History Of Government Bigman Lights on. Uncle Sam enters with hat. Uncle Sam

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History Of Government - Bigman

Lights on. Uncle Sam enters with hat.

Uncle Sam:
The need for order has always led to the establishment of government. Since man was able to choose for himself, people have always needed some form of higher power to govern their actions. Government was primarily created to solve disputes and calm social unrest.

Uncle Sam:
Since the beginning of civilization, man has always needed to be in a group, as a whole, together. Before man was organized, there was anarchy. Anarchy is the name given to a place where there is no leader or rules. With no one to lead the people chaos pursued.

Dim light on Uncle Sam. Focus and brighten light on a group of yelling, fighting people. Caveman 1 hits Caveman 2. Uncle Sam moves off to right and speaks.

Uncle Sam:
Eventually, as more people were born...

People enter stage right and join the group.

Uncle Sam:
...people came together...

Cavewoman stands up on a rock. Group surrounds Cavewoman.

Everyone! Listen! Calm down!

Cavewoman sits down.

Cave people go about their business, eating and making tools. Continues while
Uncle Sam speaks.

Uncle Sam:
...and decided to form an organized group that would make decisions, create
rules, and establish a community. This type of group is known as a
government. The people who joined this group got to help make decisions, and
were protected by the others in the group.

Caveman extra pushes another caveman. Another caveman stops the fight.
Cavemen go about there business. Camera then focuses on Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam:
The people who are in this group are called “citizens”. In exchange for security, citizens must pledge their loyalty to their government. This was the beginning of monarchy, the first of a number of governments.
Uncle Sam walks to left into group of Cavemen. Uncle Sam turns and speaks to camera.

Uncle Sam:
The first government is believed to have been established during the Old and Middle Stone Age. Around the Neolithic (New Stone Age) the first government got very crowded. People began to leave and form their own governments.

Camera moves left. Group of cavemen leave, waving back. Uncle Sam moves into the picture.

Uncle Sam:
The original group government split into five groups: “big man” government, chiefdoms, complex chiefdoms, states, and empires. “Big Man” is the name given a government where one person took control...

Camera moves right into group of Cavemen. Man 1 rises. Everyone else sits.

Uncle Sam:
...and told everyone what to do. Most often, this person was the biggest...

Man 1 stands straight.

Uncle Sam:
...or strongest...

Man 1 flexes.

Uncle Sam:
...one that’s why it’s called “big man” government. Other times, this
person was either the most popular person...

Man 1 is greets group.

Man 1:

Hello (waves) everyone! (Walks around shaking people’s hands)

Uncle Sam (off sides):
...or most useful to the group.

Man 1:
I’m going to get some food for everyone! (Crowd cheers)
Move to Uncle Sam, spotlight on him. Cavemen exit.

Uncle Sam:
Soon enough, the “big man” started passing down power through his family.

Camera moves right. Lights brighten showing Man 1 passing crown to Man 2. Man 2 kneels and bows. Camera moves back to Uncle Sam, lights dim. .

Uncle Sam:
The “big man” began to have his people fight and control another people.

Group runs from right and attack Man 1 and 2, then Cavemen come from left run and protect the “Big Man.” Continue fighting as Uncle Sam speaks.

Uncle Sam:

Eventually, chiefdoms were formed around the Middle Bronze Age. As one village started to conquer others, the chiefdom became a group of villages with one village at the top and the others paying tribute to the leader.

Cavemen stop fighting. Group 2 surrenders. Group 2 gives food to Group 1

Uncle Sam:
But as time passed, the chiefdoms got larger, until finally, chiefs starting joining together and creating a complex chiefdom.

Group 3 Leader enters from left. Group 1 Leader shakes hands with Group 3 Leader. Lights dim, focus on Uncle Sam. Cavemen exit.

Uncle Sam:
The first known state began in Sumeria, around 3000 B.C. States are like a bigger more complicated chiefdom. The main difference between a state and chiefdom is the number of people who are in charge. In a chiefdom there are 3 levels of ruler: the super-chief...

Lights brighten. Super-chief stands surrounded by other chiefs.

Uncle Sam:
...the chiefs...

