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American National Government Week 1 Notes

by: Savannah Notetaker

American National Government Week 1 Notes PS 110

Marketplace > Western Kentucky University > History > PS 110 > American National Government Week 1 Notes
Savannah Notetaker
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About this Document

These notes cover two in class lectures and Chapter One of the "Keeping the Republic" textbook.
American National Government
Scott Lasley
Class Notes
american, National, Government, notes, keeping the republic, Economics




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Savannah Notetaker on Thursday August 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PS 110 at Western Kentucky University taught by Scott Lasley in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see American National Government in History at Western Kentucky University.


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Date Created: 08/25/16
PS 110 Day #1 8/23/16 Page 1 of 4 Introduction/Chapter One Discussion Notes Side note: Keep up with current events, national scale. TQ: How do we define politics? SA: Debate over issues and how the government handles them. Harold Laswell defines politics as, “who get whats, when, and how”. We see politics everywhere. Example: Having a roommate is a political situation, deciding which half is whose, how comfortable you are with sharing, etc. *Politics arises from conflict* • material scarcity: everyone can’t get everything they want all the time. There is limited funding. If you give to one cause, you take from another. This can be seen in dealing with tax money. • values: social/cultural arguments. i.e. same sex marriage, abortion, polyamory, monogamy. Ultimately, values may shape the solution to material scarcity. TQ: Does the conflict arise from material scarcity or values? (This question will be seen on tests) TQ: What are the sources of conflict? TQ: What would a world without government be like? Thomas Hobbes answers this question by saying, conflict is the “State of nature”. Without government conflict is inherent, “poor, nasty, brutish, solitary, and short”. Implying that conflict is natural. TQ: How do we manage conflict? TA: Government emerges as a mean to manage/solve conflicts without violence. People give up some degree of their freedoms for the security that is provided with government. This is called a social contract. Basically this means that you agree to the government by staying the United States. Your freedom allows you to leave if you do not agree with the government, but not to disobey it because the vast majority agrees that we need it. Institutions are developed with the authority to make decisions over society. Chapter One Book Notes Matt Brandi on Occupy Wall Street: politicians often discredit the ideas and opinions of the younger generation because they are “less likely” to vote or stay informed on political issues. But are they really? • In 2008 (the Obama Election) 51% of young people voted • Many of the avid protestors of Occupy Wall Street were young people People must engage in the republic, and in politics, to maintain it. Politics is all about advocating for the type of society that you think is important and working to increase your resources and advantages so that you can make the things you want, happen. *Politics: a peaceful means for deciding who gets power and influence in society.* Power: getting people to do what you want Resources: laws in your favor, public policies that work to your advantage, tax revenue, government jobs Politics vs. Government: Government is a system of organization for exercising authority over people. Authority: Power that citizens recognize as legitimate or right, consented power Rules= The “how” in Laswell’s theory. Directives for politics. A different set of rules could change the entire game. Institutions= Where power is exercised For the U.S.: • Representative Democracy • Elected Officials • Federal Political System • Constitution lays the groundwork for this system Politics vs. Economics: Economics are specifically concerning the production, distribution of wealth/material goods. There is some overlap between these two, they are linked but slightly different. Capitalism: The economic system where the market determines production, distribution, and prices. Land/property is privately owned. Free Market System: production and distribution are left in the hands of the individuals Privately Owned Industry, businesses, and land. Regulated Economy: provides individual rights and procedural guarantees, helps fix the market when it fails. Protection from the cyclical effects. Provides goods and services that are missing. Encourages fair business. Government uses taxpayer dollars to fund: • Highway construction Libraries • • Museums • Schools • Social Security • National Defense • Environment cleanup • Street Lights Socialist Economy: politicians make the economic decisions and guarantee certain outcomes (substantive) Authoritarian vs. Non-authoritarian Political Systems Authoritarian: government has control and makes substantive decisions Non-authoritarian: citizens claim rights that the government must protect. Fair rules are created but the individuals are in control. Socialist + Authoritarian=Totalitarian Authoritarian + Capitalist= Authoritarian Capitalism Non-authoritarian Entirely= Anarchism Non-authoritarian + procedural guarantees= Democracy Popular Sovereignty: the people are the highest power and their document governs them. Elite Democracy: Choosing between competing leaders, illusion of participation Pluralist Democracy: Believes that people only have legitimate power in organized groups. Participatory Democracy: Each individual has a say and a vote in decision making. Subjects are a result of an authoritarian government. Citizens are a result of a non-authoritarian government. The U.S. did not always give everyone the status of citizen (african americans and women had to fight for the right to vote) Entering a social contract means giving up certain freedoms in exchange for the security of government. Republic: decisions are made through representatives of the people. Deliberation comes from a balance between personal agenda and the greater good. Citizenship Naturalization: when an immigrant legally enters the U.S. with a permanent VISA, they can apply for citizenship. Refugee: Taken into the U.S. under well-founded threat of persecution due to race, religion, nationality. (Legal) Undocumented Immigrants pose a threat because they (sometimes) do not pay taxes or take part in the national census.This skews the data and results in underfunded communities and poverty. Political Culture: The shared values and political beliefs that give us common language to debate political issues. Values: Central ideas, principles that most agree are important Normative: Beliefs about how things should be Individualism: primacy on the individual, society’s “good” based on an individual’s “good” Democracy, Freedom, and Equality are values of all Americans. Ideologies: these are what separate Americans and allow room for debate. They are sets of beliefs and opinions about politics, the economy, and society that help people make sense of the world. TQ: To what extent are people ideological? TA: There are different dimensions to this. Check out figure 1.4 in the textbook, keeping the republic to view a diagram explaining this. Liberals (Left) to Conservatives (Right) PS 110 Day #2 8/25/16 Page 1 of 2 Chapter One Class Notes Continued Social Contract Theory: that people are willing to give up some degree of freedom for democracy. TQ: How do we manage conflict? TA: Structural Rules 1) • organization • procedures • powers of the government 2) Policy Rules • Decisions on specific political questions • the outcome Example: The game of Baseball 1) The strike zone, the distance between bases, umpire has full control 2) calling of a ball or strike TQ: How does the government enforce rules? TA: 1)Legitimacy: self imposed willingness of citizens to respect and obey its decisions 2) Coercive Force: ability of a government to compel its citizens to obey its decisions Example: Teacher can’t force you to take a quiz but has coercive force over your grade. You must have coercive force to survive as an institution. An example of this is how a dictatorship can survive strictly using brute force over its subjects. TQ: Why do rules matter? TA: Rules determine winners and losers. Winners often shape the set of rules which can in turn, change the game. Politics vs. Economics Capitalism (100% Free Market) vs. Socialism (Pure Command Economy) • Who determines distribution • Who determines production There is a range, or a continuum on this and most governments fall somewhere in between. TQ: What is democracy? TA: Somewhere between authoritarian regime and anarchy Democracy is based on popular sovereignty, the idea that the people are the highest power. The distinction between citizens and subjects is that citizens have rights and obligations. Direct Democracy (Each individual gets a say) vs. Representative Democracy (Elected officials) Democratic process does not always promote democratic ideals • Equality • Majority • Freedom In the U.S. Freedom and Equality are both important democratic ideals but there is fundamental tension between the two because you can’t maximize both of them. More freedom in turn causes less equality and more equality can cause less freedom. There must be a compromise or balance between them and that is where ideologies can be debated. Tyranny of majority otherwise known as the irony of democracy. Democratic process does not always promote democratic ideals. A majority of women could technically pass something unfair to men. Just because it is fair for the majority to win, does not mean it results in equality for all parties.


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