American Politics Reading Notes for Test ! - CHAPTER 1 MAKING SENSE OF GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS Making Sense of Government and Politics Finding order in

American Politics Reading Notes for Test ! - CHAPTER 1...

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CHAPTER 1: MAKING SENSE OF GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS Making Sense of Government and Politics: “Finding order in the apparent chaos of politics” is what political scientists do Forms of Government: Government is defined as the formal political arrangements by which a land at its people are ruled 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 control 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--a constitution-- specifying formal and effective limits on the powers of the government Scope: Power is prescribed by a constitution Limits: Society can challenge government when it oversteps constitutional boundaries Examples: USA, France, Japan Authoritarian Government: A system of rule in which the government recognizes no formal limits but may nevertheless be restrained by the power of other social institutions Scope: Government answers only to a small number of powerful groups Limits: Government recognizes few obligations to limit actions, whether or not such obligations exist Examples: Russia today Totalitarian 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 Scope: Government encompasses all important social institutions Limits: Rivals for power are not tolerated Examples: North Korea Foundations of Government: Governments usually include two basic components: a means of coercion (army, police force) and a means of collecting revenue. The Means of Coercion: In order for the government to work, government must have a means of coercion to get people to obey laws and punish them if they don’t Conscription: involuntary services of citizens (ie, the draft, juries) The Means of Collecting Revenue: Taxation America taxes individual income taxes, social insurance taxes, corporate income tax, estate and gift taxes, custom and duties
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Why is Government Necessary?
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