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The Foundations and Principles of Government


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Title: The Foundations and Principles of Government

The Foundations and Principles of Government
Government and the State
  • Government is the institution through which a
    society makes and enforces its public policies.
  • Public policies are all the things a government
    decides to do.
  • Taxation, defense, education, and healthcare are
    examples of public policies.

Government and the State
  • Government needs power to function power is the
    ability to command or prevent action.
  • Government has three basic forms of power
  • Legislative power
  • Executive power
  • Judicial power

Government and the State
  • Legislative power is the power to make laws.
  • Executive power is the power to execute, enforce,
    and administer laws.
  • Judicial power is the power to interpret laws,
    determine their meaning and settle disputes.

Government and the State
  • Who holds the power to run government makes a big
  • When one person or a small group holds all the
    power it is called a dictatorship.
  • When the power is held by the majority of the
    people it is called a democracy.

Government and the State
  • Government is one of the oldest human inventions
    dating back ancient Egypt.
  • Each state in the world has a form of government
    and by state we do not mean United States.
  • A state is a legal entity also called a nation
    or a country.

Government and the State
  • What do you need to make a state?
  • Population The people who live there.
  • Territory The land where the state is, defined
    by clear boundaries.
  • Sovereignty All of the governing power is
    controlled by the state.
  • Government The state has the ability to make
    and enforce public policies.

Government and the State
  • Scholars have identified four ways in which a
    state is created.
  • 1. Force Theory An individual or group claimed
    control over a territory using force.
  • 2. Evolutionary Theory A population formed out
    of primitive families and heads of the state were

Government and the State
  • 3. Divine Right Theory God created the state
    and chose the leaders while the people must obey
    or go against God.
  • 4. Social Contract Theory government protects
    peoples life, liberty, and property.

Government and the State
  • Summaries

Preamble to the Constitution
  • A constitution is the body of fundamental laws
    setting out the principles, structures, and
    processes of government.
  • A preamble is an introduction like to state
    your reasons for why you did something.
  • Thus, the Preamble to the Constitution is an
    introduction to the fundamental laws in America.

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 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.

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Preamble to the Constitution
  • The preamble introduces six key points about the
    establishment of the American government.
  • 1. Form a more perfect Union To make sure that
    the states stayed unified and together.

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 2. Establish Justice The laws of the United
    States must be reasonable, fair, and impartial.
  • Even though the United States has not been
    perfect at achieving justice, we are constantly
    amending our laws to get there.

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 3. Insure domestic Tranquility To make sure
    that law and order is followed in our society.
  • Humans are not perfect what would society be
    like without any laws or order?

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 4. Provide for the Common Defense To defend
    the nation against foreign and domestic enemies.
  • This is why the United States has an army, navy,
    air force and coast guard to protect us as
    American citizens.

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 5. Promote the General Welfare The government
    acts as a servant to us as Americans.
  • Government provides schools, keeps our food and
    water safe, protects the air we breathe, and aids
    our transportation.

Preamble to the Constitution
  • 6. Secure the Blessings of Liberty America was
    founded on the basis of liberty that everyone
    possess individual freedoms.
  • As American citizens we are protected under basic
    rights and no one should be allowed to take those

Preamble to the Constitution
  • Summary

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Determining how much power the people have can
    help you identify the form of government.
  • In a democracy, the people or majority hold the
    power over the government.
  • However, not all democracies are the same.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • For example, there are direct democracies in
    which the majority make all decisions.
  • This works for small states where it is easy for
    the people to meet and the problems are small.
  • The government of the United States is not a
    direct democracy.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Instead, the United States is an indirect
  • People vote for representatives to serve in
    government offices to make decisions for them.
  • A representative democracy is also called a

