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GOV CH 1-1 WHAT IS GOVERNMENT

 
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 1. 

Examine the graphic above. What do you expect to learn from this section? Answer this question in the space provided on the right.
Review the vocabulary that you will encounter in this section. Look for these terms as you work through the section. You will be tested on these terms.
 
 
What Is Government?
Government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. Government is made up of those people who exercise its powers, all those who have authority and control over people.

The public policies of a government are, in short, all of those things a government decides to do. Public policies cover matters ranging from taxation, defense, education, crime, and health care to transportation, the environment, civil rights, and working conditions. The list of public policy issues is nearly endless.

Governments must have power in order to make and carry out public policies. Power is the ability to command or prevent action, the ability to achieve a desired end.

Every government has and exercises three basic kinds of power: (1) legislative power—the power to make law and to frame public policies; (2) executive power—the power to execute, enforce, and administer law; and (3) judicial power—the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within the society. These powers of government are often outlined in a country’s constitution. A constitution is the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government.

The ultimate responsibility for the exercise of these powers may be held by a single person or by a small group, as in a dictatorship. In this form of government, those who rule cannot be held responsible to the will of the people. When the responsibility for the exercise of these powers rests with a majority of the people, that form of government is known as a democracy. In a democracy, supreme authority rests with the people.

Government is among the oldest of all human inventions. Its origins are lost in the mists of time. But, clearly, government first appeared when human beings realized that they could not survive without some way to regulate both their own and their neighbors’ behavior.
The earliest known evidences of government date from ancient Egypt. More than 2,300 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle observed that “man is by nature a political animal.”1 As he wrote those words, Aristotle was only recording a fact that, even then, had been obvious for thousands of years.

What did Aristotle mean by “political”? That is to say, what is “politics”? Although people often equate the two, politics and government are very different things. Politics is a process, while government is an institution.
More specifically, politics is the process by which a society decides how power and resources will be distributed within that society. Politics enables a society to decide who will reap the benefits, and who will pay the costs, of its public policies.
The word politics is sometimes used in a way that suggests that it is somehow immoral or something to be avoided. But, again, politics is a process, the means by which government is conducted. It is neither “good” nor “bad,” but it is necessary. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive of government without politics
 

 2. 

What institution society use to make and enforces its public policies.
a.
government
c.
the environment
b.
communism
d.
transportation
 

 3. 

What does the government need in order to carry out its public policies?
a.
sympathy
c.
intelligence
b.
order
d.
power
 

 4. 

What is the difference between a dictatorship and a democracy
a.
In dictatorships and democracies the people are supreme
c.
Democracies have to pay attention to the people, dictatorships do not
b.
Democracies do not have to pay attention to the people
d.
Dictatorships have to carry out the will of the people
 

 5. 

From where did the earliest known government come?
a.
Greece
c.
Egypt
b.
Rome
d.
Iraq
 

 6. 

Which statement is true?
a.
Politics and government are the same
c.
Politics is the way that society uses to decide who will have the power and how resources will be distributed.
b.
Government decides how power and resources will be distributed in society
d.
All government and politics are corrupt.
 

 7. 

Which statementis true?
a.
politics is the process by which a society decides how power and resources will be distributed within that society
c.
Government and politics are really the same thing
b.
government is the process by which a society decides how power and resources will be distributed within that society
d.
politics is always a bad thing because it always corrupts government
 
