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Chapter 1

by: Meghan Arsenault
Meghan Arsenault
Bridgewater State University
GPA 3.6

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The American People
Intro to American Government
Class Notes
political science
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Meghan Arsenault on Tuesday February 16, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 172 at Bridgewater State University taught by in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see Intro to American Government in Political Science at Bridgewater State University.

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Date Created: 02/16/16
Chapter 1: The American People A Demographic Profile  North America o Early cultural diversity o First immigrants (Indians/Native Americans) went on to found many civilizations o Us Census Bureau recognizes 564 tribes o Umbrella term European for other immigrants deceptive  These settlers came from countries that differed in many ways (language, religion, politics), but also often had been at war with each other.  Immigration & Ethnic Diversity  Earliest Europeans of the southeastern and southwestern territories were likely to be  Roman Catholics from France and Spain (Northeast) o Much of what is now Arizona,  New Mexico, California, and Texas was populated by Mexican Catholics of mixed Spanish and Indian descent (Southwest) o Germany provided more immigrants than England  Immigrants would often self­segregate into territories (Asians­The West) o Helped produce distinctive and state cultures  Africans o United by non­citizenship/slavery even though from diverse backgrounds  Immigration Policy o Moved from state to federal government o Congress began restricting immigration in 1798  Alien Act  Immigration broadened in the 19  century o Eastern Europe, China, and Japan o Ireland and Germany o 1907—restriction of Japanese entry to Hawaii   Surges led to efforts to slow the number of admissions o New categories post­ WWII of categories denied entry   Anarchists, revolutionaries, communist party members, others deemed  undesirable  Voluntary returnees; deportations o Great Depression  1965 Civil Rights Movement o End of nationality restrictions on immigration o Door opened to everyone  Illegal immigration –Mexican border; overstay visas o Impact of recession  o Undocumented residents estimated to be about 4 percent of the total population  and 5 percent of the labor force American Diversity  Census o Every ten years (zero zero year)  Identify how many people there are in the country o Mandated by the Constitution o Determines the size and distribution of population within the states o Purpose of apportioning the fixed number of seats in the House of  Representatives o 435 seats in House of Representatives o 100 seats in the Senate  Controversies in 2010 o Democrats favor the fullest count possible  Believe most of the uncounted poor and minorities  More like to vote democratic o Republicans resist efforts to produce more accurate counts  Believe in small government  o Tally should only include citizens NOT those who are not citizens Immigration and Ethnic Diversity Preference System o Family reunification o High demand job skills  Science, math, engineering, and medicine o Diversity admissions  From countries that have historically low rates of legal immigration   Refugees and asylees 2008: 1.1 million people granted legal residency o More born in Mexico than any other country o Followed distantly by persons born in China, India, the Philippines and Cuba o Trends likely to continue given the preference system, particularly family  reunification Immigration and Political Cleavage  Anti­foreign, or nativist, sentiments common throughout our history  Usually most pronounced when immigration levels are high and economic times are bad o Wave of Irish immigration due to the potato famine in the 1840’s—anti­Irish and  anti­Catholic sentiment  Know­Nothing Party o Purges of Chinese from California; Exclusion Law of 1882 o WWI—anti­German hostility o Red Scare—anti­Russian and Eastern European immigrant sentiment o All, however, contributed strongly to the making of America Religious Diversity  Many of the earliest settlers came here to escape religious persecution  New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland o “plantations of religion” o Gave state protection to specific religious groups  Rhode Island; religion dissent Roger Williams o Massachusetts’ Puritan society had executed Quakers and banned Catholic  priests  Founders did not include an official religion, although some wanted one o Six of the thirteen states did establish an official religion, and some levied a  religious tax (you chose which church would receive the title)  Protestant Bible was dominant  Know­Nothing Party was anti­Catholic  Homogenous states—white and Christian, still not spared from exclusionary or  repressive assimilationist tactics or violence against those of a different ancestry or  religion  America’s religious profile is changing along with its ethnic makeup o Continued growth in types of affiliations and in religious mobility o 78% identify as Christians; split among sects and denominations o 16% of Americans claim no religious affiliation o 6% are