America in the 21st Century (Ch 1, Week 1)
America in the 21st Century (Ch 1, Week 1) P SC 1113
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Rebecca Hurlburt on Saturday August 29, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to P SC 1113 at University of Oklahoma taught by Dr. Tyler Johnson in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 304 views. For similar materials see American Federal Government in Political Science at University of Oklahoma.
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Date Created: 08/29/15
Chapter 1 America in the 21st Century Week 1 Notes for American Federal Government P SC 1113 Chapter Notes Vocabulary institution an ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society social con ict disagreements among people in a society over what the society s priorities should be politics the process of resolving con icts over how society should use its scarce resources and who should receive various bene ts such as public health care and public higher education government the individuals and institutions that make society s rules and possess the power and authority to enforce those rules power the ability to in uence the behavior of others usually through the use of force persuasion or rewards authority the ability to legitimately exercise power such as the power to make and enforce laws public services essential services that individuals cannot provide for themselves such as building and maintaining roads establishing welfare programs operating public schools and preserving national parks autocracy a form of government in which the power and authority of the government are in the hands of a single person monarchy a form of autocracy in which a king queen emperor empress tsar or tsarina is the highest authority in the government Monarchs usually obtain their power through inheritance divine right theory the theory that a monarch s right to rule was derived directly from God rather than from the consent of the people dictatorship a form of government in which absolute power is exercised by an individual or group whose power is not supported by tradition democracy a system of government in which the people have ultimate political authority the word is derived from the Greek demos the people and kratz39a rule direct democracy a system of government in which political decisions are made by the people themselves rather than by elected representatives This form of government was practiced in some parts of ancient Greece representative democracy a form of democracy in which the will of the majority is expressed through groups of individuals elected by the people to act as their representatives republic essentially a representative democracy in which there is no king or queen and the people are sovereign parliament the name of the national legislative body in countries governed by a parliamentary system such as Britain and Canada limited government a form of government based on the principle that the powers of government should be clearly limited either through a written document of through wide public understanding It is characterized by institutional checks to ensure that government serves public rather than private interests social contract a voluntary agreement among individuals to create a government and to give that government adequate power to secure the mutual protection and welfare of all individuals natural rights rights that are not bestowed by governments but are inherent within every man woman and child by virtue of the fact that he or she is a human being political culture the set of ideas values and attitudes about government and the political process held by a community or a nation liberty the freedom of individuals to believe act and eXpress themselves as they choose as long as doing so does not infringe on the rights of other individuals in the society eguality a concept that holds at a minimum that all people are entitled to equal protection under the law capitalism an economic system based on the private ownership of wealthproducing property free markets and freedom of contract the privately own corporation is the preeminent capitalist institution Tea Party movement a grassroots conservative movement that arose in 2009 after Barak Obama became president the movement opposes big government and current levels of taxation and also rejects political compromise ideology generally a system of political ideas that are rooted in religious or philosophical beliefs concerning human naturesociety and government conservatism a set of political beliefs that include a limited role for the national government in helping individuals and in the economic affairs of the nation as well as support for traditional values and lifestyles conservative movement an ideological movement that arose in the 1950s and 1960s and continues to shape conservative beliefs liberalism a set of political beliefs that include the advocacy of active government including government intervention to improve the welfare of individuals and to protect civil rights progressivism an alternative more popular term for the set of political beliefs also known as liberalism moderates persons whose views fall in the middle of the political spectrum socialism a political ideology that lies the left of the liberalism on the traditional political spectrum Socialists are scarce in the United States but common in many other countries libertarianism the belief that government should do as little as possible not only in the economic sphere but also in regulating morality and personal behavior What Are Politics and Government Defining Politics and Government People have many de nitions of politics but the most formal de nitions state that social con ict disagreements in a society over what should be priority is inevitable and that politics is necessary to resolve these con icts Harold Lasswell defined it as the process of determining who gets what when and how Government can be defined as the people who possess the power and authority to make and enforce the rules of a society government serves essentially three services resolves con icts provides public services defends the nation and its culture by attacks from other nations Resolving Con icts Governments decide how to resolve con ict to maintain social order If the government has power and authority the society is less like to resist its decisions even if there is disagreement Providing Public Services The government provides essential services that the people cannot provide for themselves Some services are for all Americans protection by law enforcement while other services are only for Americans in certain situations Medicare and Medicaid The government is also expected to protect citizens from economic hardship a big cause of recent dissatisfaction with our government Defending the Nation and Its Culture The military and organizations such as the CIA and NSA have been established by our government to protect both America and its culture from other nations After 911 protecting the nation became a huge priority for the government Different Systems of Government Undemocratic Systems Before the development of democracy most governments were autocratic individual has all the power One form of autocracy is monarchy where a kingqueenetc inherits their power and has divine right Divine Right Theory Until the 18th century most monarchs had absolute power but now most monarchs are part of a constitutional monarchy where most of the power goes to a law making body such as Parliament in Britain Another form of autocracy is a dictatorship where an individual or group rules without absolute power but is not supported by tradition Hitler Stalin Kim J ong Un Democratic Systems The most familiar form of government to Americans is democracy where supreme power rests with the people The earliest direct democracy was in ancient Athens Greece The citizens not including women or slaves