Chiefs stand

Uncle Sam:

...and then the chiefs’ friends...

Chiefs’ friends stand. Camera moves to Uncle Sam. Chiefs and friends exit.

Uncle Sam:
...who help him.
Camera moves to king and subordinates.
In a state, there are 5 levels of administration: the king...

King stands

Uncle Sam:
...the generals...

Generals stand

Uncle Sam:
...the governors...

Governors stand

Uncle Sam:
...the mayors...

Mayors stand

Uncle Sam:
...and the mayors’ assistants.

Mayors’ assistants stand. Dim light. Uncle Sam enters picture and begins to speak. King and subordinates exit.

Uncle Sam:
While, there are 5 levels of administration, only the top four levels actually have control over the government. Most often, the last level is only an aide or assistant to the higher rulers. In addition, the government has a legal force; in other words, in a state, only the government’s policemen or soldiers can make people do things.

Drunkard staggers onto screen. Policemen enter and forces man against wall.

Hey you can’t do that.

Policewoman 1:
Technically I can, because we are appointed by the state. You can’t force someone else to do something, but I can. We are controlled by the government, which allows us to do anything inside the law that benefits the state.

Camera moves onto Uncle Sam. Drunkard and Policewoman exit.

Uncle Sam:
In short, you aren’t allowed to have your own army or soldiers. But, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, a religious group may force their followers to live by their rules, even though they are not part of the government.

Camera cuts to crowd inside church. Crowd kneels when organ sounds. Uncle Sam enters.

Uncle Sam:
There are many different kinds of states. There are 5 main types of states. A monarchy is where one man or woman rules the government.

Cut to throne. King signs paper pretends to speak to crowd surrounding

Uncle Sam:
In an oligarchy a group of men and women rule together.

Camera moves to council. Board of people, sitting at talking, amongst each other. All nod, center person signs paper

Uncle Sam:
Tyranny is like a monarchy except the ruler rules outside of the law, mostly by force.

Tyrant enters from right, pushes tables over and takes all pens and paper. Tyrant faces camera.

I have taken control of the government, using powers methods that are illegal. Many times, tyrants, like me, change the law to make their overthrow the previous leader legal.

Uncle Sam enters and stands at right.

Uncle Sam:
Democracies are ruled by the people, who vote on what should or should not be done.
Crowd enters left and overthrows Tyrant.

Who would like to see fewer taxes?

Certain people raise their hands

Uncle Sam:
Republics are ruled by representatives who are elected by the people.

Senator 1, 2, 3 walk out of crowd, upright council table and sit. Camera focuses on them.

Senator 1:
We are elected officials. We represent the will of the public and carry out the law as we think the people would like.

Senator 2:
We have only as much power as the people grant us. We cannot rule beyond our station and can be replaced if someone else is elected to our office.

Senator 3:
Many states use a combination of a republic and a democracy in order to make the government more efficient. Since everyone cannot vote all the time, people are elected to vote for them.

Uncle Sam:
Many states mix more than one of these kinds of government together. The last type of government is an empire. It is thought that the first empires were created in Western Asia, under the Akaadians, then the Babylonians, and finally the Assyrians. The Egyptians has a lesser empire in the new Kingdom when they took Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

Camera dissolves into Sun, and then moves down showing Pharaoh sitting on throne with pyramid in background.

Uncle Sam enters left. Camera focuses on him.
Uncle Sam:
An empire is just like a state, except it has one more layer of government. States usually have 4 levels of rulers; empires have 5. An empire is made of many states put together.

Camera moves to Leaders with crowns. Leaders join together

Uncle Sam:
Sometimes these states are independent of each other, but sometimes they are
all one big state. The usual way that empires are created is that one state,
for some reason, gains more power than another state, and conquers it.

Big Leader walks over to Small Leader and takes his crown.

Uncle Sam:
The more powerful state will continue to conquer smaller states until either it finds a more powerful state that itself...

Bigger Leader puts hand up and stops Big Leader.

Uncle Sam:
...or it just becomes inconvenient to extend the empire any further. Eventually, the empire starts to weaken and breaks up into small states again.

