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02 - Introduction to Government

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Introduction to Government lecture for American Government class at Atchison County Community High School.

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02 - Introduction to Government

  1. 1. GOVERNMENT AND THE STATE What is Government?
  2. 2. OBJECTIVESStudents will define government and functions ofgovernment.Students will describe sovereignty and implications offreedoms
  3. 3. VOCABULARYgovernment: institution through which a society makes and enforcesits public policies.constitution: body of fundamental laws that detail the principles,structures and processes of a government.democracy: government where the responsibility for the use of powerrests with the majority of the people.state: a body of people, living in a defined territory, organized with agovernment, with the power to enforce lawsovereignty: the state’s supreme and absolute power within its ownterritory.
  4. 4. GOVERNMENTGovernments exist to provide a structure of support andsecurity to groups of peoplePeople, through governments, propose public policy thatis set as a priority US public policy: Social Security, US Armed Forces Kansas public policy: Highway maintenance, driving age Local public policy: School budget, speed limits
  5. 5. THREE KINDS OFPOWERLegislative Power: power to make law and to frame publicpolicyExecutive Power: power to execute, enforce and administerlawJudicial Power: power to interpret laws, determine theirmeaning and to settle disputesThese powers are defined and established in a constitution
  6. 6. RULE OF ONE;OF MANY Dictatorships arise when a single person or small group take these powers and determine policy; not held responsible to the will of the people Democracy is when the will of the people is carried out by a group answerable to those people The majority of the people keep the government accountable to setting policy that is consistent with their desires
  7. 7. THE STATEOften times we say ‘country’ or ‘nation’More correctly, a body of people who are living in a definedterritory, organized politically with the power to enforce lawis a state ‘country’ is a geographic term, referring to a particular, place, region or area of land ‘nation’ refers to an ethnic definition of races or other large groups of people
  8. 8. STATE: FOURCHARACTERISTICSPopulation: the number of people who occupy the stateTerritory: the land, with its recognized boundaries, that astate exists onSovereignty: the supreme and absolute power the stateexercises within its territoryGovernment: the political institution through which societymakes and enforces its public policy
  9. 9. FOUNDINGPHILOSOPHIESPopulation and territory are two factors that are given. The government is the end product of the states authority The issue of where power is derived has driven philosophers and thinkers for thousands of years
  10. 10. PLATO & HOBBESPlato (380 BC): The Cave - man is ignorant and blind. It isthe obligation of those who have broken free of the shacklesof ignorance and found the way to the light to help those stillstuck in darknessThomas Hobbes (1651 AD): Leviathan - argued that Man islittle better than animals in the darkness. Governmentexists to provide shelter from “continual fear and danger ofviolent death and life [would be] solitary, poor, nasty,brutish and short.”
  11. 11. LEVIATHAN (1651) Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, whereevery man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the timewherein men live without other security than what their ownstrength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In suchcondition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof isuncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; nonavigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported bysea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving andremoving such things as require much force; no knowledge of theface of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; nosociety; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger ofviolent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish,and short.
  12. 12. JOHN LOCKE (1690)Locke argued that people do not owetheir allegiance to any governmentthat does not reflect the best interestsof those people. In fact, it is theobligation of the people to overthrowan unjust government.

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