 
The State
Over the course of human history, the state has emerged as the dominant political unit in the world. The state can be defined as a body of people, living in a defined territory, organized politically (that is, with a government), and with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority.
There are more than 190 states in the world today. They vary greatly in size, military power, natural resources, and economic importance. Still, each of them possesses all four characteristics of a state: population, territory, sovereignty, and government.
Note that the state is a legal entity. In popular usage, a state is often called a “nation” or a “country.” In a strict sense, however, the word nation is an ethnic term, referring to races or other large groups of people. The word country is a geographic term, referring to a particular place, region, or area of land.
Patriotism in a Time of Crisis Americans showed their pride in their country and support for their government in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. H-SS 12.2.4
Population
Clearly, a state must have people—a population. The size of that population, however, has nothing directly to do with the existence of a state. One of the world’s smallest states, in population terms, is San Marino. Bounded on all sides by Italy, it has only some 27,000 people. The People’s Republic of China is the world’s most populous state with more than 1.3 billion people—just about one fifth of the world’s population. The nearly 300 million who live in the United States make it the world’s third most populous, after China and India.
The people who make up a state may or may not be homogeneous. The adjective homogeneous describes members of a group who share customs, a common language, and ethnic background. Today, the population of the United States includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Still, most Americans think of themselves as exactly that: Americans.
Territory
Just as a state cannot exist without people, so it must have land—territory, with known and recognized boundaries. The states in today’s world vary as widely in terms of territory as they do in population. Here, too, San Marino ranks among the world’s smallest states. It covers less than 24 square miles—smaller than thousands of cities and towns in the United States.2
Russia, the world’s largest state, stretches across some 6.6 million square miles. The total area of the United States is 3,787,425 square miles.
Sovereignty
Every state is sovereign—it has supreme and absolute power within its own territory and can decide its own foreign and domestic policies. It is neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority.
Thus, as a sovereign state, the United States can determine its form of government. Like any other state in the world, it can frame its economic system and shape its own foreign policies. Sovereignty is the one characteristic that distinguishes the state from all other, lesser political units.
The States within the United States are not sovereign and so are not states in the international, legal sense. Each State is subordinate to the Constitution of the United States.3
Government
Every state is politically organized. That is, every state has a government. Recall, a government is the institution through which society makes and enforces its public policies. A government is the agency through which the state exerts its will and works to accomplish its goals. Government includes the machinery and the personnel by which the state is ruled.
Government is necessary to avoid what the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) called “the war of every man against every man.” Without government, said Hobbes, there would be “continual fear and danger of violent death and life [would be] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The world has seen a number of examples over recent years of what happens when a government disappears: In Lebanon, Bosnia, Somalia, and many other places, life became “nasty, brutish, and short.”
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 8. 

Which statement is not true of all states?
a.
They can make and enforce law without permission from any other authority
c.
They are democratic
b.
They are organized politically into a government
d.
They are a body of people, living in a defined territory
 

 9. 

Which statement is not true about the population of a state?
a.
There is no maximum or minimum on the number of people in a state
c.
The people who make up a state may or may not be homogeneous
b.
The Republic of China has the greatest number of people
d.
All people in a state must have the same customs and language
 

 10. 

A state must have well defined borders
a.
true
c.
neither true nor false
b.
false
 

 11. 

Which statement is not true?
a.
The United States is under the United Nations and must follow its laws
c.
The United States does not have to answer to any other authority in the world
b.
The United States can decide what government it wants to have
d.
The United States can make its own foreign policy and economic policy
 

 12. 

What did Thomas Hobbes say about government?
a.
People do not really need a government.
c.
The purpose of government is to protect people from each other
b.
The purpose of governemnt is to provided social services for people
d.
The purpose of goernment is to help spread Christian doctrine
 

 13. 

What are the four things that every government must have?
a.
population, territory, democracy, sovereignty
c.
a homogenious people, territory, sovereignty, government
b.
Sovereignty, population, government and territory
d.
none of these answers are correct
 
