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Government Honors

Chapter 1: Foundations of
Government and Citizenship

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Government- the institution through
which a society makes and enforces public
Public Policies- All the things the
government decides to do
Examples of topics: Taxation, defense, crime,
education, healthcare, etc.

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Governments Power
Legislative Power- The power to make laws
and frame public policies
Executive Power- the power to execute,
enforce, and administer laws
Judicial power- the power to interpret laws, to
determine their meaning and to settle
disputes that arise within society

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Constitution- body of fundamental laws
setting out the principles, structures, and
processes of a government

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Dictatorship: Powers are held by a single
person or small group
Those who rule cannot be held responsible to
the will of the people

Democracy: responsibility for the exercise

of powers rests with a majority of people
Supreme authority rests with the people

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Politics- the process by which a society
decides how power and resources will be
distributed within that society
Politics is a process, while government is
an institution

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State- body of people, living in a defined
territory, organized politically, and with
the power to make and enforce laws
without any higher authority

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Sovereign- has supreme and absolute
power within its own territory and can
decide its own foreign and domestic

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Formation of the state:
Force Theory: ruled by claiming and forcing
control over an area and population
Evolution Theory: developed naturally from
the early family




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Divine Right of Kings theory: God created the
state that God had given those of royal birth a
divine right to rule
Opposition was treason and mortal sin

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Social Contract Theory: people within a given
area agreed to give up to the state as much
power as was needed to promote the safety
and well being of all
Voluntary act of free people
State only exists to serve the will of the people
People are the sole source of political power

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What does government do?
Establish justice
Insure Domestic Tranquility
Provide for Common Defense
Promote General Welfare
Secure the Blessings of Liberty

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Patriotism: Love of ones country

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Classifications of Governments based on:
Who can participate
Geographical distribution of governmental
power within the state
Relationship between the lawmaking and
executive branches of government

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Who can Participate?
Democracy- supreme political authority rests
with the people
Direct Democracy (pure democracy)- will of the
people is translated into public policy directly be
the people themselves
Ex: Ancient Greece and Rome

Indirect Democracy (Representative Democracy)small group of persons, chosen by the people to act
as their representatives
Government by popular consensus
Government with the consent of the governed

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Republic- sovereign power is held by those
eligible to vote, while political power is
exercised by representatives chosen by and
held responsible for those citizens

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Dictatorship- Government not held
responsible to the will of the people
Autocracy- power is held by a single person
Oligarchy- power is held by a small group

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Authoritarian- those in power hold
absolute and unchallengeable authority
over the people
Totalitarian- exercise complete power over
nearly every aspect of human life
Theocracy- legal system of a state is based
on religious law

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Geographic Distribution of Power
Unitary Government- centralized government
Power belongs to a single central agency

Federal government- powers divided between

a central government and local governments
Confederation- alliance of independent states
Confederate government have limited power

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Legislative and Executive Branches
Presidential government- separation of
Typically written out in a constitution

Parliamentary- executive branch is mad up of

the prime minister or premier and that
officials cabinet
Officially members of the parliament
No deadlock between branches
No checks and balances

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Origins of the Modern Democratic State
Origins of the US Government can be traced
back to ancient Greece and Rome and the Old

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Concept of democracy was born in Greek city
states- particularly Athens
Began as a monarchy
By 6th century B.C. they had overthrown the monarchy
and replaced it with demokratia
rule by the People

At its base was a direct democracy

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Assembly (the Ecclesia) was its central feature

Open to males over 18

Met 40 times a year
Majority vote
Council of 500 (the boule) made the agenda
Chosen randomly
Served 1 yr. terms
Routine day to day government

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Courts (dikasteria)

At least 30 yrs. Old
1 yr. terms
Public and private disputes

Eventually Athens and Greece lost their

power, and with it, their version of democracy

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The Roman Republic
Originally a city-state with a monarchy
Overthrown in 509 B.C.

