Foundations of Government

Chapter 1:
Foundations of Government
Government provides the framework and
institutions through which decisions are made
for the well-being of a group of people.
Sec. 1: The Purposes of Government
Do Now
Write three sentences
explaining what government
is and why it is important.
Learning Goals
Objectives (You will learn…)
• what government is.
• which major characteristics all states
• the major functions of government.
• what theories of rule have been put
forth to explain government.
Essential Question
• What are the ideals
and key principals
that characterize
American democracy?
What is Government?
• Government
• Formal structures & institutions where
decisions are made for people.
• Power
• Government’s authority & ability to do get
things done.
• Policy
• Any decision made by gov’t in pursuit of a
• State
• Political community of people living within a defined
• Characteristics: Population, Territory, Government,
and sovereignty.
• Sovereignty
• Supreme power of the state to act within its territory.
• Politics
• Process by which gov’t makes & carries out decisions
as to whose interests will be served.
Functions of Gov’t
• Ensure National Security (Military)
• Maintain Order (Police, Courts)
• Resolve Conflict
• Politics: Process by which gov’t makes & carries
out decisions.
• Provide Services (Education, Mass
• Provide for the Public Good (Public
good vs. minority rights)
• Legitimacy
Theories of Rule
• Rulers are seen as right & proper by nation’s population.
• Divine Right of Kings
• A theory that the king is answerable only to God.
• Natural Law & Natural Rights
• Provides a just and rational order to all thing in the world,
including human behavior.
• Social Contract Theory
• 1st gov’t formed by people through submitting to the
authority of the state, which in turn would protect &
support them. (Hobbes’ Leviathan, Locke, Rousseau)
Group Work
• In small groups identify a law you must follow in
your daily lives. Brainstorm what life would be like
without that law. Consider both the positive and
negative results.
• You will share your group’s thoughts with the rest of
the class.
Exit Slip
• “[In a state of war] No arts; no
letters; no society; and which is
worst of all, continual fear and
danger of violent death; and the
life of man, solitary, poor, nasty,
brutish, and short.”