POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY UNITED STATES AND CANADA
Political Geography • States and Nations: this two words are used differently by political scientist. • A State is a political unit that occupies a precisely defined, permanently populated territory. • It has full control over its internal and foreign affairs. • In short it is an independent State.
Political Geography • The United Nations recommended that the word State be capitalized to distinguish it from a “state” which is a lower-order political unit. • The State is the dominant form of political unit in the world organization.
Political Geography • Almost all of the earth’s land unit is included in such units. • The only exception is Antarctica which has neither a permanent population nor an established government. • However, parts of Antarctica are claimed by certain countries.
Political Geography • State is synonymous with Country. • Nation:refers to a reasonably large group of people with a common culture that occupy a particular territory. • They are bound together by a strong sense of unity arising from shared beliefs and customs.
Political Geography • As a result, nations share one or more important cultural traits such as religion, language, history, values and political institutions. • Nations have an attachment to a particular territory and their identity is intimately associated with that territory.
Political Geography • A multi-cultural state consists of several nations: • A good example is India. • Some nations do not have their own state and therefore are scattered across several countries – Kurds in the middle east.
Political Geography • The Palestinians are a nation and only now beginning to have a state of their own. • Nation-state: this is when the territory of a state is occupied by only one distinct nation or people. • In that case, there are no important minority groups.
Political Geography • Japan, Denmark, and Poland are examples of nation-states. • Such an arrangement minimizes conflicts, and makes for strong states. • On the other hand, there are strong states with sizeable minorities. • The existence of such states is that the sizeable minorities have safe ways to express themselves.
Political Geography • Canada is often termed two nations within a state, because Canadians speak French and English. • Canada uses the term “first nations” to refer to the indigenous groups of Canadians.
Political Geography • Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces: • Centrifugal and Centripetal are two terms that crop up frequently in political Geography and Political science.
Political Geography • In Political Geography, Centripetal forces are those forces that bind a country together.
Political Geography • The unifying factors such as language and religion that give people a shared, positive vision of what their country is all about. • Things like a strong sense of shared history and values and a shared language.
Political Geography • Centripetal forces can be reinforced by a threat of foreign aggression. • This has always been very effective in unifying a population.
Political Geography • The United States has had strong centripetal forces such as shared beliefs in the ideals of our democracy and economic freedom. • We are ready to go to war in order to defend these fundamental rights.
Political Geography • This has helped unite our country during critical times. • This helped the country survive such tests as the civil war and disruptions caused by enormous immigration. • Despite that, we still emerged as a world power.
Political Geography • These includes such things as iconography and political pageantry. • Examples are: • the flag, • reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, • celebrating independence day, • singing the national anthem. • A sense of shared history and struggle is also important.
Political Geography • Centripetal forces are fostered by an educational system that socializes children into a national ideology. • It is fostered by the media (Radio, Television, and written press). • Centrifugal forces are forces of disunity – the presence of more than one language or religion.
Political Geography • Another problem is that of political and economic inequality (economic Hierarchy) – Upper, middle and lower class. • Many people think that in recent years centrifugal forces have been gaining grounds in the United States. • Remember the Vietnam war.
Political Geography • Remember the 2000 election. • Remember the problem between Muslims and Christians • All these become centrifugal forces that can kill a Country. • In Canada, Language is its most centrifugal force. • Currently in the United States we have opposition to the war in Iraq.
Political Geography • Many French Canadians see themselves as a separate nation and therefore advocate an independent state. • Canada’s population distribution works to the disadvantage of a Canadian centripetal force because their provinces are much closer to the united states than to Canadian states.
Political Geography • All of these people see themselves differently among the Canadian State. • Unitary and Federal States: • the world’s countries are divided into two broad categories – Unitary and Federal states.
Political Geography • The word unitary means unity – it is a Latin word Unitas. • Unitary states entail oneness and a high degree of internal homogeneity and cohesiveness.
Political Geography • Unitary states are organized around a single political core, the national capital. • This means that the whole country is under the direct control of the central government. • The whole country is divided into units for administration purposes.
Political Geography • In that case a local government can deal with local issues. • In unitary governments, provinces and states which are sub national governments, owe their very existence to the central or national government.
Political Geography • The national government: • Creates the administrative units, • Determines how many of them are to be created, • Determines where their boundaries should pass and. • Who should rule those areas.
Political Geography • In most unitary states government subdivisions within the state have no legislative or judicial functions and little decision making power. • These subdivisions operate as administrative districts that are designed to make the workings of the central government easier and more effective.
Political Geography • These subdivisions are financed by the national government as well as the appointment of the chief executives. • A unitary state can be all of the following – • monarchy, Ruled by a royal • democracy, Free and equal representation of the people • or a dictatorship form of government.
Political Geography • A dictatorship ruled by a single individual with absolute power. • A good example of a unitary state is France and some former French colonies practice this type of a system including Cameroon.
Political Geography • In France, the first order civil divisions, the provinces are ruled by governors that are appointed in Paris. • The governors have very limited powers and only carry out the laws which have been mandated by the national government. • Unitary states tend to be small or culturally homogeneous.
Political Geography • Most Arabic, Latin American, and African countries have this kind of arrangement. • Other examples of unitary states would include the united kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and new Zealand. • The largest unitary state in the world is china.
Political Geography • In federal states, the responsibilities of government are divided formally between the central authorities in national capitals and lower levels of government.
Political Geography • The word federal is derived from the word league and implies alliance, contract and the coexistence of the state’s diverse regions and peoples. • Under the federal system there are a variety of power centers.
Political Geography • In a weak federation, the power of the constituent state is large and that of the central government small – Switzerland is a good example.
Political Geography • The German system has a strong federal government and the power is more centralized. • The United States, Canada and Mexico do have a federal structure of government.
Political Geography • Under the federal framework, the central government represents the first order of divisions within the states where there is shared common interests. • First order entities are very powerful and are represented by the states.
Political Geography • An important power of these entities are the power to tax. • This is the single most important measure of “sovereignty”. • The powers of the states and provinces have been exercised in many different ways.
Political Geography • Examples are such things as: • Divorce laws, • Minimum driving ages, • Educational systems, • Environmental regulations, • Certification requirements for teachers and. • Motor vehicle codes.
Political Geography • In Canada, Quebec has taken advantage of this and fostered a separate French-language-based society.
Political Geography • They have a legal code based on the Napoleonic model rather than on English common law. • Today the tendency is for many unitary states to move toward decentralization of power, while federal states are moving toward centralization.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • The responsibilities of governing as stipulated by the constitutions of both countries rest with Washington and Ottawa.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • Down the ladder is the state/provinces and then the local governments. • State governments delegate powers to lower levels of governments such as the municipalities and counties.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • Thus the powers of cities and counties depend entirely on the role assigned to them by the various states. • In short, states and provinces behave somewhat like unitary states.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • During the formation of the United States in the 18th century, differences between the former colonies made a unitary state impossible and undesirable.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • At that time, the federation was the only solution that could preserve unity while allowing diversity. • The United States Constitution is the basic framework for American Democracy.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • It grants a number of Executive Legislative and Judicial powers to the national government. • Powers such as: • Foreign affairs. • minting of currency. • National defense.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution indicates that powers not specifically given to the federal government are reserved “for the states” or to the “people” respectively.
U.S. And Canada As Federal States • Among the most important functions of the state are: • education, • police powers, and • health care. • States can do as they please within their boundaries provided they do not violate the federal constitution, federal laws or treaties.