Chapter 1 outline - Chapter 1: The Study of American...

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Chapter 1: The Study of American Government I. Introduction a. What is politics? i. Process by which decisions are made within any type of community ii. The art of running a government – of trying to influence the government to adopt some specific policy position b. Study of government i. Government is the institution through which a nation maintains social order, provides public services, and enforces its decisions on the people. ii. Involves study of a government decision or lack thereof iii. Inspects affects of governmental policies on various groups c. Politics and Political Differences i. Evolves from the questions “Who Governs?” and “To what ends?” 1. Whoever rules instills their personalities, beliefs, and virtues and will affect what they do for the public 2. Tells us how government will affect our lives a. Slightly affects personal and short term concerns like work, play, or family b. Significant influence larger and longer terms i. Rise in tax rates from the 1930s to present II. What is Political Power? a. Power is the ability of one person to get others to act in accordance with the intentions of the first person. i. Use of power indirectly affects many aspects of society ii. Formally available to certain authorities or those who have the right to use power 1. Includes presidents, judges, or senators b. Types of Political Power i. Direct (Formal Authority) 1. Political authority conferred by the law or constitution a. President tells the air force to order soldiers into combat 2. Indirect a. Speechwriters of the president evoke their views on policies with the language they use c. Legitimate Use of Political Power i. Those who hold formal authority struggle to find the limits of the powers conferred 1. Civil war was a struggle over the legitimacy of the Union 2. New deal contended the legitimacy of the federal government to interfere in the economy ii. No political power is legitimate if it is not in some sense democratic 1. Established from the belief that democratic government is only the only proper kind III. Government basics a. Types of Governments i. Unitary States (Ex. United Kingdom)
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1. A state or country that is governed constitutionally as one single unit with one constitutionally created legislature 2. Political power may be transferred to lower levels, but central government can recall the power ii. Federalism (Ex. United States) 1. Group of member are bound together with a governing representative 2. power to govern is shared between the national & state
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2009 for the course POLITICAL 220 taught by Professor Schwak during the Spring '08 term at Northwestern.

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Chapter 1 outline - Chapter 1: The Study of American...

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