Foundations of American Government Principles of Government Government and the State 1. What is Government Government is the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies. 2. What are public policies? Public policies are those areas in which government has decided to take an active role. 3. Examples of Public Policy Taxation, defense, education, crime, health care, transportation, disaster relief, public health and the environment, plus much more. 4. Three Basic Powers of Governments Legislative Power - to make laws and form public policies Executive Power – to execute, enforce and administer laws Judicial Power – to interpret laws, determine legal meanings and to settle disputes. 5. Constitution A constitution is the fundamental law of a government that establishes the principles, structures and processes of a government. 6. Democracy v. Dictatorship The difference is rooted in who has ultimate responsibility to exercise power. In a democracy the people decide. In a dictatorship one person or a small group make decisions. 7. Aristotle observed that “man is a political animal” 8. Difference between politics and government. Politics is the process of shaping government and governmental policies. Government is the institution through which society makes and enforces its public policy. 9. Characteristics of the State P o p u la tio n A s ta te m u s t h a ve p e o p le , th e n u m b e r o f w h ich d o e s n o t d ire c tly re la te to its e x is te n ce . S o v e re ig n ty E ve ry s ta te is s o v e re ig n . It h a s su p re m e a n d a b so lu te p o w e r w ith in its o w n te rrito ry a n d d e c id e s its o w n fo re ig n a n d d o m e s tic p o lic ie s . T e rrito ry A s ta te m u s t b e c o m p ris e d o f la n d — te rrito ry w ith kn o w n a n d re co g n ize d b o u n d a rie s . G o v e rn m e n t E ve ry s ta te h a s a g o v e rn m e n t — th a t is , it is p o litica lly o rg a n ize d . 10. What does it mean to be a sovereign state? A state has supreme authority over a population, territory, and government. 11. What are the four theories of the origin of a state? The Force Theory The force theory states that one person or a small group took control of an area and forced all within it to submit to that person’s or group’s rule. The Evolutionary Theory The evolutionary theory argues that the state evolved naturally out of the early family. 11. What are the four theories of the origin of a state? The Divine Right Theory The theory of divine right holds that God created the state and that God gives those of royal birth a “divine right” to rule. The Social Contract Theory The social contract theory argues that the state arose out of a voluntary act of free people who were willing to give up power for safety and the well-being of all 12. The Purpose of the United States Government The main purposes of government are described in the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States: 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 [sic], 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.