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35 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Difference between direct and representative democracy
Direct = you can talk directly to the leaders, ex. town meetings
Representative = elect officials to represent us
Presidential vs. Parliamentary Democracy
Presidential- U.S., one single President acts as the two separate roles of Head of state and Head of Govt

Parliamentary - Britain, 2 separate people hold the same position that our President holds. ex. head of state - queen, but head of govt - prime minister
Is the Prime Minister or President more powerful?
The President of U.S. is, because he is president of the world's superpower, but in Britain the prime minister sits in legislature with the rest of the government unlike our president, who mus go through congress to get legislation passed
Less repressive than totalitarian, because there are still some areas of freedom. Dictator is not in charge of everything (ex. CUBA)
(usually a dictator) The person in charge has total control over everything from government, to religion, to family (ex. Nazi Germany, Hussein Iraq, North Korea)
Religious group or leader rules (only main one today is IRAN)
Aristocracy gone bad; group of elite that rise to the top and become corrupt (ex. Russia - present day, group of people called the 'Oligarchs' and also Japan - before become the democracy it is today)
Refers to a military government (ex. Turkey and Pakistan at times, also Burma)
What are some characteristics of Democracy???
freedom of speech, elections, stability, equality of chance, Rule of Law, separation of religion and state, economic factors, a "middle class", education/literacy, and identity/relation to your country
Samuel Huntington's
"Clash of Civilizations"
- Said there will be 8 separate civilizations in the future
(Western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic-Orthodox, Latin American, African)
- Doesn't believe a universal civilization is possible
- Keys to Civilization are language and religion
3 Basic Principles of American Government
1. Separation of Powers
2. Checks and Balances
3. Federal System
3 Branches
Legislative - passes the laws, Congress
Executive - enforces the laws, President
Judicial - interprets the laws, Supreme Court
U.S. election process
Primaries - how we get our presidential candidates for the general elections (NH 1st)
Popular Vote - general citizens like us voting
Electoral Vote - # of electorates based on population (538 total), similar to # of reps and senators
Examples of Concurrent Powers in US
Concurrent powers - powers that both the national and state levels have control over

Tax, Borrow Money, Establish Courts, Make and enforce laws
Give some examples as to how we have Checks and Balances?
President can Veto Legislation
Congress has impeach and remove judges and President from office
Supreme Court can declare legislative acts unconstitutional
President appoints supreme court justices
Congress can override presidential vetoes
What is the Bill of Rights?
1st ten amendments to Constitution
1st - Freedom of Speech, Religion, etc.
2nd - Right to Bear Arms
*14th - Due Process and equal protection under laws for ALL US Citizens
State vs. Nation
State - country, like the USA

Nation - refers more to an ethnic group than geographic borders
ability of a nation/state to conduct itself on its own
The people in charge (ex. Republicans and the Bush Administration)
he underlying system of the country (made up of things like the Constitution)
Political Culture
respect for the system in which you live and your country operates - ex. US has a very strong political culture
Why did Britain develop democracy relatively easily? (compared to the rest of continental europe)
1. gradualism
2. relatively peaceful, World Power, didn't have as many crises as continental Europe
3. Geographically, isolated from other fighting countries
4. Not much political division - religious, the problem was not as big as the rest of Europe and there wasn't as much religious division
5. Gradually, the vote expanded
6. 1600's Industrial Revolution - produced a middle class with political rights and trade unions
Britain doesn't have a constitution - why and how is their political culture still strong?
Superpower for so long - very nationalistic, they developed in isolation away from all of the wars, ex. Joined the EU, but haven't adopted the currency, place a high value on traditions
Britain's Electoral System
Parliament elects the Prime Minister, and then he elects the Cabinet
House of Commons - elected by Popular Vote, "First Passed the Post"
How does Britain's Parliament work?
House of Commons: most powerful body
House of Lords: not a strong institution at all, hereditary lords, no longer active peer lords - have a lordship appointed for life

*Lobbying is not a big part of their political culture - legislation is already there and people don't have much control to change it
Why is there no demand for fundamental change in Britain?
Very traditional, still have a monarchy
Slow decline, gradual process
Strong allies, so when changes are made they're not on their own
British History - being at the top, one of great independence, and a long history of surviving and reluctance to change
What are some of Britains problems?
- Population decline
- Not a major industrial giant
- Lack of military strength/world influence
- Scotland has Rising nationalism
- Relationship with The US (support of US in Iraq, Tony Blair - is he too close?)
- Haven't completely joined the EU
- Ireland: nothern, settling
- High immigration rates (from Northern Africa mostly)
- Role of the Royal Family
Who are the Principal Parties in Britain?
Conservatives: in charge for most of the past 150 years, but not in power today
Liberals: newest major party, product of a merger between liberals and social democrats
Labor Party: Criticism for being too extreme and out of touch with their electorates, only formed at the beginning of the 20th century, in charge now (BLAIR)
Importance of Treaty of VErsailles to Germany
1919, the Treaty gave sanctions to Germany for their actions in WWI, and the extremely harsh reparations weren't harsh enough still to stop the eventual rebuilding that Hitler accomplished
What brought Hitler to power in 1932?
- economical problems caused by forced reparations and the worlwide depression in 1929
- Weimar Republic was a fairly democratic democracy, but not good enough
- Hitler was a charismatic figure and a powerful speaker
- Hitler got power in the legislature and through the way they run elections (proportional representation) because it leads to small parties (sometimes extremist) that form small coalitions and eventually gain more and more control within the system
- Resentment against the Treaty of Versailles
Germany Post-WWII
after being beaten in 1945, the country was divided into 4 zones, and 3 of which became East and West germany eventually. The 4th zone was also split up (the USSR's section) so even the capital, berlin, was split
- The Wall was built to prevent people from fleeing into other sections
German main Political Parties
- CDU: Christian Democratic Union
- SPD: Socialist party
- FDP: Federal Democratic Party *this one is important because it helps either of the other ones form a coalition if they cannot agree
German Government today
Constitution: not in the general sense though, called Basic Law
- Have 16 "Landers" which are essentially states and elect their own legislatures
- Overall, Federal System like the US
- Individual Lander parliaments elect people then go to the central, upper house
- Bundesrat: upper house
- Bundestag: lower house, more powerful and can override the upper house
- President is generally a weak figure and the person in harge of the Bundestag becomes Chancellor, which is more the power figure
- Constitutional Court: made up of two senates and have the power of judicial review
4 Parts of the EU
European Commission: commissioners picked based on population of the state
Council of Ministers: one of economic and one of foreign ministers, and then the heads of states of each country, it's a step above the EC in terms of authority
European Court of Justice: can trump those laws in individual countries, a very powerful court that even the US has had trouble with
European Parliament: weakest, and elected by the people of the diferent countries with various representation based upon population. Council of Minsters can overrule the Parliament except in very special cases.
Future of the EU?
So far, economically it's been a big success, while politically it has not been a big success. Does not look like a constitution's getting passed anytime soon, but the development of the EURO was a huge success and has given them an output, combined, almost equivalent to that of the US.