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AMERICAN GOVERNMENT

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Title: AMERICAN GOVERNMENT


1
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT
2
  • What is GOVERNMENT?

3
  • Government is one of the oldest institutions on
    earth.
  • Enlightenment philosophers traced its origin to
    ancient Mesopotamia.
  • Theistic thinkers trace its origin to Gods early
    dealings with man.

4
  • What we know for certain is that early man felt a
    need to control to govern
  • his actions.
  • From the earliest times, it appears that life
    without a controlling influence was, as British
    philosopher Thomas Hobbes later put it, nasty,
    brutish, and short.

5
  • The 4th century B.C. Greek philosopher Aristotle
    student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the
    Great was among the first to ponder the origin
    and purpose of government.

6
  • He studied the polis the ancient Greek
    city-state.
  • The English terms politics and citizen both
    derive from the Greek term polis.

7
  • The word polis is little remembered today
    outside of academic circles.
  • We are more familiar with the more modern terms
    country and state and we use them
    interchangeably.

8
  • GOVERNMENT
  • The institution through which the public
    policies of a state are made and enforced.
  • But this is the formal definition of government

9
We encounter many governments in our lives
  • Your Family
  • Schools
  • Jobs
  • Churches, Synagogues, Temples, and Mosques

10
  • In each of these institutions, law (or rule)
    making and law (or rule) enforcing goes on.
  • In other words, someone (or a group) acts as
    legislator (rule-maker) and executive
    (rule-enforcer.)

11
  • In this course, we will largely be speaking of
    government in its more formal sense the
    institutions, offices, and individuals who govern
    us and that as it pertains to the United States
    of America.

12
Now, getting back to countries and states
  • What political scientists and historians call the
    state is the dominant political institution in
    the world today.

13
  • The state
  • (from the Latin stare, to stand)
  • A 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 power

14
  • There are close to 200 states in our world at the
    beginning of the 21st century.
  • The United States of America
  • is one of them.

15
  • Now lets look at each of the four characteristics
    of a state

16
Population
  • States are made up of people.
  • Some states have extremely large populations,
    some extremely small.

17
The largest state in the world today in terms of
population is
  • The Peoples Republic of China
  • Population Jan. 2009 just over 1.3 billion
    people.

18
The smallest state in the world in terms of
population is
  • Vatican City
  • Resident Population - 900

19
What difference does the size of a countrys
population make?
  • It can add to the number of problems the country
    faces overcrowding, housing, food shortages,
    etc..
  • It can also be a source of political instability,
    if the government doesnt deal with the problems
    effectively.

20
Territory
  • States (countries) always have defined borders,
    separating their territory from that of other
    countries.
  • The boundaries of a state may be defined by
    natural formations, such as oceans, rivers, or
    mountain ranges.
  • They may also be defined simply by artificial
    man-drawn lines on a map.

21
  • The territorial size of a state may be large or
    small.

22
The largest state in the world in terms of
territory is
  • Russia
  • Over 6,500,000 square miles

23
The territorial size of the United States
  • 3,718,711 square miles

24
The smallest state in the world today in terms of
territory is
  • Vatican City
  • Size?
  • Just under 109 acres!

25
Government
  • States must be organized politically, which is to
    say that they have a formal government structure.
  • States have different types of governments based
    on their unique historical experience.

26
Sovereignty
  • The ability to make and enforce laws and to set
    policies
  • without the approval
  • of any higher power.

27
In other words
  • The Congress of the United States can pass laws
    and the President can sign them into law or
    veto (reject) them without the approval of the
    British or Canadian Parliaments, the Japanese
    Diet, the Israeli Knesset, etc..
  • And of course those legislative bodies can do
    the same without our Congress approval!

28
Theories for the Origin of the State
  • I. The FORCE Theory
  • The first government emerged in
  • prehistoric times when a strong
  • man (or a group of strong men)
  • rose up and forced his will on
  • others with the threat of violence
  • and death.
  • Source of power Physical Strength

29
  • II. The EVOLUTIONARY Theory
  • Some scholars believe that the
  • state evolved from the family.
  • Evolution in this context simply
  • means change in a particular
  • direction.
  • The head of the primitive family
  • was the authority that served as
  • a government.

30
  • An extended family might include
  • hundreds of people.
  • Abrahams descendants in the
  • Torah, the Old Testament of the Bible,
    and the Koran are
  • an example of the emergence of
  • this kind of rule.
  • Gradually, over time, the large
  • extended family required a higher
  • degree of social organization.

