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The Foundations of American Government

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Title: The Foundations of American Government


1
0
The Foundations of American Government
2
Focus of Lecture
  • to teach and clearly define democracy.

3
Learning Objectives, Students Should Understand
  • the relationship between politics and
    government.
  • the different forms of government (e.g.,
    democracy vs. autocracy).
  • Explain the key features of US democracy (e.g.,
    universal suffrage).

4
Learning Objectives, Students Should Understand
(Contd)
  • Describe the competing theories of how the U.S.
    democracy works (e.g., majoritarianism, elitism,
    and pluralism).
  • Define political culture and describe the process
    of political socialization.
  • Define the concept of ideology and explain the
    dominant ideologies in the US.

5
To Focus Effectively And
  • To Take the Learning Objectives Seriously

6
What May Need To Occur?
7
Political Efficacy
  • A student (i.e., a citizen) may choose to
    seriously learn about US Democracy and
    participate in it when she/he believes that
    citizens can affect what government does and that
    they can take action to make government listen to
    them.As stated above, this is political
    efficacy.

8
Not every effort of ordinary citizens to
influence government will succeed, but without
any such efforts, government decisions will be
made by a smaller and smaller circle of powerful
people.
9
Such loss of broad popular influence over
government actions undermines the key feature of
American democracygovernment by the people.
10
Most people do not want to be politically active
every day of their lives, but it is essential to
our political ideals that all citizens be
informed and able to act.
11
An important prerequisite to achieving an
increased sense of political efficacy is
acquiring political knowledge.
12
3 Forms Of Political Knowledge
  • Knowledge of government.
  • Knowledge of politics.
  • Knowledge of democratic principles.

13
Knowledge Of Government
  • Such as, a citizen having knowledge of her/his
    governments structure and organization.
  • E.G., If your road is rendered impassable by
    snow, which governmental level does a citizen go
    to for assistance.

14
Knowledge Of Politics
  • We need to understand what is at stake in the
    political world.
  • This includes discerning ones own interests in
    the political arena and identifying the best
    means to realize it.

15
Knowledge Of Democratic Principles
  • Vote
  • Contact political officials
  • Sign petitions
  • Volunteer in a campaign
  • Participate in a protest or rally
  • Attend public meetings.
  • Citizens need to know what forms of political
    conduct are consistent with democratic
    principles.

16
With this understanding of the need to be
politically knowledgeable in order to be
politically efficacious, its time to learn the
many terms in this chapter so that you will have
a grasp of the foundations of American Government.
17
What Is Politics?
0
18
Politics Defined
0
  • Politics is the struggle over power or influence
    within organizations or informal groups that can
    grant or withhold benefits or privileges.
  • An organization is a body of persons organized
    for some specific purpose.

19
A Simpler Way To Define Politics Is?
0
  • Regulating Conflict Within A Society
  • That is, conflict resolution.

20
Two Authors Definitions of the Term, Politics
0
  • David Easton The authoritative allocation of
    values.
  • Harold Lasswell Who gets what, when, and how.

21
Politics (Contd)
0
  • Regardless which definition of politics is used,
    each refers to the struggle over the distribution
    of benefits or privileges That is, which
    members of society get benefits or privileges
  • And/Or
  • Which are excluded from certain benefits or
    privileges.

22
Politics (Contd)
0
  • One, there are differences of belief or ideology.
  • Two, there are differences in the perceived goals
    of the society.
  • Three, scarce resources exist, and not every want
    can be satisfied by society.
  • So, politics refers to conflict and conflict
    resolution in society.
  • Conflict is always present in society because of
    three major reasons

23
Government Defined
  • An institution refers to an ongoing organization
    that performs certain functions for society.
  • The word itself is derived from the Greek word
    meaning tool A tool is something that you use to
    get something done.

0
  • Government refers to the institutions in which
    decisions are made that resolve conflicts or
    allocate benefits and privileges.
  • E.G., US National Legislature/ Congress is a
    government.

24
That is, Government Can Be Described As
0
  • a permanent structure of decision makersthe
    structure is permanent, not the decision makers,
  • who makes societys rules about conflict
    resolution,
  • who makes rules about the allocation of resources
    and,
  • who possesses the power to enforce those rules.

