APGovTextbookNotesUnits1-2 - September 9 Chapter 1...

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September 9 Chapter 1- Introducing Government in America in 2004 only 52% of young people said they followed politics most of some of the time compared to 86% of senior citizens, but no generation gap when 18-20 year olds first became eligible to vote in early 1970s Michael Delli Carpini and Scott Keeter argue in What Americans Know About Politics and Why it Mattersthe importance of being informed in public affairs. Political knowledge 1. fosters civic virtues, such as political tolerance 2. helps citizens to identify what policies would truly benefit them and then incorporate this information in their voting behavior; and 3.promotes active participation in politics 1996 -- presidential election turnout fell below the 50 percent mark for the first time since the 1920s 1971 -- lowered voting age to 18, little opposition bc young peeps have lowest turnout rates passage of Medicare in 1965 --frailty of old age led to a decline in voters after 80 instead of 60 broad reason for young political apathy -- today’s youth have grown up in an environment in which public news has not been as readily visible as it has been in the past grown up in media environment where there are few shared major national events/ experience (people used to gather round tv to follow national events, ex. 9/11) fragmented media environment-- dozens of tv channels, thousands of internet sites avoid political events when CBS, NBC and ABC dominated airwaves, little else left to watch on tv than political events Government institutions that make authoritative decisions for any given society are collectively known as government congress, president, courts, federal administrative agencies (“The Bureaucracy”) the policy-making institutions 500,000 elected officials in US How Should We Govern? What should government do? National govs throughout world perform these functions: maintain a national defense US spends over $400 billion/ year on national defense provide public services billions
public goods (parks) restricted goods (college, medical care) preserve order socialize the young school -- instill national values collect taxes approx 1 out of every 3 dollars made by an American is used to pay national, state, and local taxes Politics determines whom we select as our governmental leaders and what policies they pursue “Who gets what, when, and how?” -Harold D Lasswell political participation -- all the activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. Voting is the most common but not the only means of political participation in a democracy. Other means include protest and civil disobedience many people judge health of govt by how widespread it is single-issue groups: groups so concerned w/ one issue that members cast their votes on the basis of that issue only, ignoring the politician’s stance on everything else (abortion) The Policymaking System reveals the way govt responds to priorities of its people people shape policy

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