 
Major Political Ideas
For centuries, historians, philosophers, and others have pondered the question of the origin of the state. What set of circumstances first brought it into being?
Over time, many different answers have been offered, but history provides no conclusive evidence to support any of them. However, four theories have emerged as the most widely accepted explanations for the origin of the state.
The Force Theory Many scholars have long believed that the state was born of force. They hold that one person or a small group claimed control over an area and forced all within it to submit to that person’s or group’s rule. When that rule was established, all the basic elements of the state—population, territory, sovereignty, and government—were present.
The Evolutionary Theory Others claim that the state developed naturally out of the early family. They hold that the primitive family, of which one person was the head and thus the “government,” was the first stage in political development. Over countless years the original family became a network of related families, a clan. In time the clan became a tribe. When the tribe first turned to agriculture and gave up its nomadic ways, tying itself to the land, the state was born.
The Divine Right Theory The theory of divine right was widely accepted in much of the Western world from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. It held that God created the state and that God had given those of royal birth a “divine right” to rule. The people were bound to obey their ruler as they would God; opposition to “the divine right of kings” was both treason and mortal sin.
During the seventeenth century, philosophers began to question this theory. Much of the thought upon which present-day democracies rest began as a challenge to the theory of divine right.
Different explanations have been offered for the origin of the state. Pharaoh Akhenaten of Egypt (third picture, above) believed that power flowed from Aten, the god of the sun disk. Critical Thinking Can more than one of these theories accurately explain the origin of the state? Explain why or why not. H-SS 12.1.1
The notion of divine right was not unique to European history. The rulers of many ancient civilizations, including the Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec, and Mayan civilizations, were held to be gods or to have been chosen by the gods. The Japanese emperor, the mikado, governed by divine right until 1945.
The Social Contract Theory In terms of the American political system, the most significant of the theories of the origin of the state is that of the “social contract.” Philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, James Harrington (1611–1677), and John Locke (1632–1704) in England and Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) in France developed this theory in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Hobbes wrote that in earliest history humans lived in unbridled freedom, in a “state of nature,” in which no government existed and no person was subject to any superior power. That which people could take by force belonged to them. However, all people were similarly free in this state of nature. No authority existed to protect one person from the aggressive actions of another. Thus, individuals were only as safe as their own physical strength and intelligence could make them.
Human beings overcame their unpleasant condition, says the social contract theory, by agreeing with one another to create a state. By contract, people within a given area agreed to give up to the state as much power as was needed to promote the safety and well-being of all. In the contract (that is, through a constitution), the members of the state created a government to exercise the powers they had voluntarily given to the state.
In short, the social contract theory argues that the state arose out of a voluntary act of free people. It holds that the state exists only to serve the will of the people, that they are the sole source of political power, and that they are free to give or to withhold that power as they choose. The theory may seem far-fetched today. The great concepts that this theory promoted, however—popular sovereignty, limited government, and individual rights—were immensely important to the shaping of the American governmental system.
The Declaration of Independence (see Chapter 2, Section 2) justified its revolution through the social contract theory, arguing that King George III and his ministers had violated the contract. Thomas Jefferson called the document “pure Locke.”
 

 14. 

Which statement is not true?
a.
The Force Theory says that states are created by a group of people forcing their will on others to create a state
d.
All of these statements are true
b.
The Evolutionary Theory says that states have evolved over time out of ancient civilizations
e.
Only some of these statements are true
c.
The Divine Right Theroy says that god created the state and established the king as its ruler
 

 15. 

Which statement is true about the Social Contract Theory of Government?
a.
In a state of nature people were free and no one was aggressive
c.
In a state of nature everone was happy and prosperous
b.
Before governments, in a state of nature, people had very little protection from other people.
d.
Governments are not necessary
 

 16. 

Which statement is true about the Social Contract Theory of government?
a.
People agree with the divine right of kings
c.
Kings are needed to peotect people from each other
b.
People really do not have a free will and cannot decide how much power a government should have
d.
People decide to give the government enough power to protect them from the aggression of other people
 

 17. 

In the United States what do we call the contract that the members of the state use to create a government to exercise the powers they had voluntarily given to the state
a.
The Divine Right of Kings
c.
The Declaration of Independence
b.
The Constitution of the United States
d.
The Divine Right of Govrnment
 

 18. 

