Section-week 4-4 Kingdon

Section-week 4-4 Kingdon - SectionWeek 4 KingdonAmerica the...

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Unformatted text preview: SectionWeek 4 KingdonAmerica the Unusual Kingdon Big academic of American politics, writes on Congress America: The Unusualtaps into a part of the literature we call "American Exceptionalism" literature been historically referred to as the opinion that the United States differs qualitatively from other developed nations, because of its unique origins, national credo, historical evolution, or distinctive political and religious institutions. Important Literature in American Politics and Comparative politics Why do you think the U.S. is so different compared to other countries? Kingdon's main point of why the U.S. is so different Government is more limited and smaller compared to other advanced countries. Scope and Reach of governmental programs is smaller Lower Taxes Public policieshealth care, transportation, housing and welfare for citizens are less ambitious Why so Different? Institutions Separation of powershow is this guaranteed? Members of different branches are selected differently President 4 year term by nationwide popular vote and electoral college House of reps; 2 year terms by election from districts of roughly equal population Senate6 yearspopular election statewide Judiciaryappointed for life by the president with senate approval InstitutionsChecks and Balances President can veto acts of congress. Courts can interpret and overturn acts of Congress. Congress can check the executive branch by using power of the purse. How does parliament government function differently? Prime minister is leader of the majority party in parliament If no one party controls the majority the prime minister is named through process of negotiation among the parties making up a majority coalition of parties Head of state not elected nationwide No fixed 4 year term Parliament can oust the prime minister and cabinet or the prime minister can dissolve parliament and call new electionswhat do you think would happen to U.S. today with this system? Federalism Powers of government divided at national level among 3 branches, but powers are also divided between the national government, state and local governments Difference between federalism and unitary system Difference between federalism and unitary system Unitary systemregional governments administrative units of the central government American federal system provides for states to have their own sovereign powers Another characteristic of federal system is the bicameral Congressthe senate2 senators no matter what state population and the housebased on population Kingdon notes it's the combination of separation of powers with federalism that makes the U.S. unique Why? Why such a weak government? Founders did not trust government so the made it weak Is anyone surprised that are political institutions have stayed the same throughout the years, why do you think they have? Political Parties Parliamentary SystemStrong Party Power Party gets to elect head of state Members have to select individual from their party that will represent themmore party based voting Abstaining or voting with opposition is regarded as neglect of dutyend their career Political Parties U.S. Party SystemWeak Party Power Individuals runnot as beholden to the party Individuals make their own decisions about whether to run or not Individual raise their own campaign money Questions for discussion Are parties still important in the U.S.? Do people vote more on issues rather than party loyalty? Why Parties are still important Parties are desirable accompaniments to democratic institutions. Democracies need parties to organize elections and to govern institutions Public Policy Medical Careevery industrialized country besides the U.S. has universal health care Transportationmore developed in other countries Public Utilitiesother countries they are owned or run by the government One exception Public policysmaller, except for educationwhy is that? Because part of American political culture to believe in the equality of opportunity, not the equality of result American Political Culture What are American values, believes, culture, creed, ideology? Individualism Individual goals and individual advancement, rather than community goals tied to liberty or freedom Hartz: "Liberal" ideology part of the foundation of U.S. political culture Liberallimited government that palced a high value on individuals and individual rights Locke His writings are the foundations of liberal U.S. political culture Importance of the individual, and individual rights Limits on authority and government Communitarian Republican Values Others argue that the founders of the U.S. were motivated by communitarian, republican values Republicancommunity in which people, and elected officials deliberate in order to pursue the common good U.S. political culture not individualistic but placed a high value on community and devotion to the public good "civic virtue" Equality Equality Don't these 2 values seem in conflict with each other? How to explain this paradox? We value equality of opportunity rather than equality of resultpull yourself up by the boot strap, etc. The American Creed Kingdon thinks that Americans have a different way of thinking about politics "We have a different view of the proper authority, limits, and possibilities of government"pg. 23 For Kingdon our beliefs in individualism and equality are what makes us different Why we hold onto the American Creed Migrationpeople that came to America help define today's Americans Those escaping religious persecutionthey were suspicious of authority because those in charge in Europe in their eyes were corrupt, immoral, etc. Those coming for economic opportunityThey did not like taxation because it defeated the purpose of their immigration Diversity and Localism The U.S. began as 13 separate colonies, not one unified nation. The colonial governments were weak too. One result of this is there is opposition to national initiatives. Economic and Social Structure Conflict among classes in US is less than in Europe Hartz idea that feudalism led to no serf revolt and therefore no class conflict Kingdon points out that a lot of people who migrated to the US came to escape feudal structure. Opportunityor the myth of opportunity Economics and social structure in that we do not have the kind of rigid distinctions that Europe had. Frontier Thesis Isolation Geographic isolation has led to less continental wars and more economic self reliance However, because of technology, we do not suffer from isolation the same way we would have in the past (global communication, etc.). ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2008 for the course POSC 100 taught by Professor Auerbach during the Fall '07 term at USC.

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