Essays /

Essentials Of American Government Essay

Essay preview

Essentials of American Government: roots and reform

Chapter One: The Political Landscape
Roots of American Government: What Are They and Why Are They Important? A Government is the formal vehicle through which policies are made and affairs of state are conducted. Governments are often a result of trial and error, experiment, compromise, and sometimes bloodshed. A Citizen is a member of the political community to whom certain rights and obligations are attached. Politics is the study of who gets what, when and how- or how policy decisions are made. -Functions of Government (Pg. 5)

*Establishing Justice
*Insuring Domestic Tranquility
*Promoting the General Welfare
*Securing the Blessings of Liberty
-Types of Government (Pg. 7)
Early theorists such as Plato and Aristotle tried to categorize governments by who participates, who governs, and how much authority those who govern enjoy. A Monarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in hereditary kings and queens who govern in the interests of all (EXPLICITLY REJECTED BY THE FRAMERS). The Framers also rejected Aristocracy, which is defined as government by the few in the service of many. The least appealing of Aristotle’s classifications of government is Totalitarianism, which is a form of government in which power resides in a leader who rules according to self interest and without regard for individual rights and liberties. Another Unappealing for of government, an Oligarchy is a form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position, or achievement. Aristotle called rule of the many for the benefit of all citizens a “polity” and referred to the rule of many to benefit themselves, Democracy. Democracy is a system of government that gives power to the people whether directly or through elected representative. Aristotle strongly believed that the collective judgment of the many was preferred to that of a few. Aristotle’s Classifications of Government:

The Philosophical Origins of American Government
-The Reformation and the Enlightenment: Questioning the Divine Right of Kings (Pg.8)
The Mayflower Compact was a document written by the Pilgrims while at sea enumerating the scope of their government and its expectations of citizens. The Mayflower Compact took the form of a Social Contract, or agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed. -Hobbes, Locke, and the Social Contract Theory of Government (Pg. 9)

Thomas Hobbes and John Locke built on conventional notions about the role of government and the relationship of the government to the people in proposing a social contract theory of government. The social contract theory is the belief that people are free and equal by natural right, and that this in turn requires that al people give their consent to be governed; espoused by John Locke and was influential in the Declaration of Independence. According to Locke, people form governments largely to preserve life, liberty, property, and to ensure justice. -Devising a National Government in the American Colonies (Pg. 10)

Direct Democracy is a system of government in which members of the polity meet to discuss all policy decisions and then agree to abide by majority rule.
Indirect Democracy is a system of government that gives citizens the opportunity to vote for representatives who will work on their behalf.
Republic is a government rooted in the consent of the governed; a representative or indirect democracy.

American Political Culture and the Basic Tenets of American Democracy
Political Culture is commonly shared attitudes, beliefs, and core values about how government should operate. American political culture emphasizes the values of personal liberty, equality, popular consent and majority rule, popular sovereignty, civil society, individualism, and religious faith. -Personal Liberty (Pg. 10)

Personal Liberty is a key characteristic of U.S. democracy. Initially meaning freedom from governmental interference, today it includes demands for freedom to engage in a variety of practices without governmental interference or discrimination. -Equality (Pg. 10)

Political Equality is the principle that all citizens are equal in the political process, as implied by the phrase “one person, one vote.” -Popular Consent, Majority Rule, and Popular Sovereignty (Pg. 11)

Popular Consent is the principle that governments must draw their powers from the consent of the governed.
Majority Rule is the central premise of direct d...

