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GVPT 170 Lecture 1 Notes

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by: Ellie

GVPT 170 Lecture 1 Notes gvpt170

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Notes from 27th of Jan
American Government
Dr. Kris Miler
Class Notes
American Government




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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ellie on Sunday February 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to gvpt170 at University of Maryland taught by Dr. Kris Miler in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 222 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at University of Maryland.

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What an unbelievable resource! I probably needed course on how to decipher my own handwriting, but not anymore...

-Junior McGlynn


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Date Created: 02/07/16
The Purposes of Government 1. Maintain Order  As Thomas Hobbes described, in “the state of nature” humans tend to create chaos. To avoid anarchy law is necessary. Ant a “government” is necessary to keep people in track, in order.  Founding father and the fourth president of the United States James Madison once said “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  Self-interest is the primary driver for men, we all aim the top place possible thus a government should be construct to avoid obvious conflicts of self-interests. Government should create an environment and a society that everybody in that society would like to live in that environment.  Furthermore, tendency will most likely to rise when forming factions with like-minded people (This concept will be explained in the future under “Interest Groups”). Government exists to eliminate the conflicts of the interest groups.  Also, governments exist to avoid tranny of the majority. (Especially in the American system) 2. Provide for the General Welfare  Governments exist to consider and ensure public goods. Public goods are services that are benefited by everyone, public goods are available to everyone equally. (i.e Clean air, National Defense).  When it comes to funding public goods, people have different ideas on the money’s use. Not everybody necessarily wants to pay for something that is not a private belonging but a good for general. So one of the government’s purposes is to step in and coordinate people so that they can provide what’s the best for everyone (i.e Protect everyone within the nation without elimination). p.s “Free rider” problem is unavoidable at this point. What is Politics? 1. The process that determines what government does. 2. Who gets what when and how 3. Key: Politics rise because of conflicts over resources and also values/principles Three features of politics: 1) Conflict 2) Process 3) Prevalent (Politics are everywhere, policies and their timing effect lives of millions) Sources of conflicts in the U.S politics: 1.Economic interests  Role of government vs. individual economic liberties’ boundaries  Redistribution & equality 2.Culture I.e Western political culture is different than eastern political culture when it comes to general land usage 3.Identity  Race,ethnicity,gender,sexual orientation  Notion of “melting pot” vs notion of “salad bowl” (Is the U.S turning different individuals to one specific type of citizens or as Americans from all over the globe can each individual’s identity can be recognizable in a society) Conflict comes with the priorities of the different individual’s own identities. 4.Ideology Election season is the greatest example. Questions where do you (or the candidates) stand in the partisanship spectrum (i.e how conservative are you as a republican or if you are independent which party would you tend to vote) Importance of Rules in Resolving Political Conflicts  The U.S political system is based on rules  Rules are NOT impartial  Rules affect the outcomes!!! ( AL GORE VS BUSH, electoral rules determined the future of the country )  Establishing the rules often involves conflict Characteristics of American Democracy  America is a Representative Democracy (we elect somebody to be there for us and represent and make the laws in the inner circle)  America is a Constitutional Democracy


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