31
  • III. The DIVINE RIGHT Theory
  • Also called the Euro-Asian power model
  • The idea that earthly rulers acquire
  • their authority from God (or the
  • gods) and that God (or the
  • gods) has chosen certain special
  • people to rule over others by divine
    right
  • Important to many
  • civilizations throughout human history

32
  • The Egyptians had their Pharaohs.
  • The Chinese had their Emperors.
  • Europe had its Kings.
  • Each were held to be men endued
  • with power from on high to rule
  • other men.
  • They were believed to be god-men
  • and to oppose them was to oppose God!
  • (Or, at least, thats what they wanted
  • their subjects to believe!)

33
  • Government Powerful
  • The People Powerless
  • The American Revolution
  • was fought in opposition to this idea!

34
  • And now we turn to the theory for the origin of
    the state on which the Founding Fathers based our
    country

35
The Social Contract Theory
  • Beginning in the 1600s, Europeans began to
    challenge rulers who believed their authority
    came from God.
  • They were supported by the writings of
    philosophers who believed that the origin of the
    state was in a social contract an agreement
    among the members of society.

36
  • The most important social contract philosophers
    were
  • Thomas Hobbes and John Locke
  • of England
  • and
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau of France.

37
  • Thomas Hobbes great contribution to social
    contract theory came in his book Leviathan,
    published in 1651.

38
  • Hobbes wrote that early man lived in a state of
    nature.
  • No government existed.
  • Without an authority to protect people from one
    another, life was nasty, brutish, and short.

39
  • By social contract (an agreement among the
    members of society), people surrendered to the
    state the power needed to maintain order.
  • The state, for its part in the contract, agreed
    to protect the citizens.
  • But the state had absolute power over the lives
    of the people.
  • Once they surrendered their freedom, they were
    powerless.

40
  • and Hobbes did not believe the people had any
    right to break the agreement.
  • He acknowledged no right of revolution.

41
  • John Locke took the social contract an important
    step further.

42
  • In 1688, the British Parliament forced King James
    II out of office and invited William and Mary of
    Orange to rule an event in British history
    known as the Glorious Revolution.

43
  • In Two Treatises of Civil Government, published
    in 1689, Locke defended the action taken by
    Parliament and went even further.

44
  • He wrote that people were naturally endowed with
    the right to life, liberty, and property.
  • These rights are born into us, Locke wrote.
  • They are part of our very nature as human beings.

45
  • To preserve these rights, people freely
    contracted with one another to surrender power to
    a governing authority.
  • As long as the government fulfilled its
    obligation to protect the natural rights of the
    people, the people permitted it to continue in
    power.

46
  • But, if government ever failed to protect the
    natural rights of the people, the people had the
    right to break the contract, abolishing the
    government.

47
  • Nearly a century later,
  • the American colonists revolted
  • against the rule of
  • King George III of England, citing, in the
  • Declaration of Independence, the political
    philosophy of natural rights that Locke had
    written about.

48
The Sources of the Authority of Modern Government
  • (1) LEGITIMACY
  • The willingness of people to obey the government.
  • In democratic countries, the governments
    legitimacy is based on the consent of the
    governed.

49
  • (2) COERCIVE FORCE
  • Derives from the police, military, and judicial
    institutions of government.
  • Government can force people to obey the law, by
    punishing them with fines, imprisonment, even
    death if they do not do so.

50
Today governments in general serve several major
purposes for the state
  • To maintain social order
  • To provide public services
  • To provide for national security and
  • the common defense
  • (4) To provide for and control the
  • economic system

51
The Framers of the Constitution listed the
purposes of American government in the 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
  • Secure the blessings of liberty to
  • ourselves and our posterity
  • do ordain and establish this Constitution for
    the United States of America.

52
Types of Government
  • In order to study them, political scientists
    classify governments according to three criteria
  • Where is the power located?
  • What is the relationship between the lawmakers
    (the legislative branch) and the law-enforcers
    (the executive branch)?
  • How many govern?

53
  • The answers to these questions comprise various
    forms of government.

54
Where Is Power Located?
  • UNITARY GOVERNMENT
  • - A central or national government
  • has supreme power.
  • - The central government may create
  • lower levels to govern smaller
  • units and may give those
  • agencies limited powers.

55
  • CONFEDERATE GOVERNMENT (CONFEDERATION)
  • - A loose alliance of independent,
  • sovereign states.
  • - The states may create a central
  • government of strictly limited
  • powers.

56
  • FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
  • - The central government shares
  • power with regional governments
  • - The United States Constitution
  • created a federal system of
  • government.

