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Evolution of Political Inst.

Wait--What is government anyway?

Government is a system of social control
under which the right to make laws, and the
right to enforce them, is given to a
particular group in society. Government
power can be held by one individual, a few,
or a majority.
Republic led by
representatives of
the voters. Each is
individually chosen
for a set period of
United States of America
Parliamentary a
system is led by
representatives of
the people. Each is
chosen as a
member of a
political party and
remains in power
as long as his/her
party does
Great Britain, Israel
Monarchy a
monarchy has a
king or queen, who
sometimes has
absolute power.
Power is passed
along through the
Great Britain, Jordan
Theocracy a form
of government
where the rulers
claim to be ruling
on behalf of a set of
religious ideas, or
as direct agents of
a deity.
Totalitarian Rule
by a single political
party. Votes for
candidates and
parties are simply
not allowed.
Citizens are allowed
and encouraged to
vote, but only for
the governments
chosen candidates. China
Dictatorship rule
by a single leader
who has not been
elected and may
use force to keep
control. In a
dictatorship, the
army is in control.
Usually, there is
little or no attention
to public opinion or
individual rights.
North Korea
Oligarchy a form
of government
which consists of
rule by an elite
group who rule in
their own interests,
especially the
accumulation of
wealth and
privilege. Only
certain members of
society have a valid
voice in the
government. This
can reflect
economic interests,
a particular
religious tradition
or familial rule.
Apolitical and economic system in which some
businesses are controlled by the government rather
than by individuals.
In a socialist country, people have equal rights to
various benefits (health, education), and there is an
effort to limit the inequalities of wealth and power.
Taxes are often quite high to provide for these
People do hold private property in socialist countries.
A country can be both socialist and democratic

The Ideal Politics
We begin with the problem of how to define
politics, and with the writings of Plato and Aristotle
(who in turn may have been inspired by the
teachings of Socrates). In his classic dialogue, the
Republic, Plato proceeded from the core principle
that the polis (or polity) is fundamentally an
economic association; it is very different in
character from an shapeless aggregation of
individuals who happen to share a common
language, territory or culture and may, or may not,
engage in arms-length exchanges. A polity is
characterized by a specialization of roles and a
division of labor (or, more precisely, a combination
of labor) and, equally important, interdependence
with respect to the satisfaction of our various
needs and wants.
Where did the colonists get their
ideas from?
John Locke
He believed that
there were rules in a
state of nature.
He called these
rules natural rights,
and they included
life, liberty and
An economic system in which
individuals and corporations are free
to invest in and own all aspect of a
In a capitalist country, people own
their own companies and can manage
them to earn a profit.
Apolitical and economic system in which some
businesses are controlled by the government rather
than by individuals.
In a socialist country, people have equal rights to
various benefits (health, education), and there is an
effort to limit the inequalities of wealth and power.
Taxes are often quite high to provide for these
People do hold private property in socialist countries.
A country can be both socialist and democratic

A political and economic system in which the
government controls all business.
Individual people cannot own property or
industries and in theory, people of all social
classes are treated equally.
Communist countries have totalitarian
All communists are socialists, but not all
socialists are communists.
Think of it as a spectrum

Capitalism Socialism
United States
North Korea
The Realistic Politics
Thomas Hobbes, whose outlook was
deeply affected by the turmoil of the English
civil wars, provided an equally harsh vision
of the political community. Hobbes was the
architect of a dismal political science. In the
state of nature, Since all men are more or
less equal in strength and cunning, Hobbes
asserted, the state of nature is a war of
every man against every man Hobbes also
viewed justice as a meaningless term. It
amounts to whatever a person can get, and
keep, and the good life is merely the sum of
our separate self-interests.