Leaders break apart and run away from each other. Camera focuses on Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam:
The fact is, it is very hard to hold an empire together, and at some point, a
little problem is bound to break up the entire empire. Throughout the
history of empires, it has been found that fall of an empire was caused by
one minor disruption.

Frenchman and Powdered wig man enter from right. Frenchman yells at Powdered wig man

We need that flour for our bread! We’re starving!

Powdered wig man:
Well, we need that flour for our wigs.

Taps powdered wig. Frenchman runs at powdered wig man and tackles him. Fight on ground while Uncle Sam moves in and speaks.

Uncle Sam:
Despite this huge flaw, civilizations have continually created empires. In fact, with the coming of the Persians in 539 B.C., the West Asian empires became larger and expanded further. Furthermore, the states that the empire was consisted of began to lose their independence. They grew more and more reliant on the central states that created the empire. The timeline of
empires has shown that one empire eventually takes over another. The process continues until there is only one giant empire.

Show map of Alexander the Great’s Empire

Uncle Sam:
And, as always, the giant empire would eventually break apart.
Show map of the breakup of Alexander the Great's Empire

Uncle Sam:
After Persians were conquered by Alexander the Great, the empire disbanded.
Around 50 B.C., Western Asia was mostly under the rule of the Parthian
Empire. The Sassanian Empire soon followed them. The Mediterranean
Sea soon came under the Roman Empire.

Move to right of Uncle Sam. Roman soldiers march in phalanx with spears with Mediterranean

Uncle Sam:
At about 400 A.D., the Roman Empire broke up. Then in the 600’s A.D.
much of it was conquered by the Arabs and made into the Islamic Empire. Like
many before is, the Islamic Empire followed the cycle of collapsing and
rebuilding. While in the Europe, after Charlemagne’s death...

Show coffin with Charlemagne’s name in ?Latin?

Uncle Sam:
...no medieval ruler succeeded in building a empire to claim the power of the
Roman Empire, although many Holy Roman Emperors attempted to, but ultimately

Uncle Sam:

Camera moves to Homer in toga, sitting on rock, writing in book with ?quill?

Hello, I am Homer, Greek author of the Iliad, the epic poem that described
the conquests of the Greeks. I wrote about how the Greek city-states often
fought together against their mutual enemies, but were never joined as one
nation. Us Greeks only felt loyalty to our own city-states, which was odd,
considering how small each city-state was.

Uncle Sam sits next to Homer as he writes.

Uncle Sam:
Like Europe and North America, ancient Greece was divided into many small
nations rather than into a few large political forces. However, it was not
uncommon to find more than one city-state located within the same area, with
each centered on their own acropolis, or citadel. Only a few city-states
managed to gain control of an entire piece of land - Athens held all of
Attica, Argos controlled the plain of Argolis, and Sparta made a conquest of
Laconia and part of the plain of Messenia.
Uncle Sam starts to walk left as camera follows him.

Uncle Sam:
Many city-states, most significantly Athens, went through many states from
the time of Homer to earlier times in history. During the 8th and 7th
centuries, B.C., the kings of earlier times began to disappear. The first
monarchies led to the first oligarchies. An oligarchy is a state is ruled
by a council of people.

Cut to Council sitting at table

Uncle Sam:
It is believed that the first oligarchies were formed when a king died...

King staggers to table gripping his chest. King dies while lying on table from a heart attack

Uncle Sam:
...and the lords beneath him fought for power.

Leaders argue over power/land at table

Leader 1:
Why should you inherit all the throne?! You’re no better than us!

Leader 2:
Who are you to say that?! The land should go to whoever claims it first!

Leaders continue to bicker.

Uncle Sam:
It is thought that eventually some lords agreed to share power instead of
killing each other for it.
Two leaders shake hands.
Uncle Sam:

Unfortunately, the people had no say in how the

oligarchies ruled. The wealthy still were on top, and the poor were still on
the bottom. This “rule by the rich” eventually angered the people so much,
that it led to the creation of the third type of state - tyranny. Eventually
some person, rich or poor, took all the power of the government for his or
herself. This person was simply known as a “tyrant”.

Man 3:
Uh--Sire? The people are starving in the streets. There is no food.
Please...you must do something!

