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Chapter 7 - People, Politics, and Participation

by: tori_wren

Chapter 7 - People, Politics, and Participation 1336

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This is an outline of Chapter 7 - People, Politics, and Participation and includes Chapter 7 vocabulary and definition
US and Texas Const/Politics
Sharon M Davis
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This 17 page Class Notes was uploaded by tori_wren on Saturday January 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1336 at University of Houston taught by Sharon M Davis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 153 views. For similar materials see US and Texas Const/Politics in Political Science at University of Houston.


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Date Created: 01/23/16
Wren 1 Chapter 7 - People, Politics, and Participation American Democracy Now - Vocabulary • Authoritarianism: system of government in which the government holds strong powers but is checked by some forces • Capitalism: an economic system in which the means of producing wealth are privately owned and operated to produce profits • Citizens: members of the polity who, through birth or nationalization, enjoy the rights, privileges, and responsibilities attached to membership in a given nation • Civic Engagement: individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern • Consent of the Governed: the idea that, in a democracy, the government’s power derives from the consent of the people Conservatism: an ideology that emphasizes preserving tradition and relying on • community and family as mechanisms of continuity in society • Constitutionalism: • Democracy: government in which supreme power of governance lies in the hands of its citizens • Direct Democracy: a structure of government in which citizens discuss and decide policy through majority rule • Divine Right of Kings: he assertion that monarchies, as a manifestation of God’s will, could rule absolutely without regard to the will or well-being of their subjects • Efficacy: citizen actions that are intended to solve public problems through political means 1 Wren 1 • Government: the institution that creates and implements policies and laws that guide the conduct of the nation and its citizens • Indirect Democracy: sometimes called a representative democracy, a system in which citizens elect representatives who decide policies on behalf of their constituents • Legitimacy: a quality conferred on government by citizens who believe that its exercise of power is right and proper • Liberalism: an ideology that advocates change in the social, political, and economic realms to better protect the well-being of individuals and to produce equality within society • Libertarianism: an ideology whose advocates believe that government should take a “hands-off” approach in most matters • Liberty: the most essential quality of American democracy; it is both the freedom from governmental interference in citizens’ lives and the freedom to pursue happiness • Limited Government: • Majority Rule: the idea that, in a democracy,only policies with 50 percent plus one vote are enacted • Monarchy: government in which a member of a royal family has absolute authority over a territory and its government • Natural Law: the assertion that standards that government human behavior are derived from the nature of humans themselves and can be applied university • Naturalization: the process of becoming a citizen by means other than birth, as in the case of immigrants Oligarchy: government in which an elite few hold power • 2 Wren 1 • Political Culture: the people’s collective beliefs and attitude about government and political processes • Political Engagement: citizen actions that are intended to solve public problems through political means • Political Ideology: an ideology that advocates change in the social, political, and economic realms to better protect that well-being of individuals and to produce equality within society • Politics: the process of deciding who benefits in society and who does not • Popular Sovereignty: the theory that government is created by the people and depends on the people for the authority to rule • Property: anything that can be owned • Public Goods: goods whose benefits cannot be limited and that are available to all • Social Contract: an agreement between people and their leaders in which the people agree to give up some liberties so that their other liberties are protected • Social Contract Theory: the idea that individuals possess free will and that every individual is equally endowed with the God-given right of self-determination and the ability to consent to be governed • Socialism: an ideology that advocates economic equality, theoretically achieved by having the government or workers own the means of production (business and industry) • Totalitarianism: system of government in which the government essentially controls every aspect of people’s lives 3 Wren 1 - Intro. • The U.S. was founded by individuals who believed in the power of democracy to respond to the will of citizens - The story of the U.S. is the story of people who are involved with their government, who know what they want their government to do, and who have confidence in their ability to influence its policies - Your beliefs and your voice—and ultimately how you use those beliefs and that voice—matter - “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead - Why Should You Study American Democracy Now? • Advances in technology have altered the political landscape in many ways - In some countries, these advances have facilitated the overthrow of governments - In other countries, they are changing how voters and candidates communicate with each other • The political landscape has also changed because of world events - In the past several years, a slow recovery from a global recession has placed demands on governments • These shifts in how Americans interact with government and in what issues concern them represent distinct changes that make the study of politics today important How Technology Has Changed Politics • - Today, many voters get much of their information from social