New government was a republic (res publica)

Lasted 400 years until replaced by the Roman

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Introduced the concept of representation
Much of their political struggle was between
two classes
Patricians- rich
Plebians- common people

Elections were held

Women, slaves, and foreign born people could not

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Government was centered in the senate
300 members
2 consuls- chosen by the Senate
Heads of State
Command the army
Conduct foreign affairs
Preside over the senate
Enforce decrees
Veto each other
In times of crisis a dictator could be appointed,
but for no longer than 6 months

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Feudalism- 9-12th century Europe
Loosely organized system of powerful lords
dividing their land to lesser lords
Those with land protected those who lived on it, in
exchange for loyalty, military service, and a share
of crops

Lord provided protection and some rough

form of justice

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Roman Catholic Church:
Provided some government-like order to
Europe during the middle ages

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Nations and Kings
The Commercial Revolution
Black Plague of the 1340s killed 1/3 of Western
Europes population
Because labor was scarce, serfs and free peasants
began to demand more for their labor
Because demand for food was low due to the lack
of population- lords made less money
Merchants and artisans rose in wealth and power
Economy because increasingly based on money
and trade instead of land

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The influence of towns
Some lords allowed free people to set up
towns on their land for a fee under a charter
Centers of trade and freedom
Most important in N. Italy, N. Germany, and the
Merchants still had to pay money to the Lords in
exchange for the services they provided

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The Rise of Monarchies
The feudal system began to crumble
Leaders of towns wanted a more centralized
government- so they began supporting monarchies
Monarchies had absolute power
Warfare was now with nations instead of powerful

Absolute monarchy- everyone and everything

is subordinate to the authority of the monarch

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Power, Authority, and Legitimacy
Legitimacy- the belief of the people that a
government has the right to make public
Legitimate government- one that is accepted
by its people and other governments as the
sovereign authority of the nation

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Ways to gain legitimacy
Divine right of kings

Power of Personality
Charismatic leader

Rule of Law
Law must be fair and effective

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European Colonialism
Colonialism- the control of one nation over
lands abroad
Colonial trade and wealth brought new power to
Monarchies adopted the theory of mercantilism

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Mercantilism- an economic and political
theory emphasizing money as the chief
source of wealth
Accumulation of precious medals
Favorable balance of trade with other nations

Goal was the enhance the monarchies

power and the nations power
Monarchies had the ability to finance
exploration and control distant colonies

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Power Comes from the People
Enlightenment- intellectual movement based
on reason
John Locke- life, liberty and property
Thomas Hobbes- Social Contract
Adam Smith and David Ricard0- Economists
Voltaire- reason, freedom of religion, scientific
observation, human progress
Montesquieu- separation of powers
William Blackstone- Common Law- legal decisions
should be made on the basis of similar decision in
the past

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If a monarch abused their power, they
broke their social contract and no longer
deserved to rule

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The Basics of Democracy:
American concept of democracy is based
Fundamental worth of all people
At times welfare of one or few is subordinate to the
good of the whole
Paying taxes
Military draft

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Respect and Equality of All People
All men are created equal
Equal opportunity
Equality under the law

Faith in majority rule and an insistence on

minority rights
Democracy cannot exist without majority rule, but
left unchecked, majority rule can be dangerous

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Acceptance of the necessity of compromise
Insistence upon the widest possible degree of
individual freedom
Absolute freedom = Anarchy
Must have limits
Requires a balance

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Responsibilities, Duties and Obligations of
Citizen- one who holds both rights and
responsibilities in a state
Civic responsibilities can include:
obeying the law, paying taxes, being
informed, voting, respecting the rights of others,
jury duty, serving in the armed forces, running
for office, etc.

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Democracy and the Free Enterprise
Free Enterprise System- American Economic

Private Ownership
Individual initiative

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Market decides
What to produce
How to produce
How much to produce

System also based on individual freedom

Government does still play a role in the