25
Why Do We Need Government?Functions of
Government
0
  • Conflict resolution.
  • Maintaining order (security).
  • Providing public services.
  • Preserving the nations culture.
  • Resolving societal issues through public policies.

26
Functions of Government Explained
0
  • To provide structure for conflict
    resolutione.g., Congress debates issues and puts
    them to a vote when resolving issues.
  • To provide orderby keeping the peace, the
    government protects the people from violence at
    the hands of private or foreign armies.
  • To provide public servicese.g., such as building
    and maintaining roads, public schools and parks.

27
Functions of Government Explained (Contd)
0
  • To preserve the nations culturei.e., by way of
    its customs, beliefs, values, and language(s).
  • To establish and implement public
    policiespolicies are designed to improve the
    lives and general welfare of the people (e.g.,
    protecting the environment).

28
Forms of Government
29
Governments vary in their structure and in the
way they operate.
30
Two questions are important in determining how
governments differ1. Who Governs?2. How
much government control is permitted?
31
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Four Categories
  • Anarchy
  • Autocracy
  • Oligarchy
  • Democracy

32
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • First Category Anarchy
  • No government exists and individuals must resolve
    conflicts on their own. Somalia (1991-2006).

33
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Second Category AutocracyGovernment by a single
    individual. E. G. MonarchyAbsolute rule by a
    single person often a heredity. Chief of state
    with life tenure and powers varying from nominal
    to absolute. An example is Spain (up to 19th
    Century) and England ( presently).

34
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Second Category AutocracyGovernment by a single
    individual.
  • E. G. TheocracyGovernment by a person claiming
    to rule with divine authority (i.e., God). An
    example is Tibet before 20th century.

35
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Third Category OligarchyGovernment by the few
    (a small group).
  • E. G. AristocracyRule by the best in reality,
    rule by an upper class. That is, decisions made
    by the best suited in terms of wealth, education,
    intelligence, and family prestige. In Europe,
    this meant ruled by the titled nobility.
  • Athens before 8th century, BC.

36
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Third Category OligarchyGovernment by the few
    (a small group).
  • E. G. Meritocracy is a system of government based
    on demonstrated ability, talent, and competence
    rather than by wealth, family connections, class
    privilege, cronyism, popularity or any other
    historical determinants of social position and
    political power.

37
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Third Category OligarchyGovernment by the few
    (a small group). (Contd)
  • E. G. Meritocracy--the premise is that positions
    of trust, responsibility, and social prestige
    should be earned.
  • Examples are 1790s, Napoleonic France, the
    Republic of Singapore, and 19th century Finland.

38
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Third Category OligarchyGovernment by the few
    (a small group).
  • PlutocracyGovernment by the wealthy.
  • E. G., City-state in Ancient Greece, the Italian
    merchant republics of Venice and Florence.

39
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Third Category OligarchyGovernment by the few
    (a small group).
  • TheocracyGovernment by a group claiming to rule
    with divine authority (i.e., God).
  • E.G., Vatican.

40
Question 1 Who Governs?
  • Fourth Category DemocracyGovernment by the
    people.
  • Examples United States, France, Germany, England.

41
2 Types of Democracies
0
  • Indirect/Representative Democracy (AKA,
    Republic)A form of government in which
    representatives elected by the people make and
    enforce laws and policies.
  • Direct Democracy A system of government in
    which political decisions are made by the people
    directly, rather than by their elected
    representatives probably possible only in small
    political communities.

42
The United States is
  • A Representative Democracy

43
Although United States is a representative
Democracy
  • United States acts like a direct democracy when
    its uses an initiative, referendum, or recall.

44
A Small Amount of Direct Democracy In US
0
  • Initiative a procedure by which voters can
    propose a law or a constitutional amendment.
  • Referendum An act of referring legislative or
    constitutional measures to the voters for
    approval or disapproval.
  • Recall A procedure allowing the people to vote
    to dismiss an elected official before his or her
    term has expired.

