American History / Biograhpical Statement On American Government
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Autor: anton 19 December 2010
Words: 1737 | Pages: 7
For over 200 years now, we as Americans, have had our nation, government, institutions, politics, and our inhabitants guided by a document written by a group of people that we refer to as the Framers. This document was written in 1787 and is called the Unites States Constitution. My name is Brent McInelly and I will be discussing in this essay some simple facts about myself, what government is along with the different types of government, its functions, and the kind of government that America has. I will also discuss the seven characteristics of American political culture/democracy and the prevailing political ideologies.
As I stated earlier my name is Brent McInelly and I am twenty-one years old. I was born in Guam on February 4, 1986 on Andrews Air Force Base. I am in college for the same reasons many others are in college for, to gain a better education that will ultimately ensure me a better job that pays better as well. A better paying job will help secure a better lifestyle for my family and I. I am living in Cheyenne, WY not by choice but due to unfortunate events while I was in the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA. I encountered a kidney stone and after some tests and CAT Scans I found out I had more than just one and that kidney stones are a dischargeable medical condition despite what I tried to do to stay in. So, two weeks from my Marine Corps graduation I found myself on an airplane instead, filled with anger and a sense of failure, on my way home to mom and dad. My current long term goals are to finish college with a four year degree and join the military as an officer. LCCC will help me achieve this by providing the type of education needed to start me off in the right direction of obtaining my degree. Hopefully this has provided you with some basic information about me and what I hope to achieve in the years to come.
Ever wonder what the actual functions of a government are? To answer this question we must first understand what a government actually is. A government is defined as the formal vehicle through which policies are made and affairs of state are conducted. We have governments to keep our societies from erupting into mass chaos by setting a list of laws that we as citizens are inclined to follow and the government to uphold and enforce. The functions of a government are categorized into five areas. The first one is to establish justice and by doing this they formed a system of laws that we as American citizens are allowed to abide by a common set of principles. The Bill of Rights entitles us to a fair trial if we were to break the laws the government has set for us. The second function is to ensure domestic tranquility. One example of this would be the formation of the Department of Homeland Security which was created after the September 11 attacks. Local governments have their police forces while the states have the national guards and our federal government can call upon troops if such events are to take place and is just another reason how they ensure domestic tranquility. Providing for the common defense is yet another function which the U.S. Constitution states that our president will be the commander in chief of the armed forces and the Congress will have the authority to raise an army. This is because the government is to provide its citizens with some kind of defense in case of terrorist attacks or the like. A fourth function is to promote the general welfare. Some examples of this would include Social Security income programs or providing health care such as Medicaid and Medicare. The fifth and last function is to secure the blessings of liberty. In this function, citizens are free to criticize the government or petition it when they feel that certain policies are not working or if they have some kind of grievance.
There are four different kinds of government that exist today. The first one is a monarchy. A monarchy is defined as a form of government in which power is vested in hereditary kings and queens who govern in the interests of all. One example of this type of government would be England. A second type of government is totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a form of government in which power resides in a leader who rules based on his self interest and has no regard for individual rights and liberties. A prime example of this would be Iraq when Suddam Hussein was in power. An oligarchy is a third form of government in which the right to participate is conditioned on the possession of wealth, social status, military position or some type of achievement. This type of government is very rare these days. The fourth type of government is the type of government that America has and is called a democracy. A democracy gives power to the people, whether it is directly or through the elected representatives. Democracy is the preferred type of government in the majority of the countries worldwide.
There are seven characteristics of American political culture and democracy. The first of which being personal liberty. Personal liberty used to state freedom from governmental interference but today it includes demands for freedom to engage in numerous practices without the government interfering or discriminating against. Political equality is another key characteristic of our democracy. Itâ€™s principal is that all citizens are equal in the political process that is implied by the phrase â€œone person, one vote.â€ Popular consent and majority rule are a third characteristic. Popular consent would be the idea that the power of the government comes from the consent of the governed and the majority rule being the majority of voters would elect officials or determine policies. A fourth characteristic is popular sovereignty. Popular sovereignty is the notion that the ultimate authority in society rests with the people which means that the people can create, abolish, or even alter their own government. Civil society is yet another characteristic and is used to describe the society created when citizens are allowed to organize and express their views publicly such as during a debate. Individualism is the sixth characteristic. It states that the individual is able to achieve his or her highest level of development and all individuals are deemed to be rational and fair. The last characteristic would be religious faith. America is the most churchgoing nation in the world and with that religious faith is often the most perceived political and policy issue. We as Americans are entitled to claim and religion we so choose. I personally believe that personal liberty is the most important characteristic in that as Americans we are free and ensured life and liberty. We are not held back from what goals we wish to achieve and there is no limit to what we can achieve.
Some of the characteristics of the American people are changing such as the change in our size and population. In 1880 there were roughly 50 million people. In 1950 there were 150 million, today there are more than 300 million people living in the U.S. and it is projected to be on the upwards of 400 million people by the year 2040. Another would be the change in demographics of the U.S. population such as racial and ethnic composition and the average age of Americans. Our racial and ethnic change is mainly derived from the arrival of illegal and legal immigrants. When the U.S was first founded the average life span was thirty-five years of age and nowadays it is seventy-five years for man and eighty years for women. Family size has changed as well. Most families are having fewer children for the simple fact that in the past, children were a source of cheap labor so families would have more children. No children are more of an expense than anything are families are having fewer and fewer children in the household. I believe that changes in racial and ethnic composition are the most important in driving political change for the simple fact that in most cities today, Caucasians have become the minority. The more people of different ethnic or racial backgrounds we have in America, the more our government is likely to change, and some people like me are almost afraid to see what kind of change this could bring.
Political ideologies are sets or systems of beliefs that shape the thinking of individuals and how they view the world. The major political ideologies in America today are conservative, moderate, and liberal. Conservatives believe that a government is best that governs least, especially in terms of regulation of our economy while liberals are considered to favor governmental involvement, especially in the economy. Some problems with political labels are that some conservatives have some beliefs that are in all actuality more liberal and vise-versa. Since this is the case in some scenarios, most Americanâ€™s that have positions in liberal and conservative issues categorized themselves as moderates. I categorize myself as a conservative based on several platforms. I believe that every unborn child has the right to life, and that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I also believe that the well being of a child is better off when in an environment provided by a mother and a father who are bonded by marriage.
In conclusion, the government has affected all our lives in one way or another. One way I have been affected is by having the option to join the military. I donâ€™t think I would be the same person if I had not been raised in a military family and having tried to join myself. Another way it has affected me is by making it possible to get a further education by going to college. College can only better my life and the life I will be able to provide for my family. A third way, but most certainly not the last, would be that I am able to vote people into office to represent me and what I believe and vote for policies that I see fit for America as a whole.
Oâ€™Connor, Karen, Sabato Larry J. American Government: Continuity and Change. New York, NY: Pearson/Longman, 2008.
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