Chapter 1 - Chapter 1: Five Principles of Politics American...

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Chapter 1: Five Principles of Politics American Government and Politics US gov’t possesses a lot of measure of independence and authority US gov complexity was one element of the founder’s grand constitutional design o Hoped for an elaborate division of power o Would allow a variety of competing groups o Would prevent any single group from monopolizing power o Would disperse power/opportunity allowing many groups to achieve at least some of their political goals o Also places a lot of burden of ppl who might want to achieve something through political participation because its hard to find where/how/when policies are made Dictatorship: lines of political authority may be simple but opportunities to influence the use of power are few US: political opportunities are plentiful, but how they should be used is far from obvious Making Sense of Government and Politics What is Government? The institutions and procedures through which a land and its people are ruled Forms of Government Autocracy form of gov in which a single individual rules Oligarchy a small group of landowners, military officers, or wealthy merchants controls most of the governing decisions Democracy system of rule that permits citizens to play a significant role in the governmental process, usually through the selection of key public officials Constitutional government system of rule in which formal and effective limits are placed on the powers of the government Authoritarian government government recognizes no formal limits but may be restrained by the power of other social institution o Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa Totalitarian gov recognizes no formal limits on its power and seeks to absorb or eliminate other social institutions that might challenge it o Nazi Germany, Pre WWII Japan/Italy Foundations of Government The Means of Coercion Gov must have the power to get people to obey its laws and punish them if they don’t It takes many forms o Conscription compulsory military service, usually for a prescribed period or for the duration of a war (draft) o Arrest/Prison/jail inmates/executions o Jury duty, legal summons, attending school, filing official reports The Means of Collecting Revenue Taxation has grown steadily over the years Grand total for 2005 was more than $2.3 trillion (~$7,500 from each person) One of the biggest issues in US politics is the distribution of tax burdens vs the distribution of program benefits o Everyone wants more benefits and less burdens Why is Government Necessary?
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To maintain order o Gov power can be a threat to freedom, yet we need it to maintain order so that we can enjoy that freedom and not have anarchy
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This note was uploaded on 01/29/2009 for the course GOVT 111 taught by Professor Lowi during the Fall '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Chapter 1 - Chapter 1: Five Principles of Politics American...

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