Which idea is NOT part of the Social Contract theory 
a.
popular sovereignty (the people rule)
c.
individual rights (the individual is superior to the state)
b.
limited government (the government should not be too big)
d.
the military is superior to the civilian so it can protect people from each other
 

 19. 

How did the Declaration of Independence justify the American Revolution?
a.
it said that England never did have a social contract with America
c.
it said nothing about the Social Contract theory
b.
it said that England had violated its social contract with America
d.
it said that England violated the American Constitution
 
 
The Purpose of Government
What does government do? You can find a very meaningful answer to that question in the Constitution of the United States. The American system of government was created to serve the purposes set out there.
From The Constitution
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
—Preamble to the Constitution
Form a More Perfect Union
The United States, which had just won its independence from Great Britain, faced an altogether uncertain future in the postwar 1780s. In 1781, the Articles of Confederation, the nation’s first constitution, created “a firm league of friendship” among the 13 States. That league soon proved to be neither very firm nor very friendly. The government created by the Articles was powerless to overcome the intense rivalries and jealousies among the States that marked the time.
The Constitution of today was written in 1787. The original States adopted it in order to link them, and the American people, more closely together. That Constitution was built in the belief that in union there is strength.
Establish Justice
To provide justice, said Thomas Jefferson, is “the most sacred of the duties of government.” No purpose, no goal of public policy, can be of greater importance in a democracy.
But what, precisely, is justice? The term is difficult to define, for justice is a concept—an idea, an invention of the human mind. Like other concepts such as truth, liberty, and fairness, justice means what people make it mean.
As the concept of justice has developed over time in American thought and practice, it has come to mean this: The law, in both its content and its administration, must be reasonable, fair, and impartial. Those standards of justice have not always been met in this country. We have not attained our professed goal of “equal justice for all.” However, this, too, must be said: The history of this country can be told largely in terms of our continuing attempts to reach that goal.
Insure Domestic Tranquility
Order is essential to the well-being of any society, and keeping the peace at home has always been a prime function of government. Most people can only imagine what it would be like to live in a state of anarchy—without government, law, or order. In fact, people do live that way in some parts of the world today. For years now, Somalia, which is located on the eastern tip of Africa, has not had a functioning government; rival warlords control different parts of the country.
In The Federalist No. 51, James Madison observed: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Madison, who was perhaps the most thoughtful of the Framers of the Constitution, knew that most human beings fall far short of this standard.
Provide for the Common Defense
Defending the nation against foreign enemies has always been one of government’s major responsibilities. You can see its importance in the fact that defense is mentioned far more often in the Constitution than any of the other functions of the government. The nation’s defense and its foreign policies are but two sides of the same coin: the security of the United States.
The United States has become the world’s most powerful nation, but the world remains a dangerous place. The United States must maintain its vigilance and its armed strength. Just a glance at today’s newspaper or at one of this evening’s television news programs will furnish abundant proof of that fact.
Promote the General Welfare
Few people realize the extent to which government acts as the servant of its citizens, yet you can see examples everywhere. Public schools are one illustration of government’s work to promote the general welfare. So, too, are government’s efforts to protect the quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat. The list of tasks government performs for your benefit goes on and on.
Some governmental functions that are common in other countries—operating steel mills, airlines, and coal mines, for example—are not carried out by government in this country. In general, the services that government provides in the United States are those that benefit all or most people. These are the services that are not very likely to be provided by the voluntary acts of private individuals or groups.
Secure the Blessings of Liberty
This nation was founded by those who loved liberty and prized it above all earthly possessions. They believed with Thomas Jefferson that “the God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time.” They subscribed to Benjamin Franklin’s maxim: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The American dedication to freedom for the individual recognizes that liberty cannot be absolute. It is, instead, a relative matter. No one can be free to do whatever he or she pleases, for that behavior would interfere with the freedoms of others. As Clarence Darrow, the great defense lawyer, once said: “You can only be free if I am free.”
Both the Federal Constitution and the State constitutions set out many guarantees of rights and liberties for the individual in this country. That does not mean that those guarantees are so firmly established that they exist forever, however. To preserve and protect them, each generation must learn and understand them anew, and be willing to stand up for them when necessary.
For many people, the inspiration to protect our rights and liberties arises from deep feelings of patriotism. Patriotism is the love of one’s country; the passion which aims to serve one’s country, either in defending it from invasion, or by protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions in vigor and purity. Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man or woman in the character of a citizen. As a citizen, you, too, must agree with Jefferson: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”
 