adherents of other major religious traditions: Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and  Buddhists Economic and Demographic Diversity  Role of poverty o Poor people tend to remain poor o Do not vote; if they do, likely to b for Democratic Party o Affluent tend to vote for Republicans more o Economic inequality still and issue  Regional and residential differences o Related to economic interests; preferences for policy o Conflict between North and South  Age differences o Older versus younger citizen’s interests o Over 65 > 20% by 2050 Diversity and Identity Politics  Diversity has more meaning when there is broad participation o Expansion of the electorate o Federal government’s adoption of race, gender, and ethnic preference programs o Wave of immigration from Asia and Latin America  Given rise to identity politics: o Practice of organizing on the basis of one’s ethnic or racial identity, sex, or  sexual orientation to compete for public resources and to influence public policy o Paradoxically, many ethnic identities are beginning to blur o American Indians—population increase not by death or birth buy by self­ identification  White card; blood quantum  Many identity categories are simplistic o Hispanic is catchall for  Mexican, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and others with origins in Central and  South American and the Caribbean o Hispanic residential patters vary by country of origin  Mexican Americans: California and the SW  Some in Illinois and other parts of MW and South  Puerto Ricans: NJ, NY, Miami, Boston, and Chicago  Cubans: S. Florida and NJ o African census category:  Could apply to African Americans whose ancestors have been here for  centuries  Our first­generation Americans who emigrated after laws restricting  immigration from Africa were lifted in the 1960s o Asian Americans—heterogeneous group  Japan, china, Philippines  Vietnamese and Cambodians   Usually found in West Coast Hawaii, and larger cities in East Coast, and  Chicago o Intermarriage  ¼ white Americans and nearly half of black Americans belong to a  multiracial family Political Culture  Shared body of values and beliefs that shapes perception and attitudes toward politics  and government and in turn influences political behavior  Significance: o Agreement on fundamental principles o Common perception of the rights and obligation of citizenship and the rules for  participating in the political process  Founders desired a united country o But many differences among the populace o Challenge brought by the state divisions o Educated citizenry would be important  Public school system; training citizens  Immigration and assimilation o Flag and the pledge o Media o Common language; Webster’s dictionary (1828)  Laws regarding language; English as official language  Can you Pass this Citizen Test? 1. How many amendments does the constitution have? 27 2. What stops one branch of government from becoming too powerful? Checks and  Balances 3. The House of Rep has how many voting members? 435 4. The Federalist Papers supported the passage of the US Constitution. Name one of the  writers. Madison, Hamiltion, John Jay 5. What territory did the US buy from France in 1803? Louisiana 6. Who was the president during WWI? Woodrow Wilson 7. Name one US territory. Puerto Rico, Guam 8. Why does the flag have thirteen stripes? First 13 colonies Popular Sovereignty  Belief in political equality leads to popular sovereignty, rule by the people  Democracy: authority of the people  Majority rule versus minority rights Economic Rights  American Revolution o England’s unfair taxation of colonies, other economic burdens o Economic freedom; right to own property­ Locke  Tension exists between political equality of the Declaration and the property rights the  Constitution protects o Jefferson and Pinckney worried about extremes of wealth and property  Dangerous influence of rich men  Impoverished minority, desperate, disregard public interest The American Citizen  How do rules for participation affect the level of participation?   How willing and prepared to participate is the average citizen?  Indirect democracy o Citizens do not pass laws or make policy as they would in a direct democracy  (exists at state and local level). Rather their representatives do so. o Founders thought direct democracy would be impractical for a large citizenry. o Afraid of mob rule. o But citizens still expected to participate: voting, defense during emergencies.  Political Participation  Self­belief – our belief in the efficacy of our system of government and our fitness to  govern ourselves.  But many people do not take advantage of their ability to participate. o 2008 – only 64% of those eligible turned out to vote. o Most Americans little involved in the process.  One­fifth of the electorate do nothing political at all; they do not even  discuss politics. Conclusion: Is Government Responsive  Jefferson, “Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against the  evils” of misgovernment.  But Americans do not participate. o Couch potato politics  Refusing to accept the responsibilities of national citizenships.  Can you be patriotic without getting involved in political or civil life?


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