Read more


-1890 -1954 1 10 100 102 103 10th 11 111 112 116 117 118 119 12 120 121 122 123 125 126 128 129 13 130 132 133 134 135 14 143 144 145 147 148 15 150 151 152 153 154 156 157 159 160 161 162 163 164 166 17 1776 1800 1819 1824 1850 1890 19 1964 20 26th 27 28 29 30 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 42 43 44 45 46 48 5 56 5th 7 8 85 86 87 88 9 90 91 92 93 94 95 98 99 abid abolit abort abreast access accommod accord accus achiev act action activist administr adopt advent affair affect affirm african aftermath age agenda agre agreement al alexand alien alloc allow also amend america american among anoth anti anti-federalist anti-government anticip appeal applic appoint approv arbitrari aristocraci aristotl arm armi arrang articl asian assembl atmospher attach attaind attempt attitud author bail balanc bar base basi basic bear becam begin behalf behind belief believ benefit best big biggest bill birmingham birth bless bloodsh board bound branch britain british brown built bush busi cake call calm campus cannot card carri categor cell central certain chang chapter characterist check chief child children chose chosen citizen civil classif claus codifi coerciv cohort coin collect colleg coloni colonist combat command commerc commerci commit committe common communiti compact complet composit compromis concern concurr condit conduct confeder conflict confront congress congression consent conserv conservat consid constitut contain continent continu contracept contract control conven convent cooper core correspond counsel count court creat creation credit crime crimin cross cross-examin cruel cultur curtail deal death debat decid decis declar defend defin degre deleg demand democraci demograph demonstr deni deriv desegreg design determin develop devis devolut die differ direct disabl discrimin discuss distinct divid divin doctrin document domest doubl draft draw dred drive due duel duti earli econom economi edmund effort eighth elast elder elect emphas empow enabl engag enjoy enlighten ensur enter enumer environ equal equiti error espous essenti establish ethic ethnic european even ex examin exclus exclusionari execut exercis expect experi explicit export express fact facto faith famili favor featur feder federalist fee fenc fifth fight final fine firm first fist five foreign form formal format found foundat four fourth framer framework free freedom friendship full function fundament further garner gay general georg get gibbon give govern government grand grant great group growth guarante hamilton hate health hear heavili held hereditari high highest hispan hobb hold home homosexu honor hous ideolog ii iii illeg impair imparti impli import includ incorpor increas incrimin independ indian indict indirect individu industri influenc influenti inform infring initi insur interest interfer interpret involv iron issu item iv jame jay jefferson jeopardi jersey john judgment judici judiciari juri jurisdict justic keep key king known label lack landscap larg later law lay layer leader leagu least left legal legisl legislatur lesbian level libel liber libertarian liberti lie life like limit list litig live local lock long loos lower made madison major make mandat mandatori mani marbl market marriag marshal maryland may mayflow mean measur medic meet member mercantil met method might militari minor miracl mix mobil model moder molder monarchi money moral motiv move movement much muculloch must name nation nation-st natur necessari negoti neither never new nine ninth nomin notion oblig obscen occur octob offic offici often ogden oligarchi one one-hous open oper opinion opportun oppos opposit organ origin other oversight pacif paper paragraph part parti particip pass pay payment peac penalti peopl person petit pg pg.8 philadelphia philosoph phrase pic pilgrim plan plato play point polic polici polit politi poll popul popular posit possess post postal power practic prefer premis preserv presid press prevail primari principl prior privaci privat problem proceed process proclaim prohibit promot proper properti propos protect provis public punish purpos push put quarter queen question racial rais randolph ratif ratifi reach reagan reason redefin refer reform regard regardless region regul reject relat relationship religi religion remaind remedi replac report repres represent republ requir research reserv resid resolut respect rest restraint result retain retent return revenu review revolut right role root rule school scope scott sea search second section secur sedit seizur select self self-incrimin separ septemb seri serv servic set seventh sex shape share signifi simpli sixth size slander slave slaveri small social societi sometim sovereignti specif specifi speech speedi staf stage stamp standard state state-by-st status statutori stem step stipul storm strengthen strong stronger structur student studi subdivis suffrag suit supersed support suprem supremaci symbol system take taney taxat techniqu tenet tenth terminolog territori terror theori theorist third thirteen thirteenth thoma three three-fifth time today togeth took totalitarian toward trade tradit tranquil translat treati tri trial tribe troop turn two two-hous type u.s ultim unanim unapp understood unfinish unifi unit unitari unpopular unprotect unreason unusu use v valu varieti vehicl versus vest vi view vii violenc virginia vote voter wage want war wartim washington water water-board way weak wealth welfar well wherein whether whose wit within without women word work workplac world write written zone