 20. 

What does, “To Form a more perfect union,” mean?
a.
the constitution was written to make America strong by uniting the colonies under one government
c.
the American union was perfect because of the divine right of kings
b.
to make the labor movement more strong in the United States
d.
the constitution was written to allow every state to be independent of each other in all things
 

 21. 

What does “Establish Justice” mean in American political thought?
a.
The laws are made to protect the rich from the poor
c.
The Constitution is not a set of laws an has nothing to do with justice
b.
People can establish their own laws and do not need to pay attention to the government
d.
The law, in both its content and its administration, must be reasonable, fair, and impartial.
 

 22. 

What does “Insure Domestic Tranquility,” mean?
a.
a government is needed to keep peace inside the borders of the United States
c.
In Africa all nations have domestic tranquility because it is insured to them
b.
some laws are needed to keep peace between husbands and wives
d.
none of these statements are true
 

 23. 

What does “Provide for the common defense,” mean?
a.
A government is needed so the United States can protect its citizens from other countries in the world.
c.
The United States does not need to protect itself from other countries in the world
b.
Only common people need to be defended
d.
The United Nations should provide for the defense fo the United States
 

 24. 

What does “Promote the general welfare mean?”
a.
All people have a right to welfare checks
c.
In the U.S. the government owns all major industry for the good of the people
b.
In the U.S. only the poor are protected
d.
in the U.S. the government makes laws that protect all the people, such as environmental laws.
 

 25. 

Who said “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
a.
Thomas Jefferson
c.
George Washington
b.
Benjamin Franklin
d.
Thomas Hobbs
 

 26. 

According to Thomas Jefferson, Where do the American people get their freedom from?
a.
it was given to them by King George III
c.
The United States government
b.
God
d.
The United Nations
 

 27. 

The American dedication to freedom for the individual recognizes that liberty cannot be absolute. What does this mean?
a.
Every person can do whatever they want to do at all times
c.
You cannot use your freedom to take away the freedom of other Americans
b.
There is no real freedom in America
d.
Animal have the same rights as U.S. citizens
 

 28. 

Which statement is true?
a.
Americans are too patriotic
c.
Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man or woman in the character of a citizen.
b.
Eternal vigilence is the price of prosperity
d.
Patriotism is an evil thing that will destroy a country. The only safe society is a non-patriotic society
 
 
a.
legislative
c.
judicial
b.
executive
d.
constitution
 

 29. 

the power to enforce the law
 

 30. 

the power to interprit the law
 

 31. 

the power to make the laws
 

 32. 

the basic laws of the country
 
 
a.
Executive power
f.
Constitution
b.
Dictatorship
g.
Democracy
c.
Legislative power
h.
Government
d.
Sovereign
i.
Judicial power
e.
Public policy
j.
State
 

 33. 

A form of government in which the supreme authority rests with the people.
 

 34. 

The power to make a law and to frame public policies.
 

 35. 

A body of people living in a defined territory who have a government with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority.
 

 36. 

The power to execute, enforce, and administer law.
 

 37. 

The institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies.
 

 38. 

A form of government in which the leader has absolute power and authority.
 

 39. 

The body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government.
 

 40. 

All of the many goals that a government pursues in all of the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved
 

 41. 

The power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes within the society.
 

 42. 

Having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority.
 



 
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