Week 4 Notes POSC 103
Week 4 Notes POSC 103 POSC 103
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Tiara Notetaker on Thursday September 22, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POSC 103 at Towson University taught by Joseph Rudolph in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Towson University.
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Date Created: 09/22/16
Tuesday 9.20.16 Public Opinion and Government: The Theory and Practice of Public Opinion as a Linkage Public Opinion <> Government 1. Public opinion encompasses all of society’s opinions 2. Interest groups split the public opinion into specific demands 3. Political parties filter the needs of interest groups and decide which issues to focus on 4. Elections decide which political parties will get to implement their ideas All play linking roles between the public and the political system A con of the fourterm cycle of the presidency is that the voice of interest groups is heard every four years, not every year The Evolution of U.S. Democracy (Three Revolutions) Concept of government for the people, but not by the people o The elites wrote the constitution o The first six presidents were from Virginia and Massachusetts o The House and the Senate represent the people 1. Jacksonian Revolution (1820s) Majority of votes (electoral college) came from east of the Appalachian Mountains because of the state populations Majority of voters (male, property owners) lived west of the Appalachian Mountains 1824 election: Neither Jackson or JQ Adams had the majority of votes > the House of Representatives had to vote. Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, voted for Adams and became Secretary of State when Adams won Jackson was convinced that this was a bribe and spent the next four years gaining votes promising to listen to the voters > he won the election of 1828 Impact: First modern day campaign of gaining the public’s interest and inviting them into domestic policy making 2. Wilsonian Revolution (19141918) Election of 1912: At the time of Wilson’s presidency, the US was heavily isolationist and not at all interested in the current European conflicts 1913, Wilson created propaganda to get the Americans angry at the Germans (governmentengineered public opinion) knowing there was about to be a war and the US would have to fight In the eyes of the US (thanks to the propaganda) WWI became the war to make the world safe for democracy 1916, Congress voted to join the war and the US population was prepared to produce steel, weapons, and soldiers Immediately after the war, the US reverted back to isolationism, evidenced by the US’ refusal to sign the peace treaty or join the League of Nations Wilson’s goal was to be able to pursue foreign policy. His actions were out of necessity, not out of a desire to see more public interest and involvement The US is conservative towards foreign policy (majority votes for noninvolvement) because of our history of being separated physically from the rest of the world WWII public opinion poll: 3% voted to help Great Britain, 1%voted to help Germany, 96% voted to do nothing The active public (those who want to get involved) tend to be the ones who are well informed about foreign affairs 1921, President Truman created the Council on Foreign Relations in NY so politicians and community leaders can work together on foreign affairs Impact: President Wilson evoked an American desire to participate in foreign affairs, but after WW1 ended, their general involvement did too 3. Media Revolution (1950spresent) With TVs making an appearance in American households, individuals no longer had to be interested to receive information, it came to them automatically Americans also don’t have to analyze the information they hear as most shows provide content as well as their own opinions, ready for Americans to adopt and believe Media creates a visual world that can instantly turn the passive public into an active, opinionated public (examples: released videos of police shootings rouse whoever sees them on Facebook) Media helped get civil rights laws passed and send troops home from the Vietnam war Impact: Even those who do not follow objective news reports are exposed to a variety of news coverage, even if it’s biased. Because media has broadened, those who are not interested in politics may want to become involved simply because of what they see on a daily basis Thursday 9.22.16 Interest Groups as Linkages in the United States Criticisms of the government relying heavily on public opinion: The public is not always well informed o We select what we want to read/listen to o We listen to those who share our opinions instead of hearing objective reports Public opinion usually forms after the government has made a policy (due to American disinterest) o If public opinion is against a policy after it has been made, it’s hard to change that policy It’s hard to measure how intensely one group feels about an issue in public opinion polls Techniques that interest groups use to get their ideas across: Lobbying: (costs $) presenting your argument before a decisionmaking body o One can lobby legislature, the executive branch (exp. Booking meetings with the state department), the courts, and the public (commercials, ads) Electioneering: (costs $) helping candidates get elected o Other countries participate in getting a US candidate elected so their country’s interests will be protected Litigation: (costs $) disputing a legal action in court Public protest: (free) media attention is required so the government will feel pressured to address the issue and the public with feel sympathetic to your cause o It’s difficult to control protestors from overreacting (exp. damaging buildings). Examples of successful protests include Dr. King’s marches where despite police brutality, protestors didn’t fight back > America saw through media and joined the protestors’ side, and the Vietnam war where college students’ protests played a part in the government’s decision to remove troops from the war Relationship between Interest Groups and the Government: 1. Access (lobbyists sell access; the interest group pays a lobbyist to gain access) 2. Penetration 3. Capture The goal is to get inside of the political process Example: The American Dairy Industry has been able to influence US dairy policy for years in Congressional subcommittees (successful policy example: including milk in public school lunches)