45
The first question who governs has been
addressed. Now, to continue inquiring about
determining how governments differ, the next
question is addressed. Question number two is
How much government control is permitted?
46
Question two refers to how much government
control is permitted.
  • Three Categories
  • Authoritarian
  • Totalitarian
  • Constitutional Governments

47
Question 2 It Refers To How They Govern That
Is, How Much Government Control Is Permitted?
  • First Category Authoritarian
  • A type of regime in which only the government
    itself is fully controlled by the ruler. Social
    and economic institutions exist that are not
    under the governments control.
  • An example is the Spanish government under
    Francisco Franco, while still allowing some
    personal freedom, would be considered as
    authoritarian.

48
Question 2 It Refers To How They Govern That
Is, How Much Government Control Is Permitted?
Contd)
  • That is, the law imposes few real limits, the
    government is nevertheless kept in check by other
    political and social institutions that the
    government is unable to control and must come to
    terms with such as autonomous territories, an
    organized religion, organized business groups, or
    organized labor unions.Additional examples are
    South America, Asia, and Africa.

49
Question 2 It Refers To How They Govern That
Is, How Much Government Control Is Permitted?
  • Second Category Totalitarian
  • Government controls all aspects of individuals
    lifeseeks to absorb or eliminate other social
    institutions that might challenge it.
  • E.G., Italy, 20th Century, under Mussolini.

50
Question 2 It Refers To How They Govern That
Is, How Much Government Control Is Permitted?
  • Third Category Constitutional Governments.
  • Governments are limited as to what they are
    permitted to control (substantive limitsfreedom
    of speech) as well as how they go about it
    (procedural limitsdue process).
  • E.G. United States is a Representative Democracy
    that has a Constitutional Government.

51
Principles Of US DemocraticGovernment
0
  • Universal suffrage, the right of all adults to
    vote for representatives
  • Majority rule with the protection of minority
    rights and

52
Principles Of DemocraticGovernment (Contd)
0
  • Limited government, the authority of government
    is limited by a written document or widely held
    beliefs.
  • Popular Sovereigntyultimate political authority
    is based on the will of the people.

53
Do We Have a Democracy?
0
54
The following 3 theories provide different
interpretations of who is ruling the US.
0
55
Majoritarianism
0
  • A political theory holding that if a nation is a
    democracy, the government ought to do what the
    majority of the people want.
  • Many scholars consider majoritarianism to be a
    poor description of how American democracy
    actually works. With low level turnout for
    elections, do these numbers really represent the
    majority position. That is, the percentage
    voting is not the majority of the citizens in the
    US.

56
Elite Theory
0
  • It has suggested that society is ruled by a small
    number of wealthy people, who exercise power in
    their self-interest.
  • Versions on theory 1) that voters choose among
    competing elites 2) new members of the elite are
    recruited through the educational system where
    this gateway provides for the masses offspring
    to join the elite stratum.
  • One criticism is that elite theory puts far less
    emphasis on classes or class conflict (i.e., more
    powerful groups use their power in order to
    exploit groups with less power ) to fully
    understand power in the United States.

57
Pluralism Theory
0
  • It proposes that conflict in society is among
    interest groups. That is, a struggle among groups
    to gain benefits for their members.
  • Pluralism suggests that group conflicts tend to
    be settled by compromise and accommodation so
    that each interest is satisfied to some extent.
  • Therefore, bargaining, compromise, and
    accommodation among groups should determine
    political decision-making.

58
Pluralism Theory (Contd)
0
  • Problems with Pluralism
  • Poor citizens are rarely represented by interest
    groups.
  • Rich citizens are often overrepresented.
  • Theres doubts whether group decision making
    always reflects the best interests of the nation.

59
None of the 3 Theories Explain The Whole Picture
0
  • Neither majoritarianism, elite, or pluralism
    fully describes the workings of American
    democracy.
  • Instead, each theory captures a part of reality.
  • We need all three theories to gain a greater
    understanding of American Politics.

60
Political Values and Ideology
0
61
Fundamental ValuesCertain Concepts basic to US
Political system
0
  • How did US achieve consensus on certain
    concepts?
  • Through the process called Political
    Socialization.
  • Political Socialization is the process through
    which individuals learn a set of political
    attitudes and form opinions about social issues.

62
Primary Sources of Political Socialization
  • Family
  • Education

63
Function Of Public Education System in US
  • To teach the values of the political culture to
    students through history courses, discussions of
    political issues, the rituals of pledging
    allegiance to the flag, and celebrating national
    holidays.