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • The opposite of democracy is dictatorship.
  • In a dictatorship, the rulers of a state cannot
    be held responsible to the will of the people.
  • Dictatorships are the oldest and most common form
    of government in past history.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Just like democracies, not all dictatorships are
    the same.
  • An autocracy is a government where one single
    person is in charge completely.
  • An oligarchy is a government where a small group
    of people are in charge.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Some more notorious dictatorships from modern
    history are Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union.
  • Most dictatorships that exist today are ruled by
    small groups of people and hide behind fixed
    elections like China and Iran.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Democracy in America rests on these basic
  • 1. Equality in voting.
  • 2. Equality of all persons.
  • 3. Individual freedom.
  • 4. Majority rule and minority rights.
  • 5. Voluntary consent to be governed.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Equality in Voting
  • Citizens need equal opportunity to express their
    preferences about policies and leaders.
  • Democracy is based on the idea that individuals
    vote to determine public policy.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Equality of all persons
  • Even though we are all not created the same, we
    believe we should be treated equally.
  • Equality of opportunity, and equality before the

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Individual freedom
  • All individuals may do as they like, as long as
    their actions do not violate the rights of
  • The right to swing my fist ends where the other
    mans nose begins. Justice Oliver Wendell

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Majority rule, and minority rights
  • Democracy is the voice of the people therefore
    majority rules.
  • However, the majority must be willing to listen
    and compromise with the minority view for
    democracy to stay strong.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Voluntary consent to be governed
  • This goes back to the social contract theory
    democracy only works if the people believe in the
  • The people agree to be governed.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Voluntary consent to be governed also means that
    people have duties and responsibilities to
  • However, there is a difference between a duty and
    a responsibility.
  • Duties are requirements of every citizen, while
    responsibilities are encouraged of every citizen.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Duties include
  • Serving on a jury.
  • Serving as a witness when called.
  • Attending school.
  • Pay taxes.
  • Register for draft (men only).
  • Obeying laws.
  • Respecting the rights of others.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • Responsibilities include
  • Voting
  • Volunteering
  • Participate in civic life.
  • Understand the workings of our government.

Democracy vs. Dictatorship
  • summary

Free Enterprise
  • Americas commitment to freedom does not stop
    with democracy.
  • America also believes in a free enterprise system
    when it comes to the economy.
  • Americans have the freedom to economically grow
    as they wish.

Free Enterprise
  • Free Enterprise, also known as Capitalism, is
    based on four factors
  • 1. Private ownership of capital goods.
  • 2. Investments made by private decision, not
    government direction.
  • 3. Profit.
  • 4. Competition.

Free Enterprise
  • The successes or failures of American business
    are determined by the market-place..or supply
    and demand.
  • However, this does not mean government sits out
    of the economy completely.
  • Government regulates the economy to protect the
    consumer and protect private industry.

Free Enterprise
  • The question remains debated today how much
    should government be involved with business?
  • The answer is found in everyones political
    philosophy or a set of notions or ideas about
    how people should be governed.

Free Enterprise
  • Your political philosophy drives your political
  • People choose to get involved in politics with
    other people who share their interests and they
    see those interests being affected by government.

Free Enterprise
  • If the people feel that the government is no
    longer working for them they have options.
  • They can use the power of democracy to vote for
    changes to be made.
  • Or they can use force and overthrow the
    government also called a revolution.

Free Enterprise
  • Revolutions have occurred numerous times
    throughout history.
  • The United States of America was developed as a
    direct result of a revolution.
  • The goal of a revolution is to make a better
    system of government.

Free Enterprise
  • So, how do you know when a government is the
    right one?
  • The legitimate object of government, is to do
    for a community of people whatever they need
    done, but cannot do at all, or well, for
    themselves. Abraham Lincoln.

Free Enterprise
  • summary

Coming of Independence
  • Many American political ideas came from English
    documents such as the Magna Carta.
  • Ordered government
  • Local governments should be divided into units
    and ruled by officers according to law.
  • Limited government
  • Individual citizens have basic rights
  • There are limits on government power

Coming of Independence
  • Representative government
  • Government should serve the will of the people.
    In other words, people should have a say in what
    the government does or does not do.
  • Butthe colonists still became upset over the
    treatment they received from the English
    government and the King.

