1 / 19

Chapter One

Chapter One. The Foundations of American Government. What is Politics?. Process of resolving conflicts and deciding, as Harold Laswell put it, “who gets what, when, and how”

Télécharger la présentation

Chapter One

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Chapter One The Foundations of American Government

  2. What is Politics? • Process of resolving conflicts and deciding, as Harold Laswell put it, “who gets what, when, and how” • Struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges • Process that regulates conflict within society (conflict is universal, endemic, pervasive) over the distribution of benefits • David Easton = politics is about the authoritative allocation of values for a society

  3. What is Government? • An institution in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges • Preeminent institution within society; ultimate authority for making decisions and allocating values • Power to enforce rules that impose order and stability; authority to make and enforce laws considered legitimate (proper, appropriate) • Max Weber = the state (i.e., government) has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence

  4. Why Do We Need Government? • Security • Order • Liberty, Equality, Property • Men/women are not angels • Resources are limited, scarce • Conflict is endemic, universal • All states seek stability, security, prosperity

  5. Types of Government • Totalitarian regime – rule by a small group or an individual dictator; with control over all aspects of life • Authoritarianism – only the government (not social and economic institutions) are fully controlled by the ruler • Oligarchy – rule by a few elites, who make decisions to benefit their own group • Aristocracy – initially rule by the best suited, which meant the wealthy, later it meant titled nobility • Democracy – political power is vested in the people • Direct democracy – when citizens vote directly on laws (e.g., initiatives, referendums, recall)

  6. Aristotle’s Classification

  7. Discussion Question • What are the advantages and disadvantages of direct democracy?

  8. Formal Characteristics of American Democracy • Consent of the governed • Republican (sovereignty rests in the people) • Representative (people elect decision-makers) • Limited government (constitutionalism) • Universal suffrage • Majority rule/minority protections

  9. What Kind of Democracy Do We Have? • Majoritarianism – the political theory that, in a democracy, the government should do what the majority of the people want • Elite theory – the idea that society is ruled by a small group who exercise power in their self-interest (class theory = dominant class) • Pluralism – a theory that views politics as conflict among interest groups, where decisions are made through bargaining and compromise

  10. Discussion Question • What kind of democracy do you think we we have? • majoritarian? • elite? • pluralistic? • What are the strengths/weaknesses of each theory? • What kind of democracy should we have? • How “democratic” is the U.S.?

  11. What is Political Culture? • Collection of beliefs and attitudes toward government and the political process held by a community or nation • Learned through political socialization • Occurs in many settings, family, schools, etc. • Dominant culture = values, customs, and language established by group or groups that have controlled politics and government • Subcultures = competing sets of values

  12. Fundamental Values of American Political Culture • Liberty, equality, and property • Liberty = greatest freedom of individuals consistent with freedom of others • Equality = all people are of equal worth (formal/legal equality and equal opportunity vs. equality of conditions) • Property = anything that is or may be subject to ownership • Inherent trade-offs, tension between these values • Liberty in tension with equality; equality with property (also liberty with order)

  13. Discussion Questions • How is liberty in tension with equality? • How is liberty in tension with order?

  14. What is Ideology? • Ideology = comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people (human nature) and the role of government • Liberalism = advocates government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights and tolerance for social change • Conservatism = advocates a limited role for the government in helping individuals and support for traditional values and lifestyles • Most Americans tend to be moderate

  15. Table 1-1: The Traditional Political Spectrum

  16. What this spectrum leaves out • From left to right • Communism • Democratic Socialism • Fascism • On a line, or in a circle

  17. Figure 1-1: A Four-Cornered Ideological Grid

  18. Discussion Question • How would you identify yourself? • What is your ideological orientation?

  19. Hot Links to Selected Internet Resources: • Book’s Companion Site: http://politicalscience.wadsworth.com/schmidtbrief2004 • Wadsworth’s Political Science Site: http://politicalscience.wadsworth.com • Government Resources on the Web: http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/govweb.html • Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy: http://www.puaf.umd.edu/IPPP

More Related