media and Internet- based news sites and blogs 4 Wren 1 • Campaigns rely on instant messaging, and they use websites and social media to communicate with and organize supporters - Because of these unprecedented shifts, Americas today face both new opportunities and new challenges • As a student, you are a member of one of the most tech-savvy groups in the country, and your participation is to sorting out the opportunities and obstacles of this next stage of American democracy • The Political Context Now - Policy makers and private citizens also have placed the issue of economic equality—and the government’s responsibility to create more equitable conditions —on the national political agenda • Government officials today seek to walk a fine line between placating those demanding action on the economy to create more equitable conditions and those who fear that increased government spending and regulations on business will overburden a fragile recovery process - Also part of the U.S. political context is a global environment, which is characterized by violence and instability • These domestic and foreign policy debates take place within the context of a post-September 11 world - That event inexorably changed both our national consciousness and the global political environment - The U.S’s international image was altered in light of the nation’s decision to engage in a multi-front war on terror, as well as Americans’ attitudes about their government and their priorities - Then the political context changed again as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq wore on. Trust in government plummeted 5 Wren 1 • Distrust; lack of efficacy, and apathy are prevalent among young people - These attitudes are expressed through one of the most easily measured contexts: voter turnout • Evidence indicates that many young people are enthusiastic participants in civic and political life • Others are taking part in nontraditional participation, including Internet activism and using one’s power as a consumer to send political messages - Engaged citizens are knowledgeable about public issues; actively communicate with policy makers; and press government officials to carry out the people’s will - Local communities, sates, and the nation benefit from an engaged populace • Governments are more effective when people voice their views • Civic Engagement: Acting on Your Views - Engage in a respectful, continuing conversation about your views and to make the connection between having ideas and opinions and acting on them - What Government Does • To protect their sovereign territory (that is, the territory over which they have the ultimate governing authority) and their citizenry (at home and abroad) and to provide national defense • To preserve order and stability - They provide emergency services and security in the wake of disasters - They also provide a political structure that has legitimacy • To establish and maintain a legal system 6 Wren 1 - They enact and enforce laws that restrict or ban certain behaviors, the foundation of this being the federal Constitution - They also implement laws through the actions of local police and state/national law enforcement agencies - Governments administer justice and impose penalties • To provide services - Federal, state, and local governments provide roads, bridges, transportation, education, and health services - They facilitate communication, commerce, air travel, and entertainment - Many of the services they provide are called public goods because their benefits cannot be limited to specific groups or individuals • To raise and spend money - Governments at all levels spend money collected through taxes • To socialize new generations - Governments play a role in socialization, the process by which individuals develop their political values and opinions - Types of Government • In a monarchy, a member of a royal family (king or queen) has absolute authority over a territory and its governments - Constitution monarchies: the monarch plays a certain emonial role but has little say in the governance, which is carried out by elected leaders • In an oligarchy, an elite few hold power 7 Wren 1 - Dictatorships: a ruler with total power over a country, typically one who has obtained power by force • In a democracy, the supreme power of governance lies in the hands of the citizens • Governments that rule according to principles of totalitarianism essentially control every aspect of their citizens’ lives - Citizens enjoy night rights nor freedoms, and the state is the tool of the dictator When a government rules by the principles of authoritarianism, it holds strong • powers, but they are checked by other forces within the society - Leaders are restrained in their exercise of power by political parties, constitutions, and the military - Individuals may enjoy some rights, but often those rights are not protected by the government • Constitutionalism, a form of government structured by law, provides for limited government—a government that is restricted in what it can do so that the rights of the people are protected - They can be democracies or monarchies - The Origins of American Democracy • The ancient Greeks first developed the concept of democracy - They were not democracies in the modern sense of the term, but the way they were governed provided the philosophical origins of American democracy • Democracy’s Origins in Popular Protest: The Influence of the Reformation and the Enlightenment - We can trace the seeds of the idea of modern democracy almost as far back as the concept of monarchy 8 Wren 1 • Jacques-Benigne Bossuet argued that monarchies, as a manifestation of God’s will, could rule absolutely without regard to the will or well-being of their subjects - At odds with the divine right of kings was the idea that people could challenge the Crown and the church—institutions that seemed all-powerful • This idea took hold during the Protestant Reformation, a movement to reform the Catholic Church (Protestants challenged basic tenets of Catholicism and sought to purify the church) • Martin Luther, a German monk who would later found the Lutheran Church, criticized the harmful practices of the Catholic Church - In England, some