Coming of Independence
  • Over time the colonists began getting used to
    more and more self-rule.
  • England was over 3,000 miles away and it took two
    months to sail from England to the colonies.
  • Colonial legislatures sometimes withheld
    governors pay until they agreed with the

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Coming of Independence
  • By 1760 King George III ruled England and Britain
    became more strict with the colonies.
  • Increased taxation on the colonists began to make
    the colonists resentful.
  • King George increased British soldier population
    in the colonies and made colonists pay for the

Coming of Independence
  • The Stamp Act of 1765 added fuel to the colonists
    fire taxing them on all business documents.
  • The colonists were upset at Englands policy of
    taxation without representation.
  • Even though they were upset, the colonists tried
    to resolve problems with the king.

Coming of Independence
  • Failing to come to an agreement with the king,
    small revolts broke out in the colonies.
  • In 1770 British soldiers fired their guns into an
    angry colonial mob killing five this was called
    the Boston Massacre.
  • In 1773 colonists dressed as Native Americans
    destroyed tea from England in the Boston Harbor
    called the Boston Tea Party.

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Coming of Independence
  • England responded by punishing the colonists even
  • This prompted the first meeting of the colonies
    (all except Georgia) in Philadelphia in 1774.
  • This meeting is called the First Continental
    Congress they discussed what to do.

Coming of Independence
  • Some wanted to separate from England, others
    wanted to ask King George for relief.
  • The Declaration of Rights was sent to England
    asking one last time for a change in English
  • Their request was rejected, and met with even
    more severe taxes from England.

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Coming of Independence
  • By the time the Second Continental Congress met
    in 1775 shots had been fired between British
    troops and colonists at Concord and Lexington.
  • George Washington from Virginia was named leader
    of the Colonial Army.
  • The Second Continental Congress became the first
    American government.

Coming of Independence
  • About one year after the American Revolution
    began, the colonies issued the Declaration of
    Independence to England on July 4, 1776.
  • It was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson, a
    delegate from Virginia.
  • The document discussed the belief that government
    be held accountable by the people it governs.

Coming of Independence
  • The Declaration of Independence also uses such
    terms as
  • all men created equal
  • certain unalienable rights
  • consent of the governed

Coming of Independence
  • These terms, especially unalienable rights or
    natural rights were ideas from past
    philosophers like John Locke.
  • It was Jeffersons idea to incorporate the ideas
    of John Locke and other famous past Enlightenment
    era philosophers into the Declaration of
    Independence to increase its credibility.

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Coming of Independence
  • summary

Creating the Constitution
  • Once the colonies established independence from
    England, they knew a formal government needed to
    be established.
  • To meet this need the Articles of Confederation
    was created.
  • The Articles of Confederation set up a firm
    league of friendship between the states.

Creating the Constitution
  • The Articles of Confederation established a
    strong state government in which they would come
    together for common defense.
  • This created an alliance instead of a country.
  • By 1781, all 13 states had ratified or approved
    the Articles of Confederation.

Creating the Constitution
  • The government structure of the Articles of
    Confederation was simple.
  • There was one Congress made up of all 13 states
    each had one vote.
  • Representatives of the Congress were chosen every
    year by whatever method each state wanted to use.

Creating the Constitution
  • Congress also chose one presiding officer each
    year to lead.
  • Congress had power to make war, make treaties,
    and ask for states to provide troops.
  • However, states held most of the power to govern
    themselves as they saw fit.

Creating the Constitution
  • States did agree to allow Congress to settle any
    disputes, and treat people from other states
  • Articles of Confederation proved weak because
    Congress lacked essential power.
  • Congress could not tax the states, regulate trade
    between states, or force the states to obey.

Creating the Constitution
  • In 1783 the American Revolutionary War came to an
    end with the Treaty of Paris.
  • Afterwards, states bickered and could not come to
    an agreement on issues.
  • Hard feelings set in between the states, and
    violence even broke out in some areas.

Creating the Constitution
  • In September of 1786 a meeting of all states was
    called in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • The turnout was low, which prompted a second
    calling of all states to meet in Philadelphia.
  • While the purpose of the meeting was to revise
    the Articles of Confederation, it eventually
    created the U.S. Constitution.

Creating the Constitution
  • At the Philadelphia Convention in 1787
    representatives from the 13 states met to create
    a new central government.
  • They met during the summer months very hot, no
    air conditioning, windows closed to stop
  • The most wonderful work by the brain and purpose
    of man.

