Click here to load reader

Patterson ch01

  • View
    65

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Text of Patterson ch01

American Democracy1-*
1-*
Political thinking:
Involves the careful gathering and sifting of information to form a knowledgeable view about a political issue
Important for responsible citizenship
1-*
Learning to Think Politically
Barriers to political thinking
Main barrier: unwillingness of citizens to make the effort to self-inform
Changes in media consumption: more people consume biased cable television and Internet blogs
“Spin” by political leaders and government entities
Research shows faulty perceptions becoming more prevalent
*
1-*
Political science: the systematic study of government and politics
*
1-*
Defines the relationship between citizens and government
*
1-*
1-*
Unsettled land fostered freedom through migration
Many fled Europe to escape religious persecution
*
1-*
Government’s role is to serve the people
*
1-*
European aristocratic privilege versus American equal treatment under the law
Perplexing ideal in the early years of the nation: Some were free while others were enslaved
Differing opinions on the meaning of equality persist
*
1-*
American colonials had substantial self-determination
*
1-*
America’s cultural beliefs are idealistic
Failures to meet the high ideals:
Slavery
*
1-*
Reaching to meet the high ideals:
Abolition and suffrage movements
1-*
Politics and Power in America
Politics: the means by which society settles its conflicts and allocates the resulting benefits and costs
Power: the ability of persons, groups, or institutions to influence political developments
Authoritarian and totalitarian governments: nondemocratic, repressive regime types
*
1-*
*
1-*
1-*
1-*
A democratic system
System in which the people govern, by direct or representative means
In practice, majority rule through the free and open election of representatives
Majoritarianism: the majority effectively determines what government does
*
1-*
A democratic system
Contrast with authoritarian government that represses opposition through intimidation, restriction of rights, and even imprisonment and physical abuse
*
1-*
A constitutional system
The Constitution: elaborate checks and balances, Bill of Rights
Constitutionalism: idea that there are lawful restrictions on government’s power
Restraints on majority power
*
1-*
1-*
A free-market system
Some government intervention through regulatory, taxing, and spending policies
Tax rate much lower in U.S. than in European countries
Corporate power: influence firms have over policymakers
Elitism: power exercised by the influential few
*
1-*
Who does govern?
Defining characteristic of American politics: widespread sharing of power
*
1-*
Governing officials, the elective institutions, and their appointive bodies
Focus on public policies throughout book
*