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POLS 1101 American Government Week 2 Notes

by: bmccullough97

POLS 1101 American Government Week 2 Notes Pols 1101

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These are a combination of notes from both lecture and the assigned readings.
American Governement
Class Notes
pols, 1101, american, Government, americangovernment, Chapter, chapter2, Chapter3, week2, AcceptedPurposes, Theocracy, RacialSupremacy, Communism, StateSocialism, market, capitalism, social, democracy, ConstitutionalGovernment, Demoratic, authoritarian, advantages, Politics, Liberals, Conservatives
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by bmccullough97 on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Pols 1101 at Georgia State University taught by Sinclair in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 37 views.


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Date Created: 09/06/16
American Government WEEK 2: CHAPTER 2 AND 3 American’s Beliefs About the Proper Role of Government  Ideology: refers to the beliefs about the proper role of government. Ideology is a range of ideals that are rooted in beliefs of how government should work when it comes to different policy areas (healthcare, economy, foreign policy, education)  Different views on the proper role of government usually emanate from deeper differences over core values and beliefs about human nature and society. Government Purposes Accepted by the Public  Americans agree that the primary purpose of government is to secure rights. This means that governments both respect and protect them. a. The American founders believed that are human beliefs all human beings are endowed by God with “natural rights”. Natural rights are said to exist by nature and are discoverable through reason, whereas legal rights are a part of written human-made laws. i. At a minimum, all human beings have a right to life (the right to not be killed), to liberty (the right to not be enslaved or physically restrained), and to pursue happiness without unjust interference by others.  Other legitimate purposes of government are to promote happiness and provide public goods.  So why would living under a government that can deprive us of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness be better than life without government? The government may legitimately use, or threaten to use, force to deprive us of these rights to stop or deter others who would otherwise take the rights of innocents. In other words, it’s a negative incentive to make people do right.  Americans are known for supporting “limited government”. Governments must be empowered to serve its legitimate purposes, including the protection of rights, but it must also be limited and controlled in its powers so that it doesn’t pose an unacceptable risk to those rights Purposes Rejected by the Public  Theocracy: a type of government with a primary purpose of enforcing and/or fulfilling the doctrines of a particular religion. We don’t believe that laws should be interpreted through religious text. a. The American approach to government and religion involves a dual understanding that government may not establish or promote a particular religion (ex. Like the way Saudi Arabia establishes and promotes Islam), but that it also must not interfere with the free exercise of religion unless doing so protect the rights and freedoms of others (ex. No human sacrifices -_-)  Racial Supremacy: we reject the claim that a legitimate purpose of government is to promote the supremacy of one racial group over another. Although American still has a LONG way to go when it comes to racial equality.  State Socialism: Most American’s reject the idea that a legitimate use of government is to take over ownership of all major parts of the economy and forcefully enact a social revolution that brings about perfect economic equality and the end of all class oppression. State socialism is also known as communism and Marxist-Leninist Socialism. Central planning doesn’t work because you run out of revenue and the economy will fail with 3-5 years. a. Communism completely opposes America’s belief in a limited government.  Market Capitalism is an economic system based on market exchanges and the private ownership of the means of production, and in which the private owners of the means of production purchase labor hours from workers in exchange for wages. Communism rejects all aspects of this.  Social democracies (ex. Canada, France) Have taken public goods and made them affordable or free. This relieves some financial stress on people. The American Way of Government  Constitutional Government a. It’s distinguished from other governments because IT itself is bound by law. The idea that citizens, including government officials, are bound by law is known as the “rule of law”. This helps the government maintain legitimacy. b. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It also limits government. c. Governments that are bound by fundamental laws are called constitutional governments. However, there are constitutional governments without a constitution. Britain derives legitimacy from the Magna Carta.  Democratic Government a. A form of government that is by the people in the sense that the people are enabled to exercise ongoing significant control over the government by exercising legal rights and freedoms designed to give them that control. b. Personal rights/welfare is priority over the welfare of the group. c. The difference between democratic government and nondemocratic government is the extent to which the people are legally and institutionally enabled to exercise ongoing significant control over the government. This control must be enabled through legal rights and freedoms designed to give people control. How People Exert Control Over the Government  Helping elect who serves in office a. Can run for office, vote in elections, openly advocate for a running candidate, work for/donate money to candidate, can work for/donate money to political party  Seek to influence behavior of those serving b. Directly voicing needs to officials, start/work for/donate money to interest groups, serve on jury, sue government in court  Working outside normal democratic process to improve it c. Civic Disobedience: deliberate, open acts of lawbreaking intended to create awareness of unjust laws or government practices and catalyzes reforms of those laws or practices. Characteristics of Nondemocratic Governments  Authoritarian governments – nondemocratic governments that are hierarchically structured, with a supreme leader or ruling party at the top, coercive institutions (police/military) in the middle, and their dominated subjects (citizens) at the bottom.  Far more likely to violate human rights  They use their constitutions, not to legally limit themselves, but as propaganda to mislead their people into believing their government honors legal constitution limits, including respect for human rights.  Examples: China (Chinese Communist Party), Russia (Putin), Syria (Bashar al-Assad), Iran (Ali Khamenzi), North Korea (Kim Jung-un), Saudi Arabia (House of Saud – ruling royal family) Freedoms Necessary for Democracy  Free to seek election to government office  Elections are free  People are free to think, believe, speak, debate, petition, contact government officials, join or form organized interest groups, join/form political parties, assemble, pursue the truth, and publish ideas and factual claims (without censorship or intimidation).  Procedural protections are in place to prevent government from falsely accusing and/or punishing individuals for “crimes” when government motive is to intimidate, detain, torture, and/or kill those who attempt to exercise any of the above Advantages of Democracy  When people exert control, government is less likely to do harm to said person  Take to human right to life seriously. No “democide”, the mass murder of civilians by the government  Democracies are more likely to do good things for their people. More likely to adopt policies that lead to economic prosperity and growth, to promote the education and physical health of citizens, and to intervene to prevent or quickly address economic disasters such as famines, financial crisis, and depressions. Politics What is Politics?  Bernard Crick says politics are about people with different interests and opinions, and who are bound under the same government, engage in free activities that allow them to reach agreements through nonviolent interactions.  Authoritarian governments are essentially anti-political  Politics is a set of nonviolent, open, and free activities through which people, bound by the same democratic government and who often have different opinions and interests, struggle to exert power over what government does. Why Do We Engage in Politics?  People engage in politics to push the wants of their party. (Ideological disagreement)  Americans disagree over how limited government should be in difference areas of public policy; what policies should be effective at promoting happiness and/or resolving collective action problems (and what is appropriate).  Common Labels  Liberals a. Government should be involved in solving individual problems b. Emphasize the need to alleviate social problems c. Want change to happen fast  Conservative a. Traditionalist b. Don’t like change, or if there is, they want it to be very slow and gradual c. Individuals should solve their own problems d. Want small government with essentially no interference


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