POLITICAL SYSTEMS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
1 Monarchy is a form of government in which authority is held by a single person, a monarch, whose right to rule is generally hereditary and lifelong. At the start of the twentieth century, monarchs ruled over most of the world, but by the middle of the century, only a handful remained. A series of revolutions in the preceding centuries had weakened the European monarchies, and while monarchs remained symbols of national unity, real power had passed to constitutional assemblies. Monarchy survived as a form in Europe only where the king or queen functioned as the symbolic head of a parliamentary state, as in Britain, the Low Countries, and Scandinavia. It lasted longer in the few small states of Asia and Africa that had never come under direct colonial rule. By the 1960s, autocratic monarchy had become an outdated form of government. Throughout most of the world, people were considered citizens, not subjects, and the totality of the people were seen as constituting the state.
2 In most states where monarchical authority was removed, some form of liberal democracy took its place. A liberal democracy is a state where political authority rests in the people acting through elected representatives and where an elected executive is responsible to the will of the people as a whole. The term applies to a broad group of states with a parliamentary or representative political tradition. Liberal democracies differ from the communist states known as people’s democracies, in which the Communist party holds the ultimate authority. Generally, liberal democracies follow the parliamentary pattern, with the executive power vested in a cabinet responsible to the parliament and drawn from the majority party or combination of parties. In the United States, an independently elected executive, the president, functions separately from the legislative authority, the congress.
3 The doctrine that all of the people had effective authority, or sovereignty, became the basis for the functioning of democratic states. This doctrine of popular sovereignty became all-inclusive as citizenship rights were extended to classes formerly excluded and to women. The liberal democratic state claimed the right to control every aspect of human life according to the will of the people, except where limits on state control were directly stated in a bill of rights in a democratic constitution and recognized in practice.
4 All democratic states, both parliamentary and presidential, changed in form during the twentieth century. To meet the needs of an urban industrial society, states generally enlarged their scope of activity to control economic power and to provide common services to the people. The expansion of state activity and extension of state services involved a new view of legislation and its role in society. The passing of laws came to be seen as a way to promote the well being of the people. With this new concept of legislation, the number of new laws increased immensely, particularly in the areas of social welfare, education, health and safety, and economic development.
5 The trend toward liberal democracy continued throughout the century, but at various times there was also a tendency toward a revival of authoritarian rule. In a number of states, democratic governments could not cope with the crises of the time. In these cases, some form of totalitarian dictatorship emerged, replacing popular sovereignty with the total power of the state. In some instances, monarchy gave way directly to dictatorship. In others, dictatorial regimes took over democratically organized states, notably in Eastern Europe in the years between the two world wars, in new states of Asia and Africa in the 1950s, and sporadically in Central and South America.
6 Authoritarian governments showed three principle characteristics. First, there was a head of state or leader with exceptional powers, with a party to support him. Second, the legislative body was elected by a system that prohibited parties opposed to the regime, and third, there was a bureaucratic administration that was in no way subject to popular control. The most extreme position on these points was taken by Hitler’s totalitarian National Socialist State in the 1930s.
autocratic: characterized by unlimited power
authoritarian: characterized by complete obedience to authority, lacking individual freedom
14. What point does the author make about monarchs in the twentieth century?
(X) Monarchs did not allow the people to vote in democratic elections.
(X) Monarchs did not have real power but were symbols of national unity.
(X) The monarch in most countries was a king rather than a queen.
(X) Monarchs were responsible for starting many popular revolutions.
15. The word survived in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
16. The phrase The term in paragraph 2 refers to
(X) monarchical authority
(X) liberal democracy
(X) will of the people
17. Why does the author mention people’s democracies in paragraph 2?
(7) To contrast two concepts of where political authority rests
(X) To suggest that people’s democracies originated in liberal democracies
(X) To explain differences between one-party and two-party systems
(X) To describe the parliamentary system of people’s democracies
18. The word pattern in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
19. According to the passage, which of the following is a limit on state control in a liberal democracy?
(X) A cabinet drawn from the majority party
(X) The existence of only one political party
(X) An independently elected executive
(X) A bill of rights stated in a constitution
20. According to the passage, what is one way in which every democratic state changed during the twentieth century?
(X) An authoritarian regime replaced the democratic institutions.
(X) The executive’s power became stronger than that of the parliament.
(X) State-run bureaucracies came under the control of the majority party.
(X) State activity expanded to promote the well being of the people.
21. Which sentence below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 5? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(X) Dictatorships were more popular in countries where the majority of people wanted the state to have total power.
(X) In a totalitarian dictatorship, the government replaced authoritarian rule with popular sovereignty.
(X) Totalitarian dictatorships took over some democracies with the idea that the state, not the people, held all power.
(X) Some dictatorships gave the state total authority to rule, while others maintained the concept of popular sovereignty.
22. According to the passage, all of the following are characteristics of authoritarian governments EXCEPT
(A) the absence of political parties opposed to the regime
(B) the authority of the people through elected representatives
(C) a leader with a great amount of power
(D) an administration that does not answer to the people
23. It can be inferred from the passage that the author most likely believes which of the following statements about political systems in the twentieth century?
A. There was a general movement away from monarchy toward democracy, with some cases of authoritarian rule.
B. The ultimate purpose of many dictatorships was the development of effective democracy.
C. Authoritarian governments are more likely to emerge in countries that had previously been ruled by a monarch.
D. There are more similarities than differences between liberal democracies and people’s democracies.
24. Look at the four squares [A], [B], [C], [D] which indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. Where would the sentence best fit?
The British Parliament, for example, passed more laws in the first half of the twentieth century than in all its previous history.
[A] All democratic states, both parliamentary and presidential, changed in form during the twentieth century. [B] To meet the needs of an urban industrial society, states generally enlarged their scope of activity to control economic power and to provide common services to the people. The expansion of state activity and extension of state services involved a new view of legislation and its role in society. The passing of laws came to be seen as a way to promote the well being of the people. [C] With this new concept of legislation, the number of new laws increased immensely, particularly in the areas of social welfare, education, health and safety, and economic development. [D]
25. Select the appropriate sentences from the answer choices and match them to the type of government that they describe. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 3 points.
(A) The leader’s authority to rule is usually hereditary and lifelong.
(B) An elected executive is responsible to the will of the people as a whole.
(C) Every political unit is subject to the control of the unit just above it.
(D) A powerful leader and party have total control of the government
(E) In some places, the ruler is the symbolic head of a parliamentary state.
(F) Government is based on a belief in popular sovereignty.
(G) Private corporations make up the bureaucratic administration.