Creating the Constitution
  • The meeting place was Independence Hall where the
    D of I was signed 11 years earlier.
  • George Washington was elected president of the
  • First order of business was to set up ground
    rules for the convention.

Creating the Constitution
  • Each state would receive one vote, and majority
    was needed to pass a resolution.
  • Their goal was to write a new constitution.
  • There was yelling, bickering, arguing among the
    representatives some even left the room at
    certain points.

Creating the Constitution
  • Two major plans were offered as replacements to
    the Articles of Confederation.
  • First was the Virginia Plan, developed by future
    president James Madison.
  • It featured three branches of government, a
    legislature, executive and judicial branch.

Creating the Constitution
  • Legislature was made up of two houses a House
    of Representatives and a Senate called the
  • Total population of a state determined how many
    Reps and Senators each state had.
  • Congress could also force states to obey laws.

Creating the Constitution
  • Congress chose a National Executive and a
    National Judiciary to balance power.
  • The Virginia Plan had the support of large states
    but smaller states rejected it.
  • Instead they favored the New Jersey Plan which
    was different from the Virginia Plan.

Creating the Constitution
  • New Jersey Plan called for a one-house Congress
    with each state having equal representatives,
    regardless of population.
  • It also gave Congress the power to tax the states
    to fund the government.
  • The question between the two plans how should
    the states be represented?

Creating the Constitution
  • The conflict was settled through the Connecticut
    Compromise also called the Great Compromise.
  • The compromise created two houses House of
    Representatives and a Senate.
  • Number of HOR was based on state population
    Senate was equal representation.

Creating the Constitution
  • The next question was about slaves should they
    count towards total population?
  • Southern states said yes because it would give
    them more HOR seats.
  • Northern states said no because they did not want
    the south to out vote them.

Creating the Constitution
  • The Three-Fifths Compromise resolved the issue
    all non-free persons equal 3/5 when counting
  • It was a mixture of compromises that made the
    U.S. Constitution.
  • They did not agree on everything, but did agree
    on liberty and sovereignty for all (kind of).

Creating the Constitution
  • summary

Ratifying the Constitution
  • After the Constitution was written a new
    challenge presented itself.
  • The Constitution needed to be ratified or
    approved by a vote in all of the states.
  • Copies of the Constitution has been made and were
    being read by every citizen in the U.S.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Not everyone was in agreement with the
    Constitution however.
  • In each state, two distinct groups were forming
    Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
  • Thus first political parties were created
  • Federalists were those who were in favor of the
    Constitution and Anti-Federalists were opposed to
    the Constitution.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Federalists believed that the Constitution was
    necessary because the Articles of Confederation
    were too weak.
  • Federalists were led by those at the Philadelphia
    Convention when the Constitution was written.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Anti-Federalists claimed that the Constitution
    gave too much power to the central government.
  • They also were worried that the president or
    executive branch was too powerful.
  • Anti-Federalists feared the president turning
    into another monarchy.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Anti-Federalists also were concerned about the
    absence of a list of rights for each American.
  • The right to freedom of speech, freedom of
    religion, and freedom of the press was not in the

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Federalists said that there doesnt need to be a
    list of rights.
  • Their argument was that because there was a
    separation of powers between the legislative,
    executive and judicial branch, peoples rights
    would never be threatened.
  • Separate and divided each branch of government
    has specific powers that do not overlap.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • The Anti-Federalists got their way a list of
    rights called the Bill of Rights was added to the
  • The Bill of Rights was 10 specific freedoms that
    each citizen held which was protected by the
  • The goal now was to get all 13 states to ratify.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Getting the Constitution ratified was not easy.
  • Both sides campaigned and wrote essays expressing
    their view points.
  • Eventually, all 13 states did ratify the
    Constitution but vote was very close in Rhode
    Island and New York.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • Finally, the Constitution replaced the Articles
    of Confederation and the U.S. had a new framework
    for government.
  • The new Congress met in 1789 for the first time.
  • New York City was named a temporary capital where
    Congress would operate.

Ratifying the Constitution
  • George Washington the Revolutionary hero was
    elected as the first President.
  • John Adams was elected as the first Vice

Ratifying the Constitution
  • summary