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Introducing Government in America

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Americans are apathetic about politics and government. ... News & Entertainment Media. Interest Groups. Policy Agenda. Political Issues ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introducing Government in America


1
Introducing Government in America
  • Chapter 1

2
Introduction
  • Politics and government matter.
  • Americans are apathetic about politics and
    government.
  • American youth are less likely to be informed
    about government and politics and participate
    less in politics.

3
Introduction
  • The Political Disengagement of College Students
    Today (Figure 1.1)

4
Introduction
5
Introduction
  • Presidential Election Turnout Rates by Age
    (Figure 1.3)

6
Government
  • Definition
  • The institutions and processes through which
    public policies are made for society.
  • This definition leads to two basic questions
  • How should we govern?
  • What should government do?

7
Politics
  • Definition
  • The process by which we select our governmental
    leaders and what policies these leaders produce.
    Politics produces authoritative decisions about
    public issues.
  • Also consider Lasswells definition
  • Who gets what, when and how.

8
The Policymaking System
  • The process by which policy comes into being and
    evolves over time.
  • Figure 1.4

9
People
  • Interests
  • Problems
  • Concerns

10
Linkage Institutions
  • Political Parties
  • Elections
  • News Entertainment Media
  • Interest Groups

11
Policy Agenda
  • Political Issues
  • These arise when people disagree about a problem
    and how to fix it.
  • Some issues will be considered, and others will
    not.
  • A governments policy agenda changes regularly.

12
Policymaking Institutions
  • Legislature (Congress)
  • Executive (President)
  • Courts (Federal and State)
  • Bureaucracies (Federal and State)

13
Policy Impacts People
14
Policy Impacts People
  • Impacts of Policies
  • Does it solve the problem?
  • Does it create more problems?

15
Democracy
  • Definition
  • A system of selecting policymakers and of
    organizing government so that policy represents
    and responds to the publics preferences.
  • Equality in voting
  • Effective participation
  • Enlightened understanding
  • Citizen control of the agenda
  • Inclusion

16
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Pluralist Theory
  • A theory of government and policies emphasizing
    that politics is mainly a competition among
    groups, each one pressing for its own preferred
    policies.
  • Groups will work together
  • Public interest will prevail

17
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Elite and Class Theory
  • A theory of government and politics contending
    that societies are divided along class lines and
    that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless
    of the formal niceties of governmental
    organization.
  • Not all groups are equal
  • Policies benefit those with money / power

18
Theories of U.S. Democracy
  • Hyperpluralism
  • A theory of government and politics contending
    that groups are so strong that government is
    weakened.
  • There are too many ways for groups to control
    policy.
  • Confusing / contradictory policies

19
Challenges to Democracy
  • Increased Technical Expertise
  • Limited Participation in Government
  • Escalating Campaign Costs
  • Diverse Political Interests (policy gridlock)

20
Questions About Democracy
  • Are the people knowledgeable- and do they apply
    what they know?
  • Do interest groups help the process, or do they
    get in the way?
  • Do political parties offer clear consistent
    choices for voters?
  • Does the President Congress work in the best
    interests of ALL the people?

21
American Individualism
  • Individualism is the belief that individuals
    should be left on their own by the government.
  • Individualism is highly valued in the United
    States with a strong preference for free markets
    and limited government.

22
Questions about the Scope of Government
  • How big a role does the Constitution say should
    be played by the federal government?
  • Does a bigger, more involved (active) government
    limit the peoples freedoms?
  • Do we need a bigger, more involved government to
    protect our freedoms?

23
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued
  • Do competing political parties make for better
    policies?
  • Do more interest groups create a bigger
    government?
  • Does the media help control the size and policies
    government?

24
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued
  • Can the president control the government, or has
    it gotten too big?
  • Can Congress respond to the needs of the people,
    or just to the interest groups?
  • Do members of Congress expand government by
    seeking to be re-elected?

25
Questions about the Scope of Government, continued
  • Do the federal courts overstep their bounds and
    intrude on the powers of other branches of
    government?
  • Are the federal agencies too large and
    unresponsive to the public they are supposed to
    serve?
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