTS!) • Main body is divided into parts called Articles (our Constitution has 7 Articles)
The highest law • The Constitution provides the supreme law of the land • Constitutional law: interpreting and applying the Constitution
Politics and Government • Politics: the effort to control or influence the conduct or policies of government • Who has a role to play in politics? Why?
Governing in a Complex World • There are major inequalities between states (industrialized vs. developing nations) • Industrialized nations: large industries, advanced technology, stable governments, more comfortable way of life • Developing nations: Low per capita income, poverty, few resources, little manufacturing, political turmoil • States are becoming more interdependent • What does this mean????
Non-state International Groups There are also Nonstate International Groups that play a role in politics: • Political movements (Palestinian Liberation Organization) • Multinational corporations (McDonald’s, Sony, GM) • International organizations (like the United Nations)
Section Three – Types of Government • Objectives • What are the main characteristics of a democracy? • Why is free enterprise conducive to the growth and preservation of a democracy?
Types of Government • Autocracy – power and authority are held in the hands of a single individual. Most autocrats rule because of inheritance or the use of force. • Totalitarian dictatorship – single person rules all aspects of social and economic life (Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini) • Monarchy – rule by a king, queen or emperor • Absolute monarch • Constitutional monarch
Oligarchy – system of government where a small group holds power • Power comes through wealth, military power, or social position • Today most Communist countries are oligarchies
Democracy – system of government in which rule is by the people • The people hold sovereign power • Lincoln defined it as “government of the people, by the people, and for the people”
Two types of democracy: • direct democracy – people make all decisions directly (can only happen in small towns) • representative (indirect) democracy – people elect representatives who have the responsibility to make laws and run the government
Characteristics of a Democracy 1. Individual Liberty 2. Majority Rule with Minority Rights 3. Free elections • “one person, one vote” • candidates have the right to express their views freely, giving voters a clear choice • Citizens can help candidates and support issues • Legal requirements for voting are kept to a minimum 4. Competing Political parties – in the US, they are the Democrats and the Republicans
Factors that lead to the success of a democracy • Active citizen participation • A favorable economy • Widespread education • Strong Civil Society • A social consensus
Section Four: Economic Theories • Objectives • In what three ways has the United States modified its free enterprise system? • According to Karl Marx, what was the ultimate goal of true communism?
Economics • The study of human efforts to satisfy seemingly unlimited wants through the use of limited resources. • What are these resources? • Land • Labor • Capital
Questions all economies must answer: 1. What and how much should be produced? 2. How should goods and services be produced? 3. Who gets the goods and services that are produced?
Capitalism 5 main characteristics: • Private ownership of property and resources • Free enterprise • Competition among businesses • Freedom of choice • Possibility of profits
Origins of Capitalism • Two ideas led to the development of capitalism: • The idea that people could work for economic gain • The idea that wealth should be used aggressively • Free Market : buyers and sellers are free to make unlimited economic decisions in the marketplace
Adam Smith • Wrote The Wealth of Nations in 1776 • Scottish philosopher and economist who advocated a free market economy • laissez-faire: government should stay out of the economy except to ensure free competition
American free enterprise and the role of the government • Government influence over the economy has increased greatly since the 1900s • It is now the largest buyer of goods and services in the country • There are greater government regulations than ever before • The Great Depression changed the role of the government in people’s lives. HOW????
Mixed Market Economy • Free enterprise is combined with and supported by government decisions in the marketplace
Socialism • Three main goals: • Equal distribution of wealth and economic opportunity • Government control of all decisions about production • Public (government) ownership of most land, factories and means of production
Democratic socialism • System where people have basic human rights and some control through free elections and multiparty systems. The government still owns the means of production. • Examples today: England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden • Government owns steel mills, railroads, airlines, provides health care • HIGH TAXES!
Communism • Karl Marx • German thinker and writer • Published the Communist Manifesto in 1867 • Divided society into bourgeosie(capitalists/owners) and the proletariat (workers) • The ruling class use their economic power to force their will on the workers and keep the profits the workers earn for them • Described history as a class struggle, and eventually the workers would revolt. When they did, a new government would form and take over the means of production
Communism continued • One class will evolve • Property is held in common • No need for government • Communism is a command economy • Government decides what and how much to produce, how to distribute goods and services • State owns the land, natural resources, industry, banks and transportation. Also controls mass communication