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AP Government & Politics

AP Government & Politics

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AP Government & Politics

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  1. AP Government & Politics Chapter 1 The Study of American Government

  2. 1. List the two basic questions to be asked about government in the United States(or any other nation) and show that they are distinct questions. 2. Explain what is meant by power, and by political power in particular. Relatethe latter to authority, legitimacy, and democracy. 3. Distinguish among the three concepts of democracy mentioned in the chapter,explaining in which of three senses the textbook refers to United States government as democratic. 4. Differentiate between majoritarian politics and elitist politics, explaining thefour major theories on the latter.

  3. There are two major questions about government: Who governs? To whatends? Four answers have traditionally been given to the question of who governs. Marxist: Those who own the means of production, controlling the economicsystem, will control the government. Elitist: A few top leaders, drawn from the major sectors of the United Statespolity, will make all important decisions Bureaucratic: Appointed civil servants control the government, withoutconsulting the public. Pluralist: Competition among affected interests shapes public policydecision-making.

  4. Types of Democracy Direct vs. representative democracy Text uses the term “democracy” to refer to representative democracy 1. Constitution does not contain word “democracy” but “republican form of government” 2. Representative democracy requires leadership competition if system is to work – requires meaningful choice for voters, free communication, etc.

  5. How is Power distributed in a Democracy? Framers favored representative democracy 1. Government would mediate, nor mirror, popular views 2. People were viewed as lacking knowledge and susceptible to manipulation 3. Framers’ goal: to minimize the abuse of power by a tyrannicalmajority or by officeholders

  6. How is power distributed in a democracy? Majoritarian politics • Leaders constrained to follow wishes of the people very closely • Applies when issues are simple and clear Elitism • Rule by identifiable group of persons who possess a disproportionate share of political power

  7. Four Theories on political elites a. Karl Marx: government merely a reflection of underlying economic forces, primarily the pattern of the ownership of the means of production; government is controlled by the dominant social class; “Haves vs. have nots” b. C. Wright Mills: power elite, composed of key corporate leaders, military leaders, and political leaders, control and are served by government c. Max Weber: expertise, specialized competence (bureaucrats) will dominate d. Pluralist view: no single elite has monopoly on power; hence must bargain and compromise while being responsive to followers

  8. 1. List the two basic questions to be asked about government in the United States(or any other nation) and show that they are distinct questions. 2. Explain what is meant by power, and by political power in particular. Relatethe latter to authority, legitimacy, and democracy. 3. Distinguish among the three concepts of democracy mentioned in the chapter,explaining in which of three senses the textbook refers to United States government as democratic. 4. Differentiate between majoritarian politics and elitist politics, explaining thefour major theories on the latter.