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
Why is Government Necessary?
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