Introducing government in america
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Introducing Government in America. Chapter 1. Introduction. Politics and government matter. Americans are apathetic about politics and government. American youth are less likely to be informed about government and politics and participate less in politics. Introduction.

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Introducing government in america

Introducing Government in America

Chapter 1


Introduction

Introduction

  • Politics and government matter.

  • Americans are apathetic about politics and government.

  • American youth are less likely to be informed about government and politics and participate less in politics.


Introduction1

Introduction

  • The Political Disengagement of College Students Today (Figure 1.1)


Introduction2

Introduction


Introduction3

Introduction

  • Presidential Election Turnout Rates by Age (Figure 1.3)


Government

Government

  • Definition:

    • The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for society.

  • This definition leads to two basic questions:

    • How should we govern?

    • What should government do?


Politics

Politics

  • Definition:

    • The process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders produce. Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues.

  • Also consider Lasswell’s definition:

    • Who gets what, when and how.


The policymaking system

The Policymaking System

  • The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time.

    Figure 1.4

Figure 1.3


People

People

  • Interests

  • Problems

  • Concerns


Linkage institutions

Linkage Institutions

  • Political Parties

  • Elections

  • News & Entertainment Media

  • Interest Groups


Policy agenda

Policy Agenda

  • Political Issues

    • These arise when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it.

  • Some issues will be considered, and others will not.

  • A government’s policy agenda changes regularly.


Policymaking institutions

Policymaking Institutions

  • Legislature (Congress)

  • Executive (President)

  • Courts (Federal and State)

  • Bureaucracies (Federal and State)


Policy impacts people

Policy Impacts People


Policy impacts people1

Policy Impacts People

  • Impacts of Policies:

  • Does it solve the problem?

  • Does it create more problems?


Democracy

Democracy

  • Definition:

    • A system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences.

  • Equality in voting

  • Effective participation

  • Enlightened understanding

  • Citizen control of the agenda

  • Inclusion


Theories of u s democracy

Theories of U.S. Democracy

  • Pluralist Theory

    • A theory of government and policies emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies.

  • Groups will work together

  • Public interest will prevail


Theories of u s democracy1

Theories of U.S. Democracy

  • Elite and Class Theory

    • A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.

  • Not all groups are equal

  • Policies benefit those with money / power


Theories of u s democracy2

Theories of U.S. Democracy

  • Hyperpluralism

    • A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened.

  • There are too many ways for groups to control policy.

  • Confusing / contradictory policies


Challenges to democracy

Challenges to Democracy

  • Limited Participation in Government

  • Escalating Campaign Costs

  • Diverse Political Interests (policy gridlock)


Questions about democracy

Questions About Democracy

  • Are the people knowledgeable- and do they apply what they know?

  • Do interest groups help the process, or do they get in the way?

  • Do political parties offer clear consistent choices for voters?

  • Does the President & Congress work in the best interests of ALL the people?


American individualism

American Individualism

  • Individualism is the belief that individuals should be left on their own by the government.

  • Individualism is highly valued in the United States with a strong preference for free markets and limited government.


Questions about the scope of government

Questions about the Scope of Government

  • How big a role does the Constitution say should be played by the federal government?

  • Does a bigger, more involved (active) government limit the people’s freedoms?

  • Do we need a bigger, more involved government to protect our freedoms?


Questions about the scope of government continued

Questions about the Scope of Government, continued

  • Do competing political parties make for better policies?

  • Do more interest groups create a bigger government?

  • Does the media help control the size and policies government?


Questions about the scope of government continued1

Questions about the Scope of Government, continued

  • Can the president control the government, or has it gotten too big?

  • Can Congress respond to the needs of the people, or just to the interest groups?

  • Do members of Congress expand government by seeking to be re-elected?


Questions about the scope of government continued2

Questions about the Scope of Government, continued

  • Do the federal courts overstep their bounds and intrude on the powers of other branches of government?

  • Are the federal agencies too large and unresponsive to the public they are supposed to serve?


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