People have the
right to rebel if their
natural rights are
being taken away
These rights are
essential so
much a part of
human nature that
they cant be taken
Government gets its
right to govern from
the consent of the
people, and without
the consent of the
people, there is no
Locke argues that if
government fails to
protect these rights,
they have the right to
overthrow the
Advocated a system of
government that
divided and balanced
power of government
between the classes
This is the best way to
ensure that the
government would not
be dominated by a
single social class and
could help the common
Ancient Greece and
Promoted the idea of
limiting peoples rights
in order to ensure that
they participate in
Magna Carta (1215)
List of complaints
written by the nobles
against King John
Believed to be the
cornerstone of
modern democracy
Government should
be based on the rule
of law (the kings
power is limited by
requiring him to follow
the law, thereby
limiting governments
Led to American
belief in no taxation
Belief in trial by jury
of peers
Established the idea
of due process of
No government can
take action against its
citizens without
following certain rules
and laws
Parliament (1295)
Originally a council of
nobles, but eventually
came to represent all
people in the
Divided into two
houses, House of
Lords (nobles, upper
house), and House of
Commons (citizens,
lower house)

members elected to
speak for the people
Parliament made
demands of the king
in form of bills
Colonies modeled
governments after
Congress eventually
modeled after
The Habeas Corpus Act 1679
The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 is a writ
(court order) that requires a person under
arrest to be brought before a judge or into
court. The principle of habeas corpus
ensures that a prisoner can be released
from unlawful detentionthat is, detention
lacking sufficient cause or evidence. The
remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by
another person coming to the prisoner's aid.
This right originated in the English legal
system, and is now available in many
English Bill of
Rights (1689)
Limited the power of
the king by placing
more power in the
hands of the people
Becomes part of the
legal tradition in
Right to a fair and
speedy trial by jury
Right to petition

Articles of Confederation
1781-1789 : time called the
Critical Period
After the Revolution, many
people had legitimate fears
about the new government
To most people, their state
was their country
Each state functioned like a
separate nation with its own
constitution and government

Founders were afraid of
making a central
government that was too
Many Americans felt that
any central government
was likely to deprive them
of their rights, just like
under the British crown
People felt that
government should be
close to the people so
the people could control it
easier, and protect their
Set up of Articles of
The government was
just a central
unicameral (one
There was no
executive or judicial
Most legal disputes
were handled in state
Most of the powers
of government were
left with the states,
the national
government had little
power over the
states or its citizens
Only state
government had
authority over their
Congress didnt have the
power to collect money
from the states or the
people directly, it could
only request the money
from the state
governments, which in turn
would raise it from its
Congress couldnt regulate
trade among the different
Strengths of the Articles
Helped get us
through the
Revolutionary War
Helped us deal with
newly acquired
lands out west
(Ohio Valley) and
what to do with

It helped define states
relationship with one another
All states had to
accept the laws of
other states
People could travel
from state to state, not
needing things like
Set up extradition
laws (laws that would
send a criminal in one
state back to the
original state that
he/she committed a
crime in)
Weaknesses of the Articles
2/3 approval needed
to pass a law in
Unanimous vote
needed to amend
(change) the Articles
All states, regardless
of size, had one vote
Legislators in
Congress were paid
by their states, not
the federal
No executive to
enforce the laws
No federal court
Congress couldnt
regulate trade
between the states
Congress could
declare war, but
couldnt raise the
army to fight it
Congress could
coin money, but
had to ask the
states for the gold
and silver to back
up the currency
Congress can tax,
but it had no power
to collect those
taxes from the
What led to the Constitutional
Many political leaders,
like Alexander
Hamilton and James
Madison, didnt like the
Articles of
claiming that the new
government couldnt
handle the problems of
the United States
Annapolis Convention (1785)
Delegates from five
states went to Mt.
Vernon to discuss
commerce (trade)
Low turnout at
Hamilton and Madison
suggested that a meeting
be held in Philadelphia
to amend (change) the
Articles to make
government stronger
Farmers hit by both
high taxes to pay for
Revolutionary War,
and low prices for their
goods, farmers quickly
became angry with the
state government
600 farmers, led by
Captain Daniel Shays,
marched on the
Massachusetts courts
and closed them down
figuring that if the
courts werent in
session they couldnt
lose their farms