57
What Is The Relationship Between The Lawmakers
(Legislative) And The Law-Enforcers (Executive)?
  • PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT
  • - The Executive (the Prime Minister
  • and his or her Cabinet) members
  • of the Legislative Branch
  • (Parliament)
  • - The Prime Minister the leader of the
  • majority party in the House of Commons
  • in Parliament

58
  • PRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT
  • - The Chief Executive - the President
  • is elected separately from Congress
  • and serves a separate term of
  • office.

59
How Many Govern?
  • Political philosophers going back to Aristotle
    have identified five kinds of rule
  • (1) Rule of one Autocracy
  • Monarchies and Dictatorships
  • (2) Rule of a few Oligarchy
  • (3) Rule of the many Democracy
  • - Rule by majority
  • (4) Rule of Law Republic
  • - From the Latin res publica the
    public thing (the Law)
  • (5) Rule of None Anarchy

60
AUTOCRACYRule By One
  • ABSOLUTE or TOTALITARIAN DICTATORSHIP
  • - The oldest and one of the most
  • common forms of government
  • - Sources of power Force, Fear
  • - Most dictators seize power by force
  • and hold on to their power through
  • the ruthless use of the military or a
  • secret police

61
  • - The ideas of the dictator are glorified.
  • - The government tries to control all aspects
  • of social and economic life
  • - Exs. of totalitarian dictatorships
  • (1) Adolf Hitler Nazi Germany
  • (1933-1945)
  • (2) Benito Mussolini Fascist Italy

  • (1922-1943)
  • (3) Joseph Stalin The Soviet Union

  • (1924-1953)

62
  • - Key ideas in a totalitarian dictatorship
  • (A) The government is not responsible
  • to the people
  • (B) The people can in no way limit
  • their rulers

63
  • MONARCHY
  • - Source of power Family bloodline,
  • inheritance
  • - Two types
  • (A) Absolute Monarchies
  • - EX. King Abdullah of
  • Saudi Arabia
  • (B) Constitutional Monarchies
  • - EX. Queen Elizabeth II
  • of England

64
But a pure AUTOCRACY where one person truly rules
alone is impossible!
  • Monarchs and Dictators must have the help of
    others vassals, lords, a secret police
    organization, a loyal military force, etc. in
    order to rule a country!
  • So true Autocracy, as a form of government,
    doesnt really exist!

65
OLIGARCHYRule By A Few
  • Sources of power Wealth
  • Military
    Power
  • Social
    Position
  • or
  • A combination
    of
  • the
    three
  • Sometimes
    religion

66
  • - EXS. todays communist powers
  • (such as CHINA)
  • - Key idea the claim of rule for the
  • people
  • An oligarchy is the only real way a King or Queen
    or a Dictator or the members of one political
    party can rule a country.

67
  • So OLIGARCHY, as a form of government, is
    frequently found in history and today.

68
DEMOCRACYRule By Majority
  • From the Greek language
  • demos the people
  • kratien (plural form of krater) to rule
  • Aristotle coined the term demokratia to mean the
    rule of the people. We have anglicized it to
    democracy.
  • Key idea of democracy the people hold sovereign
    power

69
  • In his Gettysburg Address,
  • President Abraham Lincoln
  • described democracy as
  • government of the people, by the people, and
    for the people

70
  • But two forms of DEMOCRACY have existed in
    history and only one of them is practical as a
    form of government over a country
  • Rule by MAJORITY

71
Two Forms of Democracy
  • Direct Democracy
  • - Suited only for small societies
  • - Exs. New England town meetings
  • The smaller states or cantons
  • in Switzerland
  • No country today
  • is ruled by
  • direct democracy.

72
  • Majority Rule
  • Do we really have majority rule in the United
    States?
  • Do we really want majority rule?

73
Well Known to the Founding FathersThe Danger of
Rule by Majority
  • The Founding Fathers called Democracy mobocracy
    the rule of the mob.
  • They knew that true majority rule can lead very
    quickly to tyranny
  • - Either a tyranny of the majority
  • or a dictator (or other tyrant) that
  • the people turn to in order to have
  • order and safety

74
  • The Founding Fathers saw DEMOCRACY as a
    transitional form between oligarchy and anarchy.
  • They never intended the United States to be a
    DEMOCRACY.
  • The word DEMOCRACY is not used at all in
    Americas Founding Documents (the Declaration of
    Independence and the U.S. Constitution) because
    the Founding Fathers never created a DEMOCRACY.

75
The Founding Fathers created the United States to
be a REPUBLIC!
  • How do we know that?
  • Because they told us over and over again in our
    Founding Documents that, nationally, we were to
    be a REPUBLIC and that republican government
    was guaranteed for each of the States.