Tyrant 2:
NO! It’s their fault for being poor in the first place! Off with your head!

Guards come and take Man 3 away

Man 3:
Noooo! Mercy! Mercy!
Camera moves to show Uncle Sam, Man 3 and guards struggling.

Uncle Sam:
While, it would seem that an absolute ruler would be as far from fair as
possible, tyranny actually helped create a more just and equal government.
Later tyrants of the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., were the first to teach the
people of their rights and powers. Around 700 to 600 B.C., the Athenian
rulers created officials called “archons”, who were generally wealthy men who
came to power. Thus, the first aristocratic government, one ruled by the
rich, was made. By 400 B.C., Athens had gone through each of these
governments, and became the first recorded democracy in the world. In 621
BC., the peasants forced the nobility to change the written laws in Greece.

Peasants gathered in square

Change the laws! Change the laws!

Uncle Sam:
This spelled a great advancement for democracy. For the first time in
history, the people chose how to be ruled. Thanks to the reforms by
Cleisthenes in 509 B.C., the power of the people was soundly instituted.

Uncle Sam:

Cleisthenes, a Greek aristocrat, originally created the idea for a democracy

in 510 B.C.
Camera cuts to show Cleisthenes sitting in chair, thinking. Idea sparks in his mind.
Uncle Sam:

Despite the great good that a democracy would do, Cleisthenes

formulated the idea for a democracy in hopes of making himself more popular.

Cleisthenes grins evilly. Starts to write out ideas.

Uncle Sam:
Recent aristocrats had become tyrants and ruled without consideration of the
people. These made them extremely unfavored by the public, and were sometimes overthrown. Cleisthenes wanted more power, but was afraid of the
consequences of being disliked by the citizens. So, to ensure that no one
wanted him out of power, Cleisthenes promised the public the power to rule
themselves. To do this, every Athenian man would have one vote on every
Cut to Cleisthenes speaking in front of crowd.

You will all get a vote!

Uncle Sam enters crowd.
Uncle Sam:

They would meet together in what would be called the Assembly.

Unfortunately, all the men of Athens couldn’t meet every day because they had
to work, so a smaller council of only 500 men was chosen by a lottery.
Show names on paper in a hat.
Uncle Sam:

Now it would seem that Cleisthenes would have no power, but he arranged it so

that his own family had more votes than everyone else.

Uncle Sam:
Cleisthenes’s ideas led to the formation of the first democracy. While this
was a big step towards the modern democracy, the people still directly voted,
which is not how modern democracies work. The word democracy means “the rule
of the people” in Greek, but many problems arose for the people when voting. Should kids be
allowed to vote?

Uncle Sam:
The modern democracy was created through a whole series of important events
in which the people gained more and more control over their government. In
the Middle Ages, democracy was not used, but the idea was
spread when a rising merchant and middle class felt deprived of their rights just before the beginning of the Renaissance. Then, once the Renaissance occurred, the idea was spread throughout the European world by the writings of popular philosophers.

Uncle Sam:
Many religions stressed as one of their key points that all men are created equal. This
led to feudalism, which had a system where everyone had rights and could
defend their rights in court.
Kid 1:
I wanna vote Mommy!

Camera moves to visitor

Uncle Sam:
Should visitors?

Visitor 1:
Even though I am only passing through, I think I should help decide the
future of these people.

Uncle Sam:
Should women?

Camera moves to woman

Woman 1:
Why should I be deprived of the right to vote?
Camera moves back to Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam:
It was determined that limits should be set on who could or could not vote.
After all, does a child know what’s best for him or her?
Uncle Sam:

The United States uses a form of government known as a republic. In this government, people elect leaders to govern the nation.

Crowd enters. Calls out President's name. President walks to a podium, starts talking, crowd cheers.


(Faces crowd) Thank you for electing me. (Faces camera) While many think that America is a democracy, it is not. America is actually an indirect or representative democracy. Elected officials, like me, represent the will of the people and thus, we are known as representatives. We representatives compete for the vote of the people. (Motion towards crowd) This contest is the political process of the United States. Whenever a government allows people to vote on matters, it is some form of a democracy.

