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AP American Government and Politics. Politics: Who Gets What and How. By Michael Miguel Academy of Our Lady of Guam . What is at stake?.

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Politics who gets what and how

AP American Government and Politics

Politics: Who Gets What and How

By Michael Miguel

Academy of Our Lady of Guam

What is at stake
What is at stake?

  • Is young people’s political involvement really such a big deal, or is concern about keeping the republic just an idiosyncrasy of long deceased founders and hyperactive political science professors? What is really at stake for American democracy in the issue of youthful engagement in the political system?

What is politics
What is Politics?

  • Election 2012: Obama vs. Romney

  • Politics: Determining without recourse to violence, who gets power and resources in society and how they got them

  • Power vs. Authority

  • “We are political animals and we are destined to remain” – Aristotle

Why government
Why Government?


Politics in Government

  • Provides order: Rules and Institutions

  • Provides Public Goods

  • Promotes Equality

  • Politics is a process in which resources are gained a/o lost

  • Government is a system or organization for exercising authority over a body of people

  • “Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” - Thomas Hobbes, 17th Century English Philosopher

Dimensions of politics and economics
Dimensions of Politics and Economics



  • Pure Capitalist Economy

  • Regulated Capitalism

  • Social Democracy

  • Socialism

The tension between order and freedom
The tension between order and Freedom

How can government provide complete order?

How can government provide complete freedom?

  • 1984 – Brave New World

  • Soviet Union

  • North Korea

  • Martial Law

  • Anarchy

  • Garden of Eden

  • Lord of the Flies

  • Post Saddam Iraq

  • Post Katrina

  • “State of Nature”


More Government Control of the economy(substantive guarantees)

Less Government Control of the economy (procedural guarantees)


Complete government ownership and control Ex. China, North Korea, Cuba, Former Soviet Union

Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Private ownership and no government control

Ex. None

Social Democracy

Mostly private ownership but extensive government control Ex. Sweden Norway

Regulated Capitalism

Private ownership and some government control

Ex. Britain, U.S.

Political systems and the concept of citizenship
Political systems and the Concept of Citizenship

Authoritarian Systems

Non-Authoritarian Systems

  • Monarchy

  • Theocracy

  • Fascist

  • Oligarchy

  • Totalitarian

  • Authoritarian capitalism

  • Anarchy

  • Democracy

Democratic government what does it really mean
Democratic Government…What does it really mean?

  • True Democracy – All people have a say in elections

  • “The problem with a government of the people, for the people, and people is….have you seen some of these people?” – Maine

Theories of democracy
Theories of Democracy

Elite Democracy

Pluralist Democracy

Elections merely symbolic

Not as much about individual participation as it is about membership in groups that participate in government

Participatory Democracy

Individuals have the right to control all circumstances of their lives

Advanced Industrial Democracy

Personal freedom w/i a free market economy

Communist Democracy

Embracing personal freedom and a collectively owned economy

Chart political and economic systems
Chart: Political and Economic Systems

Less government control over individual lives and the social order

Advanced Industrial Democracy

Communist Democracy

Personal freedom within a free-market economy (although usually with some government regulations)

Marx’s hope for a system embracing personal freedom and a collectively owned economy

Less government control of the economy

More government control of the economy

Authoritarian Capitalism

Totalitarian System

Government allows market economy but highly regulates individual behavior

More government control over individual lives and the social order

Government controls all economy and individual behavior (Former SU, North Korea, China)

Origins of democracy in america
Origins of Democracy in America

The Ancient Greek Experience

Politics in the Middle Ages

  • 500-600 BCE

  • 1/10th of population defined as citizens

  • Parallels to American Democracy

  • Restricted participation to political affairs

  • 600-1500 AD

  • Participation very limited

  • Dominated by Monarchies, Divine Right of the Kong

Origins of democracy in america1
Origins of Democracy in America

The Protestant Reformation


  • 1500-1700

  • More participation than in Middle Ages

  • Individual spirituality and connection to God

  • Calvinist ideals

  • Martin Luther

  • Church seen as unnecessary – paves way for new ideas

  • Focus on human reason

  • Thomas Hobbes

  • John Locke

Social contract theory
Social Contract Theory

  • Freedom and rights existed before Government

  • Thomas Jefferson (based on John Locke’s principles)

  • We, as citizens, enter into an agreement with the government allowing it to create rules that set boundaries for our behavior and protect our life, liberty, and property.

  • If the gov’t goes too far w/ that power, we as citizens can dissolve that government.

Democracy and citizenship in america
Democracy and Citizenship in America

Dangers in Democracy

Madison’s vision of citizenship

  • Founders rejected idea of a pure democracy

  • Opted instead for a Republic

  • Safe than direct representation

  • Very low expectation for the average American citizen

  • Republican Virtue no longer common after independence

  • Hoped representatives would be wiser than the average American

Who rules when the people disagree
Who rules when the People Disagree?

Majoritarian Model

Pluralist Model

  • Rule of the majority

  • Elections

  • How can we protect minority rights?

    • Tyranny of the majority

  • There isn’t “the public”

  • Many minority groups of people – melting pot

  • “The Public” as groups

    • Racial

    • Religious

    • Ethnic

    • Gender

    • Professional

    • Regional

    • Urban

    • Rural

Who should make decisions
Who Should Make decisions?

  • Apathetic majority?

  • Passionate minority?

  • Why let the majority decide?

    • It does not care

    • It does not have expertise

  • Pluralism – no one group in control

A christian perspective
A Christian perspective

  • Orderly

  • Freedom

  • Land was plentiful; not scarce

  • Fall of Mankind  State of Nature

  • By God’s Grace, still some order

  • Romans 13: 1, 4


  • 2 Tensions in American government

    • Order vs. Freedom

    • Majority Rule vs. Minority Rights

    • Majortitarian Model vs. Pluralist Democracy