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POLS 1101 American Government Week 1 Notes

by: bmccullough97

POLS 1101 American Government Week 1 Notes Pols 1101

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About this Document

These notes cover material from all of chapter 1.
American Governement
Class Notes
pols, 1101, Government, Territoriality, federalism, Popular sovereignty, Separation of powers, Legitimate use of force, Hearts and Minds, Power of the Purse, Power of the Sword, public goods, Free-riding, Collective Action Problems




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by bmccullough97 on Friday August 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Pols 1101 at Georgia State University taught by Sinclair in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 40 views.


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Date Created: 08/26/16
Week 1: American Government 1 C HAPTER 1 S ECTIONS 1-7  Government is: a A set of institutions that endures over time Even though the people who occupy seats as government officials may come and go, the institutions they’re a part of endure over time. These institutions include: i Legislature- Congress (Senate and House of Representatives) ii Executive Branch- President and Vice President and hundreds of bureaucratic agencies NOTE: Bureaucratic agencies are organizational units within the executive branch of government responsible for implementing specific public policies and/or providing public services. iii Judicial Branch- courts  Territoriality is the ability for a government to govern over its own territory. For example, the state of Georgia has authority over people who reside, travel, or do business in Georgia.  Federalism: means that authority is partly divided and partially shared between the federal government and the governments of all 50 states. Most other countries have a central government that is their single highest authority.  Authority to make and enforce laws. The government has this authority because their legitimacy comes from the constitution which was written by the people. Popular sovereignty is when the people give their consent to be governed as stated in the constitution. Laws can require actions, prohibit actions, or permit actions.  Separation of Powers: unique to American government Refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit one branch from exercising the core functions of another. The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances.  Monopoly on the Legitimate Use of Force a Under certain conditions, governments have legitimate authority to physically restrain people, imprison them, take away their homes and other possessions, and even kill them. The ability of the government to take away “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. b The right of national governments to defend themselves from foreign military invasion is known as international law.  Other Ways Governments Exert Power Over People To get people to do things they wouldn’t normally do, governments rely on two methods other than force. 1 Affecting Hearts and Minds Governments try to appeal to the hearts and minds of people so that they’re persuaded or genuinely feel a desire or duty to do things they wouldn’t do. (ex. Public education, promoting patriotic holidays and rituals such as the Fourth of July and the Pledge of Allegiance, and showing media campaigns like the National Young Anti-Drug media campaign). 2 Power of the Purse as Positive/Negative Incentive Threatening punishment to deter disobedience is an example of using “negative” incentives. It seeks to influence behavior by threatening to impose a burden if a particular action is or isn’t taken. Positive incentives involve seeking to influence behavior by promising to provide a benefit if a particular action is or isn’t taken. Usually the positive incentive is money.  The separation of powers also involves a separation of the “power of the purse” from the “power of the sword”. Power of the sword refers to the government’s ability to influence behavior by using or threatening to use physical force. Legislature controls “power of the purse” because only they can pass laws that impose taxes or authorize spending, and the executive branch controls the “power of the sword”.  Generic Purpose of Government Governments provide public goods. Public goods are goods that, once provided, no one in the group can be excluded from enjoying. The problem with public goods is that because no one can demand payment for enjoying them, it becomes very hard to get people to voluntarily contribute to their up-keep. Free-riding is when someone enjoys the benefits of a public good without bearing the burden of providing it. Free-riders diminish the value of public goods, so governments step in to stop “collective action problems”. “Collective action problems” are issues that people can’t do themselves, either because they don’t want to or because they lack the means to. Examples of public goods are parks, clean air, public fireworks, and defense.


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