extreme Protestants, known as Puritans, asserted their right to communicate directly with God through prayer rather than through an intermediary such as a priest • This idea lent support to the notion that the people could govern themselves Faced with persecution in England, congregation of Puritans, known as • Pilgrims, fled to America, where they established self-governing colonies The Pilgrims drew up the Mayflower Compact in which they agreed to by • governed by the structure of government they formed, thereby establishing the idea of consent of the governed - In the late 17th century came the early beginnings of the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement that stressed the importance of individuality, reason, and scientific endeavor • This drastically changed how people thought about the universe and the world around them • Newton’s work in physics, astronomy, math, and mechanics demonstrated the power of science. His ideas about the natural law laid the foundation for the ideas of the political philosophers of the Enlightenment 9 Wren 1 • The Modern Political Philosophy of Hobbes and Locke - Thomas Hobbes, who believed in the righteousness of absolute monarchies, argued that the strong that the strong naturally prey on the weak and that through a social contract, individuals who relinquish their rights can enjoy the protection offered by a sovereign - John Locke systematically rejected the notion that the rationale for the divine right of kings is based on scripture • He argued that individuals possess certain unalienable (or natural) rights, which he identified as the rights to life, liberty, and property, ideas that would prove pivotal in shaping the Declaration of Independence - Jean-Jacques Rousseau stated that governments formed by social contract rely on popular sovereignty • Social contract theory would eventually form the theoretical framework of the Declaration of Independence • The Creation of the United States as an Experiment in Representative Democracy - The logic behind the rejection of the divine right of kings—the idea that monarchs were not chosen by God—was that people could govern themselves • Nearly all the American colonies had councils structure according to the principle of representative democracy, or indirect democracy - Political Culture and American Values • “America isn’t bound together by emotion. It’s bound together together by things that transcend emotion, by principles and laws, by ideals of freedom and justice that need constant articulation.” These ideals are part of American political culture • Liberty 10 Wren 1 - Liberty: the most essential quality of American democracy • The colonies were founded by people who were interested in one notion of liberty: religious freedom • Those who fought in the War of Independence were intent on obtaining economic and political freedom • The framers of the Constitution other liberties, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of association - Liberties have often conflicted with efforts by the government to ensure and secure and stable society by exerting restraints on liberties • When government officials infringe on personal liberties, they often do so in the name of security - They meaning of liberty—how we define our freedom—is constantly evolving • Today, technological innovation prompts new questions about individual privacy, including what information the government should by privy to • Equality - The founders of the Declaration of Independence had ideas of equality that evolved from the emphasis the ancient Greeks placed on equality of opportunity • The Greeks envisioned a merit-based system in which educated freemen could participate in democratic government rather than inheriting their positions as a birthright • The Judeo-Christian religions—Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—stress that all people are equal in the eyes of God - The idea of equality evolved during the 19th and 20th centuries • In the early American republic, all women, as well as men of color, were denied fundamental rights, including the right to vote 11 Wren 1 • Several groups are still engaged in the struggle for legal equality today, notably gay and lesbian rights organizations and groups that advocate for fathers’, children's, and immigrants’ rights • Capitalism - In a pure capitalist economy, the marketplace determines the regulation of production, the distribution of goods and services, wages, and prices - Although capitalism is an important value in American democracy, the U.S. government imposes certain regulations on the economy - One key compete of capitalism is property: it holds such a prominent position in American culture that it is considered a natural right • Consent of the Governed - Implicit in Locke’s social contract is the principle that the people agree to the government’s authority, and if the government no longer has the consent of the governed, the people have the right to revolt - Governments based on majority rule include the idea that the majority has the right of self-governance and typically also protect the rights of people in the minority • Individual, Family, and Community - The importance of the individual—an independent, hearty entity exercising self determination—has powerfully shaped the development of the U.S., both geographically and politically - Family and community have also played central roles in the U.S. political culture - Communities have channeled individuals’ political participation - Ideology: A Prism for Viewing American Democracy 12 Wren 1 • Political ideology provides a framework for thinking about politics, about policy issues, and about the role of government in society - In the U.S., one key component of various ideologies is the extent to which adherents believe that the government should have a role in people’s everyday lives • Liberalism - Modern liberalism in the U.S. is associated with the ideas of liberty and political equality • They emphasize the importance of civil liberties as well as advocate the separation of church. In addition, they support political equality • The historical roots reach back to the ideals of classical liberalism • Whereas classical liberals emphasized the virtues