(GED Social Studies/Civics And Government; Lesson 1) – Historic Basis For U.S. System

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                           HISTORIC BASIS FOR U.S.SYSTEM

The system of government in the United States is known as representative democracy. In this style of government, people have the right to vote by making their choice known without being threaten.

Origin of democracy can be traced back to Greek. The term democracy was coined from the Greek world “rule of the people” (approximately 500 BCE in the Greek city of Athens). This distinguishes democracy from;

  1. Monarchy: involves the rule of person e.g. king or queen
  2.  Aristocracy: involves the rule of an elite class e.g. barons or               lords
  3. Theocracy: the rule of the church e.g. bishop, revered fathers.
  4. Anarchy: the rule of the mob. Not really a form of government
  5. Authoritarian: it could be the rule of a dictatorship, military rule, and fascism.
  6. Direct democracy: as to do with ancient Athenian democracy, whereby laws are being voted by the council of all citizens (the meaning of citizens in Athens as to do with a free landowner over the age of 20).

The historic basis of the U.S. government came from the British system of government. One part of the British system is the signing of great charter which is known Magna Carta in 1215 in England. During the same period, it was illegal to imprison someone without granting them trials. This was as a result of the development of a doctrine known as habeas corpus.

In the 17th and 18th century, democracy had spread to other European countries like England, France, Holland and other Europeans powers. The emphasis of this new bill is on human right and to encourage government by the people. Philosophers like Adam smith, john Locke and Voltaire also influenced U.S. democracy.                


  1. Which of the following signifies the British system?

A. Habeas corpus

B. Democracy

C. Magna Carta

D. Direct democracy

Ans= C

2. Origin of democracy can be traced back to?

A. British

B. U.S

C. Greek

D. Athens

Ans= C

3. From the passage it was illegal to imprison someone without trials; which of the following relate to the doctrine?

A. Habeas  corpus

B. Democracy

C. Anarchy

D. Magna Carta

Ans= A

4. The great charter was signed into law in what year?

A. 17th and 18th century


C. 500 BCE

D. 1215

Ans= D