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PSCI 100- Final Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 30 pages long!)


Department
Political Science
Course Code
PSCI100
Professor
Anna Esselment
Study Guide
Final

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UW
PSCI 100
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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PSCI 100 Chapter 1: Classification of Political Systems and Liberal
Democracies
The process of organizing factual information about governmental systems
produces broad schemes of classification usually known as typologies
The Classical Typology
Founders of political science: Aristotle and Plato
They classified governments with two questions in mind
Who rules?
In whose interest?
Possible answers to the first question included a single person, minority “the
few”, or by a majority “the many
Plato held that there are two basic ways in which rule can be conducted lawful
(the rule of law) or unlawful (the arbitrary rule of individuals)
Aristotle added that rule by law is in the best interest of then entire community
and arbitrary rule represents exploitation of the ruled for the specific interest of
the governors
Monarchy (ONE): a regime in which soverign authority was vested in one person who
ruled within the laws of the polis
Tyranny (ONE): one person rules arbitrarily
Aristocracy (FEW): a system in which political power was held by a restricted class
usually the wealthy and those noble ancestry that ruled in the general interest under
the law
Oligarchy (FEW): regime where the wealthy minority used its power to exploit and
oppress the impoverished majority
Democracy (MANY): in the greek term, was an exploitative form of government, in the
sense that the many used their political power to obtain for themselves the wealth of
the rich a majority oppressing a minority. It was the rule of the common people
unchecked by legal restraint
Polity (MANY) (constitutional democracy): expresses that the rule of many is good
only if it is exercised within a fixed constitutional framework that prevents the
majority from oppressing minorities. It represents the balance of public and private
interests through the political process. Aristotle preferred this
Plato wrote in his book The Republic about the ideal of rule by a philosopher-
king, a man so preeminent in wisdom and moral virtue that he could rule by
personal judgement rather than by the constraint of law. He would not be
arbitrary because his philosophic wisdom would protect him from the
temptations of power
Modern Typologies
First, we classify governments according to the relationship between state and
society
Second, we classify government according to the relationship between the
executive and legislative powers of the government
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Third, we classify governments according to their degree of centralization or
decentralization
Liberal democracy
The universal acceptance of democracy stems from the years of WWI
In our view, democracy becomes a legitimate form of government only when it is
united with the traditional Western ideals of constitutionalism, rule of law,
liberty under law, and the limited state
Freedom is made possible by the rule of law, which minimizes arbitrary
coercion and maximizes universal submission to equal laws
Liberal democracy: a system of government in which the people rule themselves,
directly or indirectly (through chosen officials) but can be subject to the restraints on
the power of the majority
Four operating principles of a democracy
1) Equality of political right: right to vote, serve on a jury, right to speak out on
public issues etc.
2) Majority rule: majority rule is not always the case in elections where parties
can get more votes than the other to win even if they don’t get 50% or over
Qualified majority: used in more sensitive situations to protect the minority
especially. Can require two-third votes, three-fourths, three fifths etc.
3) Political participation:
Referendum: electors are asked to directly vote on a constitutional amendment, piece
of legislation, or other policy proposal
Initiative: if a minimum number of voters sign a petition dealing with a particular
issue (the number would be spelled out in legislation), then the government is required
to act on it
Recall: enables voters to remove an elected representative from office
4) Political freedom
Opposition needs to be allowed for political freedom
Wide political freedom can also reduce freedom for example when Quebec
restricted businesses from putting up signage that wasn’t in French and when
the Supreme Court overturned this, Quebec enacted the notwithstanding clause
(S.33) to override the ruling
Socrates was put to death by a democracy
The majority can sometimes use their power to disadvantage the minority
Problems with democracy
Elite rule
“a minority of the population which takes the major decisions in the society”
“Eliteness” has become more numerous and more diverse (ex. Financial elite,
military elite, commercial elite, and even a political elite
Majority vs Minority Rule
Example Can the rights of Natives in Canada be protected when they make up
less than 4% of the population?
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