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POLS 2311: Chapter 1 Notes

by: Kyanna Richard

POLS 2311: Chapter 1 Notes Pols 2311

Marketplace > University of Texas at Arlington > Pols 2311 > POLS 2311 Chapter 1 Notes
Kyanna Richard
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Democracy and American Politics
Political Science
Dr. Mark Cichock
Class Notes




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kyanna Richard on Wednesday September 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Pols 2311 at University of Texas at Arlington taught by Dr. Mark Cichock in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 164 views.


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Date Created: 09/07/16
Political Science 2311  Chapter 1: Democracy and American Politics Robert Moses the Struggle for African American Voting Rights  ­ 30 years from adoption of constitution.  ­ African Americans in the south were not able to vote in any numbers until after 1965, despite the 15  amendment.  ­ No blacks held office ­ Economic pressures, violence, social order kept blacks from registering to vote.  ­ Fanny Lou Hamer was forced out of her house she rented, fired from job, arrested,  jailed and beaten by police after trying to register to vote.  ­ Women were allowed to vote in 1920  ­ 18­20­year­olds were allowed to vote in 1971 ­ In 1960 only 5% of blacks were registered to vote  ­ The Student Non­Violent Coordinating (SNCC) launched its Voter Education Project  in 1961 with the aim of ending black political powerlessness in the Deep South  SNCC worked to increase black voter’s registration such as challenging exclusionary  rules like poll tax and literacy tests  ­ “Freedom Schools” where blacks could be educated about their rights.  1965 Voters Rights Act­ Provided powerful federal government protections for all Americans  wishing to exercise their right to vote.  Democracy 1.1  Without government we begin to ask…  1. Who is to govern?  2. How are those who govern to be encouraged to serve the best interests of society?  3. How can governments be induced to make policies and laws that citizens consider  legitimate and worth obeying?  4. How can citizens ensure that those who govern both carry out laws and policies that  people want and do so effectively?  5. What is the best for the government?  … and for most Americans that answer is DEMOCRACY!  What are some of the beliefs of democracy?  1. Some believe that is best protects human rights because it’s the only one based on a  recognition of the intrinsic worth and equality of human beings.  2. Most likely to produce rational policies because it can count on the pooled knowledge  and expertise of a society’s entire population.  3. More stable and long lasting because their leaders elected by and answerable to voters,  enjoy a strong sense of legitimacy among citizens.  4. Most conductive to economic growth and material well­being, a claim with some  scholarly support.  5. Under which human beings because they are free, are best able to develop their natural  capacities and talents. DEMOCRATIC ORIGINS  ­ Democracy originated with ancient Greeks. Demos meaning “the people” and kratein  meaning “to rule”  ­ Government must serve all its people  Democracy­ a system of government in which the people rule.  Oligarchy­ rule by the few  Monarchy­ rule by the one (King and/or Queen)  DIRECT DEMOCRACY V REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY  ­ Internet, social medias, mobile devices enable people to more easily gather info  deliberate with others about important issues, organize political meetings and  demonstrations and directly communicate their interests and demands to political  leaders at all levels of government  Direct Democracy­ a form of political decision making in which policies are decided by the  people themselves. Representative Democracy­ indirect democracy; people rule through elected representatives who  make the decisions.  BENCHMARKS OF REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY  What are the three benchmarks?  1. Popular Sovereignty  2. Political Equality  3. Political Liberty  POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY  Popular Sovereignty­ basic principle of democracy that the people are the ultimate source of  government authority and of the policies that governments leaders make.  1. GOVERNMENT LEADERS ARE SELECTED IN COMPETITIVE ELCTIONS Autocracy­ general term that describes all forms of government characterized by rule by a  single person or by a group with total power, whether a monarchy, a military tyranny, or a  theocracy.  2. ELECTIONS ARE FREE AND FAIR  “Free” no coercion of voters or election officials that virtually all citizens are able to run for  office and vote in elections.  “Fair” election rules do not favor some over others and that ballots are accurately counted.  3. PEOPLE PARTICIPATE IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS ­ If elections and other forms of political participation only attract a minority of the  eligible population, they cannot serve as a way to understand what the broad public  wants or as an instrument forcing leaders to pay attention to it.  ­ Wide spread participation in politics­voting in election, contacting public officials,  working with others to bring matters to public attention, joining associations that  work to shape government actions. ­ Widespread participation is so central to Popular Sovereignty we can say that the less  participation the is in a society; the weaker democracy.  4. HIGH QUALITY INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE  5. THE MAJORITY RULES  Majority Rules­ the form of political decision making in which policies are decided on a  basis of what a majority of the people want.  6. GOVERNMENT POLICIES REFLECT THE WISHES OF THE PEOPLE 7. GOVERNMENT POLICIES ARE EFFECTIVE  POLITICAL EQUALITY  Political Equality­ the principle that each person carries equal weight in the conduct of the public business; voting and other political decision making Civil Rights­ guarantees by government of equal citizenship to all social groups. ­ Democracy is a way of making decisions in which each person has one vote.  ­ 14  amendment “equal protection” meaning EVERYONE in democracy is treated the same by the government.  POLTICAL LIBERTY  Political Liberty­ basic freedoms essential to the formation and expression of majority opinion  and its translation into public policies. (right to vote)  Social Contract­ the idea that government is the result of an agreement among people to form  one and that people have the right to create an entirely new government if the terms of the  contract have been violated by the existing one.  ­ Popular sovereignty cannot be guaranteed if people are prevented from participating  in politics or if opposition to the government is crushed by the authorities  ­ Popular sovereignty cannot prevail is the voice of people is silenced, are not free to  argue and debate based on their own ideas and beliefs to from their own political  opinion.  ­ The concept of self­government implies ones right to speak their minds.  OBEJECTIONS TO LIBERAL DEMOCRACY  Liberal Democracy­ representative democracy characterized by popular sovereignty liberty, and  political equality. “MAJORITY TYRANNY” THREATENS LIBERTY ­ “Popular Passions” freedom of groups who have heard to be different  ­ Liberty is essential to self­government and threatens to liberty whatever their origins,  must be guarded against by all who value democracy.  Majority Tyranny­ suppression of the rights and liberties of a minority by the majority.  1. THE PEOPLE ARE IRRATIONAL AND INCOMPETENT  ­ People not interested in politics or being a part of the process 2. MAJORITARIAN DEMOCRACY THREATENS MINORITES  ­ Requires the protection of crucial minority rights.  FRAMEWORK FOR UNDERSTANDING HOW  AMERICAN POLITICS WORKS 1.2 ORGANIZING THE MAIN FACTORS OF POLITICAL LIFE What are the four main categories in National Government?  1. Structure: economy, society, political culture, international system, constitutional rules 2. Political Linkage: public opinion, news media, interest groups, elections, political parties 3. Government: president, congress, supreme court, bureaucracy  4. Government Action: what government does, making laws, issuing rules and regulations,  waging war and providing national defense  CONNECTIING THE MAIN FACTORS OF POLITICAL LIFE  Jim Crow­ Popular term for the system of legally sanctioned racial segregation that existed in the th American south until the middle of the 20  century. 


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