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gvpt170 MTreview - 1 Discuss some of the basic values and...

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1. Discuss some of the basic values and assumptions of democratic government. Democracy- a system of government that gives power to the people whether directly or through elected representatives Personal Liberty- -constitution written to ensure life and liberty -freedom from government infringements on religion, speech, etc. -14 th amendment freedom to work, go to school w/o discrimination Equality- -all citizens are equal in political process -“one person, one vote” Popular Consent and Majority Rule -Popular consent: The idea that the government must draw their powers from the consent of the governed. -Derived from John Locke -Central to the Declaration of Independence -Voting is essential premise to ensure system -Majority Rule: majority of citizens select officials and determine policies -American system stresses need to protect minority rights civil rights movement Popular Sovereignty -The notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people - Natural Law: Society should be governed by the certain ethical principles that are part of nature and can be understood by reason Civil Society -Society created when citizens are allowed to organize and express their views publicly as they engage in an open debate about public policy Individualism -All individuals are deemed rational and fair -unalienable rights -the primary function of government is to enable the individual to achieve his or her highest level of development Religious Faith -How Americans perceive political and policy issues -Most Americans have strong religious beliefs Christianity, Republican Party -Abortion, gays, stem cells 2. Analyze the tension between majority rule and individual rights. How did the framers of the constitution attempt to deal with this problem? Would it be a good idea today to broaden the scope of participation? A citizen’s willingness to vote represents is or her consent to be governed and is thus an essential premise of democracy. Growing numbers of nonvoters can threaten the operation and legitimacy of a truly democratic system. Majority rule which usually entails 50% of the popular vote plus one is a core political value. The American system
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however stresses preservation of minority rights. Not until after the civil war did minority rights benefit African Americans. In the 1960’s uproar occurred known as the civil rights movement due to the failure to preserve these rights. Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 were efficient governmental decisions that finally impacted minority rights in America. Popular sovereignty states that the power of ultimate authority (i.e. the government) rests in the hands of the people yet this unfairly restricts the minority from having their voice heard.
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