American Government Study Guide: the Political Landscape

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Government 2301
Chapter 1
The Political Landscape

1. Which settlements were founded for religious reasons and which were for commerce? * Massachusetts was founded by the puritans attempting to secure religious freedom. Virginia was founded by people seeing to find the gold, as the Spanish in Mexico. Pennsylvania and Delaware was founded by William Penn as a haven for various non-violent Christian groups, mainly the Quakers. Mary land was founded by an English Catholics son who named it Maryland, Mary, the mother of Jesus. Rhode Island and Connecticut were founded for the freedom of Puritans who were not accepted among those in Massachusetts. New York City/State, originally New Amsterdam, was founded as trading center, particularly why New York City remains a center of American trade and economics to the present day. The only colony not founded for those reasons was likely Georgia, established as a penal colony and settled by exiled British criminals.

2. Describe the social contract theory of government and the contrasting views between Thomas Hobbs and John Locke. The social contract theory is the belief that people are free and equal by natural right , and that this in turn requires that all people give their consent to be governed; espoused by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and influential in the writing of the Declaration of Independence. Hobbes believed that a monarchial type of government was necessary to restrain humanity’s bestial tendencies because life without government was a “state of nature.” Stating that people will live like animals without rules. On the other hand, John Locke argued that the government’s major responsibility was the preservation of private property. He also denied the right that no king should govern but also that individuals were born with equal and natural rights.

3. What is the difference between direct and indirect systems of democracy and how these terms reflect a republic? * Direct Democracy is a system of government in which members of polity meet to discuss all policy decisions and then agree to abide by majority rule. * Indirect democracy is a system of government that gives citizens the opportunity to vote for representatives who work on their behalf. * These terms reflect a republic, which implied a system of government in which the interests of the people were represented by more educated or wealthier citizens who were responsible to those who elected them.

4. Summarize the four types of government by early Greek theorists Plato and Aristotle. * Monarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in hereditary kings and queens who govern in the interests of all. * Totalitarianism is a form of government in which power resides in a leader who rules according to self-interest and with our regard for individual rights and liberties/ * Oligarchy is a form of government in which the right to particiapate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position, or achievement. * Democracy is a system of government that gives power to the people, whether directly or through elected representatives.

5. Discuss popular consent, majority rule and popular sovereignty. * Popular consent is the principle that governments must draw their powers from the consent of the governed. * Majority rule is the central premise of direct democracy in which only policies that collectively garner the support of a majority of voters will be made into law. * Popular Sovereignty is the notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people.

6. List the five functions of American Government.
* Establishing justice
* Insuring Domestic Tranquility
* Providing for the Common Defense
* Promoting the General Welfare
* Securing the Blessings of Liberty

7. What is the racial and ethnic compositions that exist in America today? The American population has been altered constantly by the arrival...
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