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The United States: American Politics in the Comparative Perspective

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Title: The United States: American Politics in the Comparative Perspective


1
The United States American Politics in the
Comparative Perspective
  • Kelly Walker
  • AP Comparative
  • Government

2
The United States
  • Federal System- National government shares power
    with states, cities, and other jurisdictions
  • Separation of Powers A system of checks and
    balances ensures that the three branches of
    government are kept separate

3
The United States
  • Classified as a weak state
  • Reasons
  • Politicians must compromise on all policy
    matters, difficult to act in a rapid and decisive
    manner
  • Stalls the system
  • Presidential System

4
The United States Difficult to Define
  • Political Culture Based on the rule of law and
    civil society-follow the rules
  • Decline in civic engagement (politics, churches,
    interest groups, etc.)
  • Decrease in trust of politicians
  • Widespread acceptance of the regime
  • Americans criticize politicians, rarely the
    constitution, or the regime

5
The United States An Overview
  • Established democratic institutions smoothly
  • Strict separation of church and state
  • Issues
  • Manifest Destiny
  • Civil War
  • Industrialization
  • Suffrage
  • 1872/John Gast American Progress. Allegorical
    representation of Manifest Destiny. Here
    Columbia, intended as a personification of the
    United States, leads civilization westward with
    American settlers, stringing telegraph wire as
    she travels she holds a schoolbook.. The Indians
    and wild animals flee.

6
The United States A Brief History
  • After the Revolution
  • Articles of Confederation ineffective
  • Allowed each state to set tariffs
  • Caused Violence
  • 1787 Constitution goals
  • Centralize the government
  • Protection against the arbitrary exercise of
    power
  • Economic Liberalism- (Adam Smith)
  • advocates minimal
  • interference by government
  • in the economy.

7
The United States Factions
  • No way to avoid them
  • One group eventually dominates tyranny of the
    majority
  • Solution Concentrate power in a central
    government and developed a totally new system
    (presidential)
  • System based on Compromise and incremental change
    (checks and balances)

8
The United States Bill of Rights
  • Ensured civil liberties
  • Established relations between central government
    and the states
  • Separated the church

9
The United States
  • The Industrial Revolution created an
    interventionist state
  • Developed anti-trust laws, not welfare programs
  • New Deal-expanded the national and state
    governments
  • Never developed a strong socialist party

10
The United States American Political Culture
  • Three Trends
  • Few question the regime
  • Accept the idea of a weak state
  • Individualism If you dont make it, its your
    own fault

11
The United States Civic Culture
  • Paradox
  • Individuals believe they can impact the system,
    but fail to vote or join a political party.
  • Functional apathy- allows leaders more power to
    govern
  • Result
  • Faith in politicians declines

12
The United States Parties and Elections
  • 2 party system Democrats and Republicans
  • Parties are weak- set up at the state level and
    does not chose its own candidates for office
    (hold primaries)
  • Both parties have become catch-all parties
  • First past the post system
  • Electoral college chooses the president

13
The United States Social Movements
  • New Left (1960s) promoted civil rights/ opposed
    the Vietnam War/environment/feminism/gay and
    lesbian rights. Middle class
  • New Right (1980s) Oppose legalized
    abortion/multicultural education/undermining of
    American values. Evangelical Christians/Reagan
    Democrats

14
The United States The Legislative Process
  • President appoints four thousand appointments to
    policy making positions
  • Result many are not qualified and difficult to
    streamline authority (Homeland Security)
  • Once the executive branch agrees on proposed
    legislation, it has to persuade congress

15
The United States The Legislative Process
  • Bicameral legislature
  • House of Representatives (435) lower house
  • Senate (100) upper house
  • Both sides must agree on legislation

16
The United States Legislative Process
President
House Of Representatives
Senate
Committees And Subcommittees
Committees And subcommittees
Rules Committee
Floor debate And vote
Floor debate and Vote
Conference Committee
17
The United States The Legislative Process
  • How do members of Congress vote on legislation?
  • Party Lines
  • Influence from the president
  • Peer influence
  • Constituents influence
  • Own views

18
The United States
  • Other factors which the US to be classified as a
    weak state
  • Bureaucracy Appointees are not experts
  • Judicial Review Allows non-elected judges to
    change policy
  • Federal System Shares power-difficult for
    national government to impose national standards

19
The United States Shift toward a Consensus
Policy?
  • Consensus policy making Decision- making
    procedures that emphasize win/win outcomes.

20
The United States and Public Policy
  • In comparison to other pluralist nations, the
    United States
  • Does not have universal health care
  • Offers Low unemployment and pension payments
  • Has difficulty in coordinating economic and
    social policy (control of interest groups)
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