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American Government Essay

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Welcome to American Government 2301.  Be sure to activate your Vernon College email account and check it regularly (several times a week).  All correspondence from Vernon College will be sent to your VC email. Chapter 1

1. Read Chapter 1. Read Preamble
2. Define Government.
* The formal vehicle through which policies are made and affairs of the state are conducted. 3. _______ is how policy decisions are made.
4. An agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed is called ____________. *Social Contract
5. What are the four types of government and define each one? *Oligarchy - A form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position, or achievement. Monarchy - A form of government in which power is vested in hereditary kings and queens who govern in the interests of all. Totalitarian - 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. Democracy- A system of government that gives power to the people, whether directly or through elected representatives. 6. What is the difference in popular consent and majority rule? *Popular consent is the premise that governments draw powers from the consent of the governed. By voting you are showing your consent to be governed and this is the premise of democracy. Majority rule means that officials will be elected and policies will be made into law only if the majority of citizens in a political unit support such changes. 7. What are the five functions of government?

*Establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty. 8. Define political ideology, conservative, libertarian, and liberal. *Political Ideology is the coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose and scope of government held by groups and individuals. A conservative is one who believes that a government is best that governs least and that big government should not infringe on individual, personal, and economic rights. A libertarian is one who believes in limited government and no governmental interference in personal liberties. And a liberal is one who favors governmental involvement in the economy and in the provision of social services and who takes an activist role in protecting the rights of women, the elderly, minorities, and the environment. 9. Conservatives tend to identify with the _____________ party. *Republican

10. Liberals tend to identify with the ________ party.
11. Give at least two examples of conservative’s view of the government. *Two examples of a conservatives view of government are that government should interfere as little as possible and big government shouldn’t infringe on individual, personal, and economic rights. 12. Give two examples of liberal’s view of government.

*Two examples of a liberals view of government are that government should be heavily involved in economy and social services. They also believe that government should take an active role in protecting women’s rights, elderly, minorities and environment 13. Who is the individual who believes in limited government and no government interference in personal and economic affairs? *Libertarian

14. Define the following terms: popular consent, popular sovereignty, political culture. *Popular consent is the principle that governments must draw their powers from the consent of the governed. Popular sovereignty is the notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people. It has its bias in natural law, which is a doctrine that society should be governed by certain ethical principles that are part of nature and, as such, can be understood by reason. And political culture is commonly shared attitudes, beliefs, and core values about how government should operate. 15. Discuss some of the changing characteristics of the American People. See page 15 How has U.S. population grown over time? Discuss size and populations. Discuss racial and ethnic composition. Discuss changes in age and family size. *Over time population in the US has steadily increased. Because of the increase, the population has become more removed from state and national government. States like Montana have one representative for over 900,000 people. In the 1880’s, the population was roughly around 50 million. As people began to adventure westward with the gold rush and new railroad, population began to increase. Now the US population is at around 309 million. Large increases in population are partly due to the increase of immigrants coming to America. In the 1900’s immigrants primarily came from Europe or China. Now most immigrants are Hispanic. Because of the difficult language barrier, businesses and government have begun to take a more bilingual approach to everything. Steadily over time the population has begun to live longer. The average age now is approximately 80 years old whereas when the states were founded it was 35. The aging population has begun to put financial strain on the government. With people living longer, that means more on Medicaid and government supported services and for long...

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