President leaves podium. Lights dim. Lights brighten. Cleisthenes is seen on a stand.


I (motion towards self), Cleisthenes, created the first democracy. Democracy is Greek for the rule of the people. I created the first democracy in the Greek city-state of Athens. When I offered the citizens of Athens a chance to rule themselves I made a huge step towards the modern democratic government.

Cleisthenes exits left. Light on Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam:

In the United States, almost all elections are held the same way - two or more candidates run for a position and the one that gets the most votes wins. This is quite odd considering that most democracies use the proportional representation (PR) system. In this system, there are many positions to be elected by the same ballot, on either a region- or country-wide basis. Voters usually vote for a party...

Group 1 steps forward. Crowd cheers. Group 1 steps back. Group 2 steps forward. Not as many members of Crowd cheer. Group 2 steps back.

Uncle Sam:

...not an individual. The winning party then chooses its own members to fill positions in the different branches of government. Depending on how many votes that party receives; they get to fill that many positions.

Members from both groups (more from Group 1) sit at seats.

Senator 1:

Different countries use different mathematical formulas to calculate how many positions you get per vote, thus there is no universal formula to distribute elected officials of the Proportional Representation system. The biggest advantage of the Proportional Representation system over America's voting system is that even the smallest party has a chance to hold some position within the government. There are many different variations on the Proportional Representation system.

Senator 2:

The closed list system, every voter has one vote and one vote only. Each party lists its candidates in order of rank. Depending on how many seats that party wins, the corresponding candidates are elected. For example, if a party wins four seats (person pull 4 chairs outward) then the top four candidates are elected (four politicians sit at seats). Another twist on the original PR system is the open list system. The open list system is much like the closed list system, except that you can also vote for one candidate that you like. Depending on the number of votes that candidate receives, he or she might receive a higher ranking within the party. This makes it even easier for a not-so-wealthy or not-so-powerful candidate to become elected instead of another candidate.

Dim light on table with politicians. Brighten light on Uncle Sam.

Uncle Sam:

When Athens’s democracy showed signs of success, many other Greek city-states decided to

follow them. However, other states were more exclusive about voting rights.
Another problem with democracy was that voting took time out from work.
People could not directly vote on every decision that they faced. So,
democratic republics came to be. In these republics, people voted for
representatives to vote for them on issues, rather than handling the problems

Camera focuses on voting sign. Sign reads “Vote Smith for Governor!”

Uncle Sam:
As time came to pass, the Romans decided to overthrow the Etruscan kings. In
Rome, the peasants didn’t mind the higher monarchy, but the aristocrats
wanted more power.

Aristocrats sitting at table arguing.

Aristocrat 1:
Why should the king get all the power! We’re just as good as he is.

Aristocrat 2:

We have to get rid of him!

Uncle Sam:
Unfortunately, the aristocrats could not remove the king by themselves.

Camera focuses on aristocrats arguing over table

Uncle Sam:
So, to gain the support of the public, the aristocrats promised the poor that
they would get a chance to influence the government. But, the aristocrats
did not use a democracy to do this. Instead, they allowed the Roman citizens
to elect officials to rule for them - enter democratic republics.

Camera moves to show Roman peasants in crowd listening to official about
issues to vote on. Half people raise their hands, and then the other half does.

Uncle Sam:
There was a catch, however. Only the aristocrats could hold such positions.
A few more years passed and the poor citizens decided to force the
aristocrats to allow other people to be elected to the office of a tribune.
Also, the aristocrats were forced to read all the laws to the people.

Show peasants handing papers to aristocrats. Aristocrat reads reluctantly.

Uncle Sam:

In 1215 A.D., the Magna Carta was signed by

King John. This established basic laws that applied even to the king, and was one of the first documents to impose work ethics, even though this only dealt with the time one could be called up for military service and pay one receives for military service, it was a huge step forward for the establishment of the American government. As a matter of fact, the colonists went to war in 1775 to defend rights granted in this 13th century document.

Camera on king signing documents

Uncle Sam:
Nobles forced John to sign this document in order to create the English
“Parliament” or law-making council. This helped in the formation of other
republics. The biggest step towards modern democracy was the American

Camera on American Flag moving in the wind

Uncle Sam:
In the Declaration of Independence...

