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Foundations of American Government

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Rachel Jaunese

on 28 August 2015

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Transcript of Foundations of American Government

Magna Carta
trial by jury
due process of the law
protection of life, liberty, & property
Summary Sentence
: The Magna Carta established the principle that the power of the monarchy was not absolute.
Historical Influences
of the US Government
5 Basic Concepts of
Grab a book off the shelf - read pages 5 & 6 on the origins of state
Break into groups - I will assign a theory to each group
two main points of theory
visual of the theory
Origin of State Theories:
How did states develop?
body of people, living in a defined territory, organized politically, and with powers to make and enforce laws without being challenged by a higher authority
Characteristics of a State
It is an institution through which laws are made, enforced & interpreted.
What is government?
Foundations of American Government
Public Policies: things that the government
decides to do
Examples: taxes, healthcare, laws, trade
Constitution: fundamental body of law that sets the principles, structure and process of government (written and unwritten)
must have people
must have land to rule

with defined borders
Sovereignty- supreme & absolute power within its own territory
government- must be politically organized
Force Theory
: state born by force- one group/person forced others to submit to rule
Evolutionary Theory
: state developed naturally

family clan tribe state
Divine Right of Kings
: God created the state and gave royal blood line power to rule
disobey king is to disobey God
Social Contract Theory
: Over came "state of nature" to AGREE to create state
voluntarily give up power for welfare of all
govt. serves the will of people
Purpose of Govt - Form a More Perfect Union
-unite the states, build stronger links
Purpose of Govt - Establish Justice
-laws are fair and applied equally
Purpose of Govt - Ensure Domestic
-keep the peace at home
Purpose of Govt - Provide for the
Common Defense
- defending against foreign enemies
Purpose of Govt - Promote the
General Welfare
- make life better for citizens
Purpose of Govt - Secure the Blessings of
- provide/protect freedoms now and in
Fundamental Worth/Dignity of the Individual

Equality of All Persons

Majority Rule vs. Minority Rights

Necessity of Compromise
Individual Freedom
Classifying Governments by....
Geographic distribution of Power:
Power to govern is located geographically in one or more places.
Unitary System:
Confederate System:
Federal System:
Who Participates in Government?
Autocracy: authority lies with one person who holds absolute power
Oligarchy: authority lies with a small group of people
Democracy: authority rests with the people
Either directly (direct democracy) or with representatives that are elected on their behalf (representative democracy)
Relationship between the Legislative and Executive Branches:
Presidential system:
separation of power b/w executive & legislative branches
two branches are independent, but COEQUAL
has checks and balances b/w branches
President is chosen independently from legislature
example: United States
Parliamentary System:
executive is Prime Minister and is part of legislature
P.M. is leader of Majority party
only in office as long as their party has majority
legislature elects the Prime Minister from within
example: Great Britain, most of Europe
individual's worth must be recognized by others & society
fine line between single individuals and all individuals
"All men are created equal" - does not mean born with same talent or abilities
Equality of All Persons means
equality of opportunity
equality before the law (same rights for all)
the will of the people dictate public policy-not ruling few
majority will be right more often than they will be wrong (over will of single person)
democracy cannot provide complete freedom for all individuals (yelling "fire" in a public place)
must be a balance between rights of society and freedom of individuals
all individuals are important, but you can't please everyone. COMPROMISE is a must
Many options to solve all problems- compromise on solutions
With these concepts in mind, what is the greatest challenge for any democracy?
- preserving individual freedoms while getting the population to act collectively for the benefit of all
Answer the following question in the blank space on page five in your packet:
The Petition of Right
- 1628
trial by jury (political critics)
could not declare martial law during peacetime
could not require people to shelter troops without consent
no taxes without Parliament's consent
Summary Sentence:
The Petition of Right declared that monarchs must obey the law.

English Bill of Rights
- 1689
no standing army in peacetime
right to fair & speedy trial
no excessive bail
no cruel and unusual punishment
Summary Sentence:
The English Bill of Rights was created to prevent abuse of power by English Monarchs.
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