Gov't test 1 study guide

Gov't test 1 study guide - CHAPTER 1 OUTLINE Although we do...

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Although we do provide some demographic projections at the end of the chapter, the basic point of Chapter 1 is to introduce a series of concepts that are basic to understanding American government and politics, and indeed, political science in general. I. Politics and Government Key terms to define: politics, institution, government . Politics is the struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges, or as Laswell puts it, “who gets what when and how.” An institution is an ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society. Government is the institution in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it has the ultimate authority within society. II. Why Is Government Necessary? A. The Need for Security. Key concept: order , that is, a state of peace and security. Maintaining order by protecting members of society from violence and criminal activity is the oldest purpose of government. B. Limiting Government Power. Key concept: liberty , or the greatest freedom of individuals that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in the society. C. Authority and Legitimacy. Two more key concepts: authority is the right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions and compel obedience; legitimacy is popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority. III. Democracy and Other Forms of Government A. Types of Government. More concepts: 1. Totalitarian Regime —a form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation. 2. Authoritarianism —A type of regime in which only the government itself is fully controlled by the ruler. Social and economic institutions exist that are not under the government’s control. 3. Aristocracy —Rule by the “best”; in reality, rule by an upper class. 4. Democracy —A system of government in which political authority is vested in the people. Derived from the Greek words demos (“the people”) and kratos (“authority”). B. Direct Democracy as a Model—A system of government in which political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; probably attained most easily in small political communities. 1. Direct Democracy Today. Key concepts are the initiative , a procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment; the referendum , an electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the legislature to the voters for approval or disapproval; and the recall , a procedure allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before his or her term has expired. 1
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Gov't test 1 study guide - CHAPTER 1 OUTLINE Although we do...

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