76
What is a REPUBLIC?
  • Republic - from the Latin res publica the
    public thing (the Law)
  • Republic the Rule of LAW

77
  • As Benjamin Franklin was leaving the final
    session of what has come to be called the
    Constitutional Convention, a woman stopped him on
    the street.
  • She inquired of the great man,
  • Dr. Franklin, what have you given us?
  • He responded,
  • A Republic, maam, if you can keep it.

78
We used to know this by heart!
  • It was discussed around our family supper tables,
    celebrated in our literature, taught very
    carefully in our schools.
  • We still are given the opportunity every morning
    in this school to place our hands over our hearts
    and pledge our personal allegiance to our flag
    and to the Republic for which it stands.

79
Why did the Founding Fathers draw such a
distinction between a democracy and a republic?
  • Because they knew a REPUBLIC where the Law
    rules (not single leaders, nor small groups, nor
    even the majority) offered the greatest
    possible protection for individual, personal
    LIBERTY!

80
Characteristics of American Democracy
  • Individual Liberty
  • - Not total freedom, but freedom
  • within the law
  • Majority Rule but with protections for the rights
    of the minority
  • - The Founding Fathers knew that
  • any majority can tyrannize a
  • minority if minority rights are
  • not protected

81
  • Free Elections
  • - Everyones vote weighted equally
  • - All candidates can freely express
  • their views
  • - Citizens are free to help candidates or
  • support issues
  • - Few legal requirements for voting
  • Competing political parties
  • - What is a political party?

82
In human history, democracies have been
rare.WHY?Because they tend to devolve into
anarchy.
  • In addition, because what we know as democracy
    today appears to require a particular environment
    in which to develop and flourish.

83
Five General Criteria Needed For The Development
Of Democracy
  • 1
  • DEMOCRACY REQUIRES CITIZENS WHO ARE WILLING TO
    PARTICIPATE IN CIVIC LIFE.

84
  • 2
  • DEMOCRACY REQUIRES A FAVORABLE ECONOMY.
  • Democracy succeeds more in countries without
    extremes of wealth and poverty and that have a
    large middle class.
  • Democracy succeeds in an environment of economic
    freedom (a free enterprise economy).
  • Democracy succeeds more in countries with stable,
    growing economies.

85
  • 3
  • DEMOCRACY IS MORE LIKELY TO SUCCEED IN COUNTRIES
    WITH AN EDUCATED CITIZENRY.

86
  • 4
  • DEMOCRACY CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT A STRONG CIVIL
    SOCIETY,
  • a complex network of voluntary associations,
    economic groups, religious organizations, and
    many other kinds of groups that exist
    independently of government.

87
  • 5
  • Democracy also prospers where there is a general
    CONSENSUS or agreement among the people about the
    social and political values and goals of the
    society.
  • Valence issues
  • Wedge issues

88
Economic Theories
  • Economics the study of human efforts to satisfy
    unlimited wants and needs with limited resources.
  • The worlds three major economic systems
  • A. Capitalism
  • B. Socialism
  • C. Communism

89
Five Characteristics of Capitalism
  • Private ownership of property and resources
  • Free enterprise
  • Business competition
  • Freedom of choice
  • The possibility of profits

90
  • Buyers and sellers have unlimited freedom to make
    economic decisions in a free market.
  • The government adopts a laissez-faire (French
    Leave it alone) policy.

91
  • No nation has a pure capitalist system.
  • The United States has a mixed economy in which
    free enterprise, or capitalist practices, are
    combined with and supported by government
    influences.
  • Major news sources, including Newsweek magazine,
    have suggested that since the economic downturn
    last fall and the election of President Obama in
    November the economic direction we are taking
    is more toward government control and farther
    away from free enterprise.

92
Socialism
  • Under socialism, the government owns the means of
    production and makes most economic decisions.
  • Socialism has three goals
  • (1) Public ownership of most land and
  • the means of production
  • (2) Government control over most economic
  • decisions
  • (3) Equal distribution of wealth

93
  • Socialists believe workers should share equally
    in the benefits of production.
  • Opponents (like me) say that socialism stifles
    individual initiative and hinders economic growth
    through high taxes.

94
Communism
  • Based on the conviction that history is a
    struggle between two classes
  • The bourgeoisie own the means of production and
    use their economic power to oppress the
    proletariat, or workers.

95
  • This struggle must end in violent revolution,
    after which government owns the means of
    production and distribution.
  • In time one class will evolve, property will be
    held in common, and there will be no need for
    government.
  • In a perfect communist system, Karl Marx
    theorized, government would just wither away.
  • In communist systems, as they exist today, all
    economic decisions are made at the upper levels
    of a very powerful national government.
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