64
Example Pledging Allegiance To The Flag
  • On September 8, 1892 a Boston-based youth
    magazine "The Youth's Companion" published a
    22-word recitation for school children to use
    during planned activities the following month to
    commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus'
    discovery of America.   Under the title "The
    Pledge to the Flag", the composition was the
    earliest version of what we now know as the
    PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

65
Example Pledging Allegiance To The Flag
  • I pledge allegiance to the Flag     of the
    United States of America,and to the Republic for
    which it stands     one Nation under God,
    indivisible,With Liberty and Justice for all.

66
Example Pledging Allegiance To The Flag
  • When you Pledge Allegiance to the United States
    Flag, You
  • Promise your loyalty to the Flag itself.
  • Promise your loyalty to your own and the other
    49 States.
  • Promise your loyalty to the Government that
    unites us all,     Recognizing that we are ONE
    Nation under God,     That we can not or should
    not be divided or alone,     And understanding
    the right to Liberty and Justice belongs to ALL
    of us.

67
Political socialization has been important in
holding society together by persuading people to
support the existing political process.
0
68
The Fundamental Values Within the US Democratic
System Are
0
  • Liberty
  • Equality
  • Property

69
Liberty
0
  • The quality or state of being free the power to
    do as one pleases freedom from physical
    restraint freedom from arbitrary or despotic
    control the positive enjoyment of various
    social, political, or economic rights and
    privileges e the power of choice
  • The greatest freedom of individuals that is
    consistent with the freedom of other individuals
    in the society.

70
Equality
0
  • The quality or state of being equalthat is, of
    the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as
    another like in quality, nature, or status
  • Most Americans use the term to means that all
    persons should have the same opportunity to
    fulfill their potential.

71
Property
0
  • Something owned or possessed, specificallya
    piece of real estate.

72
Political Ideologies
0
  • A closely linked set of beliefs about the goal of
    politics and the most desirable political order.
  • At the core of every political ideology is a set
    of values that guides its theory of governmental
    power.

73
Political Ideologies
0
  • Conservatism
  • Liberalism
  • SocialismLibertarianism

74
Conservatism
0
  • A set of beliefs that includes a limited role for
    the national government in helping individuals.
  • Conservatives believe that the private sector
    probably can outperform the government in almost
    any activity.
  • Believing that the individual is primarily
    responsible for his or her own well-being,
    conservatives are less supportive of government
    initiatives to redistribute income or to craft
    programs that will change the status of
    individuals.

75
Liberalism
0
  • The advocacy of positive government action to
    improve the welfare of individualssuch as a
    support for civil rights and tolerance for
    political and social change.
  • It is believed that it is the obligation of the
    government to enhance opportunities for the
    economic and social equality of all individuals.
  • Liberals tend to support programs to reduce
    poverty, to endorse progressive taxation to
    redistribute income from wealthier classes to the
    poorer ones, and to rely on government regulation
    to guide the activities of business and the
    economy.

76
Socialism
0
  • Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines
    or political movements that envisage a
    socio-economic system in which property and the
    distribution of wealth are subject to control by
    the community.1 This control may be either
    directexercised through popular collectives such
    as workers' councilsor indirectexercised on
    behalf of the people by the state. As an economic
    system, socialism is often characterized by state
    or worker ownership of the means of production.
  • Active control of major economic sectors E.G.
    Medical careCanada's socialized medicine.

77
Libertarianism
  • Libertarianism is a political philosophy
    maintaining that all persons are the absolute
    owners of their own lives, and should be free to
    do whatever they wish with their persons or
    property, provided they allow others the same
    liberty and avoid abusing their
    liberty.Libertarians favor an ethic of
    self-responsibility and strongly oppose
    conscription and the welfare state, because they
    believe coercing someone to provide charity and
    military service is ethically wrong, ultimately
    counter-productive, or both.

78
The two political ideologies that have played a
central part in American political debates are
0
  • Conservatism
  • Liberalism

79
They want a democracy. Do you?
80
Democracy
  • Having faith that regular folks can rule is
    difficult.But, regular folks can rule!
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