Principles of Government Chapter 1 Notes

Principles of Government
• How many TYPES or FORMS of
government can you list?
1. POPULATION all the people who live in a state
the area within an established territory
3. SOVEREIGNTY authority to conduct internal affairs
without seeking approval from a higher authority or
other nations
GOVERNMENT through which the state maintains
social order, provides public services, enforces the
laws, and makes economic decisions
As identified by who holds the power:
In an AUTOCRACY, which can be a dictatorship or an absolute monarchy, where
power and authority rests with a single individual.
Ex: dictatorships—Cuba; absolute monarchies—Saudi Arabia and Jordan
In an OLIGARCHY, such as a communist country, a small group holds power in the
Ex: China and North Korea
In a DEMOCRACY, the people hold the sovereign power of government.
Ex: Presidential democracies-United States, Mexico, France, South Africa, most of Latin America
Ex: Parliamentary democracies—
Great Britain, Canada, Israel, Australia, Japan, India
As identified by structure or organization:
• A unitary government is often described as a centralized
government, where all powers belong to a single, central body.
Most governments in the world are unitary.
Ex: Great Britain, France, Syria
• A federal government is one in which the powers of government
are divided between a central government and several local
government. Both levels of government act directly on the people
through their own sets of laws, officials, and agencies.
Ex: United States, Mexico, India
1. worth of the individual
2. equity of all persons
3. majority rule, minority rights
4. necessity of compromise
5. individual freedom
Also important for any democracy…
• free and open elections
• every vote has equal weight
• competing political parties
• a market economy
Where do democracies flourish?
• in countries without
extremes of wealth and
poverty with a large
middle class
• the opportunity to
control one's economic
destiny provides a base
for making independent
political decisions
Origins of the State
• Force Theory
the state is born out of force; a person or small group claimed
control over an area and forced all within to submit to that person’s or group’s rule—
the state is sometimes created out of an overthrow of government
• Evolutionary Theory
the state developed naturally over time from early
family—like with tribes or clans who became tied to the land…and eventually a state
was born
• Divine Right Theory
those of royal birth have the God-given right to rule;
where people obeyed their ruler as they would their God—like the absolute monarchs
of 15th - 18th century Europe, or the ancient Egyptians, the Maya and Aztecs, and
even Japan until 1945
• Social Contract Theory
the state arose out of voluntary acts of free will
of the people; the state exists only to serve the people and the people themselves are
the source of political power—this is what Thomas Jefferson meant by “consent of
the governed” in the Declaration of Independence
As a society, what can we do to
encourage more people to
participate in politics and
Documents Project
“Stepping Stones to the Constitution”
1. Magna Carta
2. Mayflower Compact
3. Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
4. English Bill of Rights
5. Two Treatises of Government
6. Common Sense
7. Virginia Declaration of Rights
8. Declaration of Independence
9. Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom
10. Articles of Confederation
11. Federalist #14
12. U.S. Bill of Rights