September 7 Class Notes
September 7 Class Notes 206
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Notetaker on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 206 at Texas A&M University taught by John Bond in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Texas A&M University.
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Date Created: 09/21/16
September 7, 2016 Class Notes II. Three Models of American Democracy C. Elitism Hard to have democracy in real world because of conflict between main principles o Majority rule vs political freedom o What if majority takes away minority freedoms? 1.) Belief that there are two different kinds of people in every society o Those with power= the power elite (small) o Those without power (masses) o Real power and important decisions are exercised by a small, monolithic power elite o Power flows from the top down Look for the power behind the scenes (even dictators/kings can be puppets) Even in democracy, they believe decisions are made from a small, nonelected group Power elite responsive to no one except their own values o Theorist have different explanations for the power elite Natural leaders in every society that inevitably rise to power Some people are really effective at organizing organizations and through these influence society o C Wright Mills most prominent American theorist Wrote a book on American elitism Said government leaders aren’t necessary the president, congress, etc. (not the elected) Different pillars of leaders o You can’t identify the power elite by picking out the wealthiest people in society They care about making money Power elite are concerned about gaining power (privileged background) 2.) Criticisms o Unrealistic view of power (no way to measure it) Theorist have you believe that power is something you have or don’t have i. Make you believe that all the power lays in the small group of elitist and average citizens have none o “Faces of Power” article The power we see (Elections, Laws, etc.) September 7, 2016 Class Notes Non- decision power (Example: energy crisis, OPEC decides to stop exporting oil to US because they were supporting Israel. Result: creation of policies) i. Solution: (Republicans) get government off the backs of oil companies. Lower taxes and get rid of regulations. ii. Solution: (Democrats) fossil fuels are a finite resource so we need to conserve and find an alternative source iii. Solution: not allow private oil companies to produce and have government take over and divide the resources (Didn’t hear about this is US because its Socialism) iv. Americans agree that the socialism solution is unacceptable because we grew up with the notion that socialism is “bad” v. Therefore, power elite do not have to worry about socialism proposals o Non-falsifiable theory: Empirical vs. Normative i. Normative: matter of opinion that cannot be falsified ii. Empirical: can be proven right/wrong (can be observed) iii. Scientific theory= empirical iv. Elitism & pluralism claim to be empirical, but there is no way to falsify elite theory Indirect test to determine elite class i. Reputation: Ask someone in the community, Who exercises power, go interview them and ask the same question ii. Study the community and identify 2/3 controversial issues and find individuals who would be able to resolve these issues (Ask them who was influential in resolving these issues, go talk to them and ask the same questions) iii. Pluralism is if the community names the same group ***Test*** Which of the following statements would an elitist/pluralist agree with? Topic 2: The U.S. Constitution I. Constitution Definition: Basic rules and guidelines for exercising political authority September 7, 2016 Class Notes 1. Three fundamental components of constitutions: i. Functions: powers/responsibilities in the public rather than private sphere ii. Structure: institutions that constitute the framework of government iii. Procedures: manner in which government carries out its power/responsibilities 2. Limits on governmental powers 3. Aristotle’s Classification of Constitutions Based on how many exercise power Wrote book called The Politics (divided into 3 books) He did an empirical study of the constitutions in the city-states Put into categories based on how many people exercise power: one, few, or many Which constitutions are good and bad? i. Normative ii. Good government determined: a. Not by how many people rule b. But by how rulers exercise power iii. Good government= rulers exercise power in the interest of the governed iv. Bad government= rulers exercise power in their own self- interest Good Form Rule By Bad Form Monarchy One Tyranny Aristocracy Few Oligarchy (richest few) Constitutional Gov’t Many Democracy Democracy: Mob rule 4. Constitutional government (constitutionalism) Limited government Effective restrains that prevent abuse of power All of Aristotle’s “good forms” = constitutional government II. United States Constitution 1. The “Madisonian dilemma” Needed stronger central government Amended the Articles of Confederation was not enough Federalist vs Anti-Federalist
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