of a free market economy, modern liberals advocated government involvement in economic affairs • Conservatism - Advocates of conservatism recognize the importance of preserving tradition—of maintaining the status quo, or keeping things the way they are • Modern conservative ideals are consistent with the views of classical liberalism - One key difference between modern liberals and conservative has been their view of the role of government • Modern liberals believe that the government should play a role in ensuring the public’s well-being, whether through the regulation of industry or the economy, through anti-discrimination laws, or by providing an economic “safety net” for the neediest members of society By contrast, conservatives believe that government should play a more limited • role in people’s everyday lives 13 Wren 1 • Conservatives believe in the importance of individual initiative as a key determinant of success • Other Ideologies on a Traditional Spectrum: Socialism and Libertarianism - Although liberals and conservatives dominate the U.S. political landscape, other ideologies reflect the views of some Americans - Socialism lies to the left of liberalism on the political spectrum It stresses economic equality that is achieved through government or workers • owning the means of production - Libertarianism can be found to the right of conservatism on a traditional ideological spectrum • Libertarians believe that the less government intervention, the better • A Three-Dimensional Political Model - A one-dimensional ideological continuum is limited because it sometimes fails to reflect the complexity of many individuals’ views - Scholars have developed various multidimensional scales that attempt to represent peoples’ ideologies more accurately • Many of these scales measure people’s opinions on the proper role of government in the economy - Ideology is one of the most important factors influencing people’s belief structure about the types of issues they prioritize and the solutions they see to various policy challenges - The Chaining Face of American Democracy • Immigrants have always been part of the country’s population growth, and over the centuries they have made innumerable contributions to American life and culture 14 Wren 1 - Immigrants form lands all around the world have faced the kinds of struggles that today’s undocumented immigrants encounter. And efforts to improve the lot of immigrant populations are not new either • A Population That Is Growing—and on the Move - All the factors contributing to U.S. population growth—including immigration, the birth rate, falling infant mortality rates, and longer life spans—influence both politics and policy, as the ongoing debate about immigration reform shows - Accompanying the increase in population over the years has been a shift in the places where people live Census data indicates that many of the states in the Midwest are facing an out- • migration of population, particularly of younger residents who are moving to metropolitan areas seeking employment • An Aging Population - AS the U.S. population increases and favors new places of residence, it is also aging • Some areas of the U.S. are well-known meccas for older Americans Older people are concentrated in the Midwest and Plains states because of the • high levels of out-migration form these areas by younger Americans, who are leaving their parents behind to look for opportunity elsewhere • A Changing Complexion: Race and Ethnicity in the United States Today - The population of the United States is becoming not only older but also more racially and ethnically diverse • Hispanics now make up a greater proportion of the U.S. population than do blacks • The percentage of Asian Americans has more than doubled in recent decades 15 Wren 1 • The Native American population has increased marginally • The proportion of people reporting that they belonged to two or more racial groups—this category was not an option on the census questionnaire until 2000, and the population proportion of this group has doubled since that time • Changing Households: American Families Today - The types of families that are counted by the U.S. census are also becoming more diverse • The traditional nuclear family, consisting of a stray-at-home mother, a breadwinning father, and their children, was at one time the stereotypical “ideal family” in the U.S. • But since the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s, the American family has changed drastically • Most 18- to 24-year-olds also lived in their parents home - The primary factor for this shift is economic: Young people have higher unemployment rates than older workers • Also on the rise is the proportion of single-person households - Explanations for these trends include the tendency of people to marry at an older age and the fact that, as the population ages, rising numbers of individuals are left widowed • Finally, the proportion of the population living in non family households, both those living alone and those living with others, rose slightly • Why the Changing Population Matters for Politics and Government - Each of the changes to the U.S. population described here as implications for American democracy 16 Wren 1 • As the nature of the electorate shifts, a majority of the nation’s people may have different priorities, and various policies may become more or less important - Conclusion: Thinking Critically About What’s Next in American Democracy The fast-paced changes in American society today make participation in • government and civic life more vitally important than ever - Today, it is clear that generational changes underscore why it is essential for members of that generation to voice their views - Technology will continue to play a significant role in how they and the population at large communicate and participate in politics and how government creates and administers policy - Demographic changes in American society are giving rise to new public policy demands and creating new challenges University of Houston - American Democracy Now. (Texas Edition|Fourth Edition), McGraw Hill, 2014. Harrison, Harris, Halter, and Deardorff 17


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