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week 1
Kenneth Wayne Abbott
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by linhami_htdl Notetaker on Saturday September 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1336 at University of Houston taught by Kenneth Wayne Abbott in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see 1336 in Political Science at University of Houston.


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Date Created: 09/17/16
POLS 1336 January 25 , 2016 Origins of American Democracy A. Protestant Reformation  Talk to God- through priest, middle man  Protes- one to one with God B. Social Contracts  People in the country give consent to the gov’t to protect certain rights, much more active right in god.  Thomas Hobbes- pessimist, believes that mankind was very violent in nature, with gov’t, we are going to kill each other. Need gov’t to protect life  John Locke- non pessimist, thinks that we not going to kill each other with out gov’t, but gov’t is necessary to protect property and justice. If gov’t breaks its social contracts with the people, the people have the right to revolt and to form a new gov’t, a gov’t that will honor the social contracts.  Today, Thomas Jefferson would be like a college student. He would just copy and paste work from an online website, just like what he did with Locke’s info. C. Direct Democracy  America today is not a true democracy  Direct democracy- people come together 1/year to talk about issues, and propose legislations, policies, then people would vote on it.  Point of democracy: every single citizen has a direct say  Only practical in small communities  Houston has 1.9 mil people.  No way to direct a meeting  In theory, at some point in the future, we could have direct democracy by using technology. Not every single America have access to internet/electronic devices. No server that can handle the entire population. D. Indirect Democracy/Republic  America have indirect democracy/republic  Voters elect officials (President, legislators, state representative, etc.) to make decision on their behalf.  Key component to direct democracy- if the voter is not happy with the decision the official is making, voters can vote out the official who isn’t honoring social contracts. A good way to keep indirect democracy legitimate. In theory, it sounds good, but in practice not really. Why? Voter turnout is low; the highest vote turnout is 60% in general population  Midterm election, once every 1 year. Voter turnout struggles to reach 40%.  Odd year election- low profile - City council - Mayoral elections - Some cities don’t have these elections  Special elections- if some one dies in office, voter turn out 5%  Most of the people who can vote don’t vote. The average voter who does who is an uninformed voter.  Al Green- had never run for primary, lives with father, didn’t spent any money on campaign, elected because of last name  Name recognition is important  Most voters will pick the most recognized candidate. People typically vote for those whose names are associated with politics (candidates will change their last name to get elected). Some people refuse to vote for male/female/race.  Voters will also vote by party. Candidates pick the most popular party to get elected easier.  Media- has a slant, won’t give an unbiased representation  Even the most informed voter doesn’t know all the candidates and their job responsibilities.  Guessing game- voters are not qualified to determine whether or not officials are going to do their job.  Takes away legitimacy away from the democracy  People who vote are typically white, well educated, higher income, older 55-70 vote the most/ Don’t vote: minorities, lower income, 18- 24(paying for college), less education.  State legislature- meet once every 2 years to create budget  2005, voters in Texas ratified the state constitution. Ratified it on the simple majority.  Polaring the issue of same-sex marriage, voter turnout less than 18% for this amendment


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