directly voted on every decision Although there is no pure direct democracy in the world today some small communities do have certain issues on which the citizens directly vote The Founding Fathers believed that a direct democracy would deteriorate into chaos so they established a representative democracy where the people elected representatives to vote on the issues of the nation The Founding Fathers were careful to call America a republic a representative democracy without a monarch to make it clear that there would be no king or queen in America Other Forms of Government Aristocracies were ruled by old noble families though usually alongside a monarch A plutocracy similar to aristocracy is rule by the wealthy or the wealthy have disproportionate in uence in the government In a theocracy the government rules according to religious precepts Iran American Democracy The British Legacy The Magna Carta the document which ended absolute rule for the English monarch set the foundation for limited government in the United States Constitution The English Bill of Rights monarch could not interfere in Parliament monarch needed approval of Parliament to levy any taxes monarch could not act without consent of Parliament was also foundational for the American Constitution as the people were originally British colonists The American colonies followed the example of representative government in the English Parliament British philosopher John Locke provided the concepts of social contract and natural rights life liberty property which were also established in the Constitution Principles of American Democracy Equality in voting Individual freedom Equal protection of the law Majority rule and minority rights Voluntary consent to be governed American Political Views Unlike most countries which are defined by a common culture language etc America is defined by it s political culture a common set of ideas and values Liberty is a shared political ideal among Americans freedom of speech religion etc but differing opinions over where that liberty ends have caused some of the most heated debates in politics today America is perpetually striving for equality whether it be gender race or lifestyle choice While some people believe that the government should make opportunities for the less advantaged so that our society can be equal others believe that the government getting too involved in making everyone equal directly contends with the value of liberty Property is very important to Americans Property gives the owners the liberty to do what they want within the limits of the law Of course there are continued debates on how involved the government should be in controlling private property More control means less liberty Less control means more equality Political Values and a Divided Electorate Recent elections show the American people to be split down the middle when it comes to the Republican and Democratic parties In the past ten years both parties have taken control various times but not for very long Politicians from different parties ercely oppose each other and refuse to compromise causing tension in the government and preventing any real problem solving from occurring Political Values in a Changing Society Because Americans are dedicated to preserving the different cultures that are represented in the population there are many different interpretations of the common political ideals Many people are concerned that an increasing in ux of immigrants threatens our current ideals while others are convinced that immigrants will continue to assimilate to the current views There is also a concern that as America s population continues to age there will be a disproportionate amount of people collecting Social Security and Medicare to the amount of younger citizens in the work force paying the taxes to support those programs American Political Ideology Conservatism One of the fundamental ideas of conservatism is the belief that the government should not have too much control or regulatory power lest Americans liberty be impeded developed in opposition to Roosevelt s New Deal In the 5 Os and 60s the conservative movement spread from the rich who were concerned with their personal economic security to a larger portion of Americans who were interested in protecting the entire economy from too much government interference Today most conservatives believe that as little government interference as possible is optimum and that families and local communities should support each other until people can stand on their own feet Liberalism The fundamental ideal of Liberalism is that big government is necessary for the common welfare Because Liberals were strong supporters of minority rights many African Americans began to follow the movement during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s Liberals also gained strength in opposition to American participation in the Vietnam War In the following decades Liberals continued to oppose the American military but this has diminished in recent years Because liberalism has a negative connotation many liberal politicians refer to their stances as progressivism The Traditional Political Spectrum In the past conservative democrats and liberal republicans were common but that is no longer the case Some people don t identify as a liberal or a conservative but as moderates Moderates may vote as either a republican or a democrat but many do not vote for either party but rather claim to be independent Beyond Conservatism and Liberalism To the left of liberalism there is socialism Socialists are even more supportive of big government While most western socialists are strong proponents of democracy in the rest of the world some socialists lean towards communism e g USSR Korea China To the right of conservatism there is libertarianism libertarians oppose almost all government control in business and economy e g Tea Party movement Some people are economic liberals and social conservatives and vice versa Many African Americans and Hispanic Americans fit into this category Lecture Notes The Opening Question Is the country headed in the right direction Or are we on the wrong track What s Happening Now Is pessimism eXplained by recent bad news If so what news Same seX marriage both ways Affordable Care Act both ways Increasing news of police brutality pessimism on race relations law enforcement Spontaneous acts of violence frustration about gun control mental issues and care Foreign policy tensions in the Middle East ISIS North Korea South Korea tension with Russia Maybe Not Now But Recent Past Malaysian ight disappearing Stock market uctuation Deeper Into the Past The last breakeven was in April 2009 The last positive was in January 2004 The most positive we ve been in the past 20 years was immediately following 911 Is It Structural Two different types of support for government Diffuse support how we feel about the system we ve chosen Specific support how we feel about those running that system what they re doing Diffuse support high specific support mixed to negative Is It Services Harold Laswell politics is who gets what when and how Services for all services for some Maybe we re sensing all isn t all Maybe we re frustrated with who s in the some Is It Con ict Resolution Theoretically our system of govt should allow us to decide how con icts are resolved Resolutions aren t quick enough EX most pressing problems list repetitive Federal govt setting a terrible example to more localized govt Thomas Patterson governing issue talk processes followed vs game chasing power over helping people media doesn t care about problems being solved they are more interested in the actual con ict between politicians and parties Americans want to know more about the actual governing and less about the game Failure Across Morone and Kersh s 41 Depiction Ideas Institutions Interests Individuals
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