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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 1 Making Sense of Government and Politics What is government?- Government- the institutions and procedures through which a land and its people are ruled. Forms of Government- Autocracy- a form of government in which a single individual rules.- Oligarchy- a form of government in which a small group of landowners, military officers, or wealthy merchants controls most of the governing decisions. - Democracy- a system of rule that permits citizens to play a significant part in the governmental process, usually through the selection of key public officials. - Constitutional government- a system of rule in which formal and effective limits are placed on the powers of the government.- Authoritarian government- a system of government in which the government recognizes no formal limits but may nevertheless be restrained by the power of other social institutions.- T otalitarian government- a system of rule in which the government recognizes no formal limits on its power and seeks to absorb or eliminate other social institutions that might challenge it. Foundations of government: The means of Coercion- Government must have the power to get people to obey its laws and punish them if they do not. Coercion takes in many forms, and each year millions of Americans are subject to one form of government coercion or another. Our aspect of coercion is conscription , whereby a government requires certain involuntary services of its citizens. The best-known example of conscription is military conscription, which is called the draft. Americans can, by law, be compelled to serve on juries, appear before legal tribunals when summoned, file a great variety to official reports, including income-tax returns, and attend school or send their children to school. Why is Government Necessary?- To maintain order, to protect property, and to provide public goods. - Free riding- enjoying the benefits of some good or action while letting others bear the costs- Public good- a good that (1) may be enjoyed by anyone if it is provided and (2) may not be denied to anyone once it has been provided. Five Principles of Politics - Politics- the conflicts and struggles over the leadership, structure, and policies of government. - The goal of politics, as we define it, is to have share or a say in the composition of the governments leadership, how the government is organized, or what its policies are going to be. - Politics possesses an underlying logic that can be understood in terms of 5 simple principles: All political behavior has a purpose All politics is collective action Institutions routinely solve collective-action problems Political outcomes are the products of individual preferences and institutional procedures History matters The rationality principle: All political behavior has a purpose- One compelling reason why governments do what they do is that all people have goals and work to achieve those goals through their political behavior. goals and work to achieve those goals through their political behavior....
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- Spring '06
- The Ambassadors