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American Government

by: Cal0310

American Government 101

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American Government
Joseph Romance
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Cal0310 on Friday January 29, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 101 at Fort Hays State University taught by Joseph Romance in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see American Government in Political Science at Fort Hays State University.

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Date Created: 01/29/16
American Government – Chapter 1 Politics – is the process by which societies govern themselves. It is also the process through which people resolve their conflicts peacefully. Government – Refers to the institutions that have the authority to make rules that are binding on society. Another way of defining it is to say that it consists of those institutions that hold a monopoly on the legitimate use of force in society. Purposes of the government: Maintaining order, providing public goods and promoting equality. Anarchy aka total freedom. Romulus and Remus (Roman Empire) – The strongest should rule. Political Culture – Consists of the values that most members of a society hold about what politics ought to address and how these matters should be addressed. Gives people a sense of what government ought to deal with and what is appropriate. Societal Culture – includes all socially transmitted patterns of behavior as well as all the beliefs, customs and institutions within the society. Democracy – is a broad term encompassing a variety of related ideas and practices. It’s a term deriving from the Greek word “demos” and “kratia.” Meaning the people and authority. Democracy means rule by the people. Direct Democracy – Decisions made by the people directly (towns), rather than representatives. Aristocracy – Rule by the “best”. In reality – rule by the dominant. Aristotle – Defined democracy as the rule of the many as opposed to aristocracy which means the rule of the few. Authority – The recognized right of a particular individual, group or institution. Legitimacy – Popular acceptance of the right & power of a government or other authority. Coup d-etat – similar to a revolution. Polis aka a city – state. John Locke – “Two Treaties”, Natural Law, Sovereignty (the right to rule), natural rights and a limited government. Thomas Hobbes – “Levianthan”, he believed that there was no middle ground between an all powerful king and an anarchy (total absence of a government). People are not capable of governing themselves. “State of Nature,” a society in which no government exists. Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Participatory Democracy, The Social Contract and “reign of terror” in 1789. Adam Smith – “The Wealth of Nations.” Representative Institutions – A democracy must have one or more of these empowered to make decisions for the society. Voting - generally considered to be the elemental act of political participation in a representative democracy. Universal Suffrage - means that all adult citizens have the right to vote. Women did not have the right to vote until 1920. Two core values of democracy are freedom and equality. All citizens are entitled to certain basic rights and all citizens must be treated equally by the state. Representative Democracy based on the principle of majority rule is subject to two basic problems. The majority/individual problem and the majority/minority problem. Constitutional Democracy – is as appropriate term as is representative democracy. The United States has a capitalist economy – it is based on the principles of private property and private enterprise. Socialist Economy – where government controls major industries and works to eradicate differences in wealth. Socialism – In many democracies, socialism is an accepted alternative to be considered within the democratic institutions of that country. Communism – totalitarian socialism that favors government control of all and rejects individual rights. Individualism – Dominant characteristic of American political culture. Daniel Elazar – popularized the concept of political culture as a way of understanding American politics. He described the fabric of American political culture made up of three subcultures: Individualistic political culture, Moralistic political culture and Traditionalistic political culture. American political culture has developed a strong sense of regionalism. Institutions – An ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society. American institutions can be divided into 3 broad categories: Governmental Institutions (the existence of which may be traced to the federal and state constitutions), Intermediary Institutions (political parties that mediate between government and the people), and Societal Institutions (which exist primarily by custom and not primarily political in character – ex. family). Totalitarian regime – Government that has unlimited power to control all parts of society. Authoritarian regime – Power is limited to hands of an elite or group of elites. Intermediary Institutions – Provide linkages between the governing elites and the masses. They help connect people to the political process following what the government is doing. Political Socialization - the transmission of political values and beliefs. Societal Institutions play an important role in political socialization. Communitarians - also known as commentators believe that unrestricted individualism is harmful to a democratic political system. Conflicting Views of Equality – Political, Social, Equality of Opportunity and Equality of Outcome. Civic engagement – is “working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non – political processes.” Robert Putnam – “Bowling Alone” – Americans have become less civically engaged. Multiculturalism – the belief that different cultures can and should coexist in the same society. Ideology – refers to a coherent system of beliefs and values that lead people to form opinions on social, economic and political questions. Populists – People who believe in more regulation across the board. Libertarians – Those who favor less regulation consistently. Conservatives – Believe in free-market economics while favoring more regulation. Liberals – Favoring fewer behavioral restrictions but more aggressive oversight of economic matters. Moderates – They are in the middle of the ideological spectrum without a party to anchor them. Economic Conservative – Who favors a fiercely capitalist ideology that favors free market solutions to problems and minimal government intervention in the economy. Cultural Conservative – Believes in maintaining traditional values and institutions, opposing abortions, gay marriages and other policies they feel to be morally improper. Different sides on American Democracy: Majoritarianism – Government should do what the majority of people want. Pluralism – Politics is made of conflict and compromise among interest groups. To balance duties and rights: Order vs. Liberty, Order vs. Equality and Liberty vs. Equality. Nazi – stands for the National Socialist German Workers Party (Hitler).


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