Political Culture The widely shared beliefs, values, and norms that citizens share about their government
Sources of Culture • Historical roots • Revolution, taxation, Civil War • Puritan heritage (Protestant Work Ethic) • Family • Immigrant flavors • Glorification of farmer, pioneer Learning Objective 2: • Recognize the agents of political socialization and explain the impact the agents have on shaping the political views of individuals.
Characteristics Liberty Individualism/Rugged Individualism (as opposed to collectivism/statism) Learning Objective 2: Recognize the agents of political socialization and explain the impact the agents have on shaping the political views of individuals.
Elements of American Political Culture • Liberty • Political & legal equality • Democratic • Individual responsibility • Limited Government • Political tolerance • Pragmatism • Civic duty • Economic culture • Religion culture
Characteristics • Equality • Equality of opportunity more than results • Political equality more than economic equality • American Dream (reverence for property, capitalism, chance for wealth) • FDR’s second Bill of Rights (1944) ensuring economic security • False consciousness (as opposed to class consciousness associated w/Europe) Learning Objective 2: • Recognize the agents of political socialization and explain the impact the agents have on shaping the political views of individuals.
Characteristics (Cont’d) • Democracy • Civic Duty • “Social Capital” creates a strong society: Social Networks • Robert Putnam (Bowling Alone) advances argument that number of bowlers has increased, but those participating in leagues has declined, therefore he assumes that with decline in social network, there is less likelihood of people coming together, listening to one another, exchanging ideas (creates smaller degree of civic duty)
Civic Duty • Key Club, Leadership, NHS, GO etc. • Kiawanis, Rotary, Odd Fellows, Elks, Optimists. NAACP, Urban League, Junior League • Scouts, Boys Club, Pop Warner, Little League, Kids Soccer, etc. • Friends of Trees, Habitat for Humanity • LWV, PTA • Boards, Councils, Commissions • Political parties
Characteristics (Cont’d) • Distrust of Government - since 1960’s and Watergate, Viet Nam (esp. low today due to gridlock/partisanship) • Political Efficacy - sense that one can both understand and influence public policy • Political Tolerance - more in the abstract than concrete (Do we tolerate opposing viewpoints?) • Pragmatism - Americans tend to be less ideological • Justice - Belief in the rule of law. A “government of laws, not men.”
Economic Culture • Free enterprise • But some market place protection • Equality of opportunity • But not of results • Economic mobility needed, • But based on achievement; (not provided by gov’t assistance) • Economic individualism • American Dream Learning Objective 2: • Recognize the agents of political socialization and explain the impact the agents have on shaping the political views of individuals.
Culture Wars • Urban-Rural-Suburban Split • Individual freedom vs. Religious morality • Political efficacy vs. anti-government • “Middle Americans” & “Silent Majority” (Referenced by Nixon during Viet Nam era)
Dilemma • Conflict between liberty associated with capitalism and equality associated with democracy--federal action • In progressive era to bring corporations under control (Reforms such as Pure Food and Drug Act, Initiative and Referendum, etc.) • In 1930’s to smooth out ill effects of capitalism (unemployment, Social Security, etc.) • In 1960’s with Great Society programs (Medicare-Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc.)(LBJ)
How much do we know? In 1996, the percent of people who could not name!
US & Europe: Work • Hard work guarantees success • US UK Germany Italy France • 63% 46% 38% 51% 46%
US & Europe: Religion • Prayer is an important part of my life • US UK Germany Italy France • 64% 37% 44% 69% 32% • I am a religious person • US UK Germany Italy France • 76% 55% 54% 69% 48%
Religious/Political ToleranceText page 106 • If your party nominated a well qualified person who is----would you vote for the person? • Person 1940 1990 • Catholic 60% 90% • Jew 50% 88% • Woman 35% 80% • Black 40% 80% • Atheist 20% 45% • Homosexual 20% 38%