Poli Sci Test 1

Poli Sci Test 1 - 2051 American Government Introduction -...

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2051 American Government Introduction - Chapter 1 I. What is Government and why do we have it? - Government - a formally established way of making and carrying out political decisions. - Politics - the competition to shape government's impact on society's problems and goals. II. Why consent to be governed? Why do we allow ourselves into this arrangement? a. Because government can do things for us. III. What would life be like without government? a. Life without government would be worse. Without government, we would have to exist in what some have called the “state of nature.” - Social contract theory - a philosophical device used by Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke, Rousseau and Harrington, to suggest that governments are only legitimate if they are created by a voluntary compact among the people – therefore this begins with the people. - Can guide us here, to some extent. It's a normative, rather than empirical theory. - Normative - the way things ought to be - Empirical - the way things actually are - What purposes has government traditionally served? What does government do? - It is not a written contract, but rather, a general agreement between the people and their government. - Each accepts certain obligations. The people agree to give up some of their liberty, and in exchange, the government guarantees to protect what were called “natural rights.” - What are those? o Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
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o Political Liberties – the principle that citizens in a democracy are protected from government interference in the exercise of a basic range of freedoms (natural rights): speech, association, conscience, religion, press, assembly…Things covered the First Amendment– the things that are essential to the formation and expression of majority opinion and its translation into public policies. o If it were not for these freedoms popular sovereignty (the basic principle of democracy that says people always rule) could not exist. - The contract derives from the assumption that government is based on the consent of the governed. If it’s broken, change or fix it. IV. Functions of Government: a. Protecting life b. Protecting rights and liberties c. Providing public goods d. Promoting equality - But these things may at times conflict. Citizens disagree about which functions are most important and which functions should be most vigorously enforced. - Disagreements usually arise from differences in individual priorities, and the way these priorities are organized is called a Political ideology - a coherent set of beliefs about how policies affect society and which policies are desirable. In the U.S., we mainly think of two: liberals and conservatives - Liberals - Conservatives - Populists - Libertarians - How do we tell them apart?
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Economic Issues Freedom Control Control Social Freedom Issues - Ex: In favor of regulating big business and outlawing premarital sex Populist - Ex: Tough laws on drugs; in business, letting the market decide Conservative
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Poli Sci Test 1 - 2051 American Government Introduction -...

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