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Unformatted text preview: American Govt and Politics 01/10/2007 14:58:00 Monday October 1, 2007 We the people a website Check it out Practice quizzes, online flash cards, chapter outline, chapter reviews etc October 1 st = first day of new supreme court term Lethal injections legal? Guatanamo bay trials okay? Voters need to show an ID card okay? Drug sentencing review on punishments for different drugs i.e. crack vs. powder cocaine Death penalty whether you can be put to death for a crime other than murder i.e. rape American Political Culture 1. Liberty, Equality, Democracy o Why and how they matter o Infuses American politics with meaning o How their meanings have changed over time o Ideas not laws, religions, institutions, partisan ideology, or anything else. They are theoretical abstractions. They are concepts. They are critical because they form the basis of most political arguments. The force of an argument comes from the ability of an IDEA to convince people to say or do or change how IDEAS can apply to the person or group. o They are also ideals and principles to which people aspire to live up to. Against which we tend to measure and compare things. They provide hope and insight into what Americans want. o No dictionary can provide a definition that is 100 agreeable. They are debated. o How these ideals should be applied is the fuel of American political development. o Effort to turn these ideals into realities moves politics along. The struggle creates political change. The tension between these ideas constitutes the most interesting stuff in politics. o The distance between the lofty goals and the reality has always been very great. Our nation has not ever truly lived up to these goals. What we believe and what we see are two very different things. o Politics is what we see but nothing happens without these ideals at stake. We need to focus of the distance between our ideals and reality. Politics therefore becomes a struggle to improve our reality via these ideals. 2. The Declaration of Independence 3. Perspectives on American Political Culture o The Liberal Tradition (American Exceptionalism) o Multiple Traditions in American LIBERTY Belief in individual freedom o People are born free and are inherently free o Presupposes that each person has an individual conscience and natural rights inside of them o Natural right how far these rights extend is of great debate o The Framers derived their philosophies from English philosophers John Locke everyone has natural rights that are constantly...
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course POLI_SCI 220 taught by Professor Galvin during the Fall '08 term at Northwestern.
- Fall '08