Show Declaration of Independence with signatures

Uncle Sam:
...Thomas Jefferson states that all men were created equal. These ideas were
rooted deep within the theories of John Locke and Jacques Rousseau. When
America won its independence, the first modern democracy was formed. This
event led to other revolutions that helped further the idea of democracy,
such as the French and Russian Revolution.

Political scientists have classified 10 different types of voting systems. Due to our virtually non-existent experience with other countries’ voting systems, the average American knows very little of the outside world's voting system. While many think that America's voting system is the most common, they are wrong. America is actually a minority when it comes to the world in manners of voting systems. Throughout the world, there are five ways to vote. Old style paper ballots...

People are taking pieces of paper into little, shrouded rooms. They return after brief moments, with their papers folded. They all put the papers in a box on a stand, one by one. Dim light

Uncle Sam:

...punch card systems...

People take booklets and use hole punchers to punch holes in the booklets. Then they turn them into the counters. Counters start counting.


Punch cards are easy to use, but extremely confusing. In fact, many elderly people have trouble using them. Despite this, the punch card system is still widely used for voting, due to its reliability. Many feel that the punch card system should be eliminated because of how often voters are confused. The most recent example of this would be the 2001 Presidential Elections and the whole controversy caused by the punch cards. Regardless of how confusing it is, the punch card is still widely used.

Uncle Sam:

...optical scan systems, mechanical lever machines, and computer touch screens.


Optical scan systems - which run much like Scantron machines - read the marks that you make on a paper ballot and register it in its databank. However, this system still has its faults. If the papers are marked incorrectly or in the wrong way, the machine will not read them properly and the ballot will be marked invalid.
People take papers, punch holes in them, and insert them into a slot on a machine. Technician presses button on machine and turns towards camera.

By far, the oldest innovation to voting is the mechanical lever system. Older states, like Virginia, use them the most often. Due to the fact that no new machines are manufactured anymore, the existing machines must constantly be repaired and restored. Regardless of their quirks, they are considered extremely reliable. The name is pretty self-explanatory. You simple pull the lever that corresponds with the candidate and the machine keeps track of how many times the lever is pulled.

People line up to use a machine. They pull the levers.

Uncle Sam:

The newest type of system is that which incorporates touch screen machines. While the type of machine is varied, their use is almost completely uniform. A ballot is displayed and voters simply touch the box or place where they are instructed to do so. Usually, a card is given to the voter prior to their voting. The voter inserts his or her card into the machine. After voting, the machine electronically imbedded into it.
Person puts card into slot. Presses buttons on screen. Cards come out. Person hands card to Counter.
Uncle Sam:

The main advantage of these machines is that one machine can be used for multiple ballots. While that is great, the main drawback is how, like computers, they experience occasional glitches.

Technician walks up to machine. Lifts cap. Scratches head. Whacks the machine a couple of times with wrench. Turns towards camera

Throughout the rest of the world there is basically no system besides the traditional paper ballot. The main reason why there are no real voting technologies in the outside world is that most countries only have an important election every three or four years, making the purchase or development of new voting machines is unnecessary and not cost-effective.

Uncle Sam:

It has been proven through the history of voting that no single system of voting is 100 percent fail-proof (machine falls apart in background), nor is any system completely accurate. However, the world does not seem to need any other type of voting besides the simplest one, which, as displayed by smaller countries, seems to be the most effective.

Uncle Sam:

Let’s review…

Governments were formed by the need for an organized society, settle disputes and establish order within a country. The first governments were known as “Bigman” governments due to the fact that the government consisted only of a single person, who was most useful or popular. Democracy began when the Greeks developed a system of government in which all the people get a vote, and a supreme council makes decision based on the people’s votes. However, by the time the Roman Empire fell, democracy had vanished. The next few hundred years would be dominated by large systems on monarchies. That was soon to end, when the Renaissance began, ideas of democracy spread once more, and the ideas of democracy began to rise. However, it was during this time that other governments also began to develop, among them early forms of communism and facism. The first lasting representative democracy was formed when the United States won their revolutionary war in 1783, and has lasted to this date.

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