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Weeks 1-2 Chps 1,2 & 3. Unit 1: Constitutional Underpinnings of the U.S. Government (CR 1: 5-15% of course/exam). Political Philosophies. Neutral pov: Harold D. Lasswell—everything you want and how you get it is political Thomas Hobbes—man is evil—w/o government control chaos would ensue

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weeks 1 2 chps 1 2 3

Weeks 1-2Chps 1,2 & 3

Unit 1: Constitutional Underpinnings of the U.S. Government

(CR 1: 5-15% of course/exam)

political philosophies
Political Philosophies
  • Neutral pov: Harold D. Lasswell—everything you want and how you get it is political
  • Thomas Hobbes—man is evil—w/o government control chaos would ensue
  • John Locke--Rulers and citizens enter into an agreement, or a social contract
  • Government by the people, masses
the purpose of government
The Purpose of Government
  • Maintaining Order
  • Providing Services
  • Promoting Equality
political power
Political Power
  • Power – ability of one person to cause another person to act in accordance
  • Authority – right to use power
  • Legitimacy – what makes the law or leader a source of “right”
what makes a democracy
What makes a Democracy?

Principles necessary for a democracy to exist.

  • Universal suffrage (everyone vote)
  • Political Equality (all votes counted equally)
  • Majority Rule
  • Government responds to public opinion
different types of democracy
Different types of Democracy
  • Direct Democracy
  • Representative Democracy
  • Republic
  • Constitutional Democracy
  • Constitutionalism
can uneducated poor people be trusted
Can uneducated/poor people be trusted?
  • Direct Democracy – citizens create/vote on laws
  • Problems

1. Impractical for reasons of time, expertise

      • How do you get 300 million people to vote multiple times per day on issues they no nothing about?

2. Masses of people make unwise decisions based on emotions (Hitler was elected)

representative democracy republic
Representative Democracy (Republic)
  • Citizens elect representatives
  • Gov’t MEDIATES popular views
    • “Will of the people” ≠ “Common interest”
  • Reps are educated on issues at hand
  • Prevents fast, sweeping change
  • Minority rights more likely to be protected
theories explaining how democracies actually function
Theories explaining how democracies ACTUALLY function
  • Majoritarian Theory
  • = leaders are forced to follow the wishes of the people because majority rules

2. Pluralist Theory

= groups compete and compromise with each other to get the gov’t to do what they want

3. Elite Theory

= groups or people who possess the most more power (money or influence) dominate gov’t

4. Bureaucratic Theory

= appointed officials dominate the gov’t through unelected jobs

a reminder
A Reminder…
  • These are only theories. They are people’s perception of our democracy and the way it functions.
  • Which theory is correct???
    • Pluralist – most popular today
    • Majoritarian – popular pre-1950’s
    • Elite – rising since the 80’s (Michael Moore)
    • Bureaucratic – gov’t spending more than ever before just to run itself
In the Constitution as originally ratified in 1788, the provisions regarding which of the following most closely approximate popular, majoritarian democracy?

a. Election of members of the House of Representatives

b. Election of members of the Senate

c. Election of the President

d. Ratification of treaties

e. Confirmation of Presidential appointees

Which of the following accurately characterizes the main differences between elite theories and pluralist theories of politics in the United States?

a. Elite theories concentrate on the role of interest groups; pluralist theories

b. Elite theories argue that a single minority dominates politics in all policy areas; pluralist theories argue that many minorities compete for power in different policy areas

c. Elite theories argue that social status is the major source of political power; pluralist theories argue that wealth is the major source

d. Elite theories emphasize the multiple access points that interest groups have to public officials; pluralist theories stress the limits in the number and effectiveness of such access point

e. Elite theories view government as efficient; pluralist theories view it as slow and wasteful

Which statement most closely reflects Thomas Hobbes contention of humanity and government?

a. Without government, society would live in a state of nature and chaos would ensue

b. The consent of the governed is necessary for a government to function properly

c. If the government fails to live up to its obligations, the people have the right to rebel

d. A separation of government agencies is essential for efficient government

e. It is better for strong leadership to be feared than loved by the populous

Fiscal policies refer to the government’s power to

a. Regulate specific industries

b. Tax and spend

c. Reapportion congressional seats

d. Control the supply of money

e. Enforce treaties