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Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
Introduction to Government
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Introduction to Government


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  • 1. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About “Government” Introduction and Chapter 1, Section 1 … well, almost.
  • 2. Just what exactly is a “government”?
    • A group that exercises authority over a particular group of people in a particular area.
      • Authority is the power to make decisions;
        • And also the power to make and enforce laws that people must obey
  • 3. How Are Governments Able to Exercise Their Authority ?
    • Use either legitimacy or force (or both) to compel people to follow the law
      • Legitimacy means the belief among citizens that their government has the right to rule them.
        • **Democratic governments derive most of their ability to rule from this source…
    • Governments which do not have consent from the people to rule must use force to control their people
      • Dictatorships, for example
  • 4. Why Do We Have Governments?
    • As we saw when we took away the handbook, the teachers and the administrators, human beings want/need someone to make and enforce rules so that a group or society can accomplish its goals (peace, stability, life, liberty, happiness, property, progress, etc…)
        • “ Without government, there can be no progress, no art, no music, no writing, no architecture, no literature…”
    • Creates a stable environment where people can feel relatively safe and secure in their everyday lives and society can progress
  • 5. Another way of looking at it…
    • Imagine a 9 year-old’s birthday party…
    Now imagine that there are no parents there…
  • 6. What might happen?
  • 7. So We Know We Need Them… But Where Do Governments Come From?
    • **We really cannot be certain…
    • There are several theories that have been developed to explain the origin of governments
      • Evolutionary theory
      • Force theory
      • Divine Right theory
      • Social Contract theory
  • 8. Evolutionary Theory
    • This is the theory that governments evolved from the family unit
      • Family to tribe, tribe to clan, clan to society
      • Father/Mother becomes tribal leader, and so forth…
    • The right to rule is based on the position of the father/mother as head of the family…
    This is perhaps the cause/reason for the earliest, smallest and simplest governments in history.
  • 9. Force Theory
    • This theory states that governments formed when one person or group used force to bring a group of people under their control.
      • The right to rule is based on the person or group’s ability to use force to compel others to follow their rules
  • 10. Divine Right Theory
    • This theory states that a government’s (or leader’s) authority comes from God or gods.
      • The ruler believes that God has appointed them to rule
      • Opposition to the ruler is considered opposition to God
    • This theory was used to justify the rule of the kings of Europe, Central and South America, Asia and the Middle East
  • 11. Social Contract Theory
    • The idea that governments are created when free people agree (consent) to give up their total freedom and be bound by rules which are enforced by a government they create and choose.
      • **Why would people agree to be bound by these rules?
    • The government gets its authority from the consent of the governed…the “ people ”
      • Sound familiar?
    • First devised by philosophers Thomas Hobbes and John Locke in the 1600s…
  • 12. What do governments do for their citizens?
    • Every government attempts to accomplish four main purposes or goals.
      • **Maintain social order
      • Provide public services
      • Provide for national security/common defense
      • Provide for/influence the economic system
  • 13. Maintain Social Order
    • The ability to make and enforce laws to maintain social order makes the other functions of government possible
    • **What are the ways in which governments maintain social order?
    • This is the most important function of a government
  • 14. Provide Public Services
    • Particularly those things that people cannot do on their own, individually…
      • **Can you think of any public services the government provides for us?
    • Build roads, sewage systems, provide utilities, monitor food safety, air quality, regulate businesses (airlines, automakers, mining, etc.)
  • 15. Provide National Security/Common Defense
    • This seems pretty straightforward…
      • How does the government accomplish this goal?
  • 16. Provide For/Influence the Economy
    • As we will learn, every country has an economic system
      • This system controls how we get what we want and need
    • Governments attempt to influence economic systems in order to benefit the people of their nation
      • They pass laws to increase trade, create currency, lower taxes, or may even try to control what you buy or sell and for how much
  • 17. So, to Review…
    • What is “government”?
    • What two methods enable governments to exercise their authority over people?
      • What is legitimacy ?
      • Give an example of how a government uses force to exercise authority.
    • Why do we have governments?
    • Describe one theory about how governments originate.
    • Identify and give one example of the purposes of government.