Chapter One Notes

Topics: Democracy, Government, Political philosophy Pages: 6 (1522 words) Published: January 15, 2013
People and governments
* Need stability
* Change their minds to fit their needs
Political Change in the US
* Americans can change who (Republicans or Democrats) dominates Congress every two years * Divided government (1994, for example, w/ Bill Clinton as pres.) * A situation that exists when political party control over the government is divided (for example, when the pres. is a Democrat and Congress is controlled by Republicans) * The gov. in the 1990s and early 2000s was pretty flourishing. * Change is a tribute to the success of a political system (6) * Institution

* A long-standing, identifiable structure or association that performs certain functions for society. What Is Politics?
* Politics
* According to David Easton, the “authoritative allocation of values” for a society’ according to Harold Lasswell, “who gets what, when, and how” in a society. * The struggle or process engaged in by human beings to decide which members of society get benefits or privileges and which are excluded from certain benefits or privileges. * Conflicts that arise in society

* People may differ over their beliefs, either religious or personal, or over basic issues of right and wrong. * People may differ in their perception of what the society’s goals should be. * People compete for scarce resources; government benefits and property are examples. (7) The Need for Government and Power

* Government
* A permanent structure (institution) composed of decision makers who make society’s rules about conflict resolution and the allocation of resources and who possess the power to enforce those rules. (7) * When a community makes decisions and allocates values through informal rules, politics exists – but not government. (8) * Generally, governments not only make the rules but also implement them through the use of police, judges, and other government officials. (8) Authority and Legitimacy

* Authority
* The features of a leader or an institution that compel obedience, usually because of ascribed legitimacy * For most societies, government is the ultimate authority. (9) * Legitimacy

* A status conferred by the people on the government’s officials, acts, and institutions through their belief that the government’s actions are an appropriate use of power y legally constituted governmental authority following correct decision-making policies. * These actions are regarded as rightful and entitled to compliance and obedience on the part of citizens. (9) * Laws have been made according to the correct and accepted political process by representatives of the people. * People accept the laws as legitimate and having political authority. (9) The Question of Power

* Power
* The ability to cause others to modify their behavior and to conform to what the power holder wants. * Also involves the ability of one individual or a group of individuals to influence the actions of another individual or group. * Government has it to enforce the law (9)

* Compliance
* The act of accepting and carrying out authorities’ decisions (9) * Totalitarian regimes
* A form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation. * All power resides with the government
* The citizens have no power to choose the leadership or policies of the country. (9) Sources of Political Power
* Most of the terms for describing the distribution of power came from the Greeks (10) * Oligarchy
* Rule by a few members of the elite, who generally make decisions to benefit their own group (10) * Elite
* An upper socioeconomic class that controls political and economic affairs (10) * Aristocracy
* Rule by the best suited, through virtue, talent, or education. * Later it meant the upper class (10)
* Anarchy
* The condition of having...
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