American Politics Notes

American Politics Notes - American Politics Notes-October 2...

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American Politics Notes-October 2, 2007 Element of force in govnt -to better society, social programs (schools,police,FDA) Political/private sphere : political-patriot act. Private-determined by govnt,concerns life of individual,religion controlled by gov,(partly)freedom to work, thought. Roe v wade made abortion legal . Lawrence v. Texas ; sodomy, in the interest of providing consistent morals, found constitutional to prohibit homosexuality. Politics is who gets what, when and how. Distribution of scarce resources. Govnt purpose is to provide protection because of the violent state of man. Hobbes -leviathan(overarching protector), “state of nature”-security is unguaranteed. Is the gov necessarily oppressive or is it a benign social contract. Benefits of gov: community building, protection&security, protects weak ( welfare, traffic, building codes), promotes economic growth, rights. Negatives of gov: high taxes, give up privacy, corruption, misdirected funds, eminent domain, oppressive. Buying into social contract: we follow the laws and pay taxes. Voting is consenting to the gov. state: gov is an institution of state, also police force, education, bureaucracy. State is a set of social institutions with authority over a bounded territory & exercises international sovereignty. Sovereignty - internal : inst. of state, final decision makers. Externa l: gov is recognized as a state by external actors (UN, treaties). Popular sovereignty- representations of popular rule. Civil society - autonomously organized social units free from state control. Mass Public - any individual not a member of political elite. Strong civil society = more democratic. Civil society groups ? Unions, NOW(feminists), church organizations, Green Peace, KKK. Rational choice theory (realist theory)- fixed set of preferences and acts in ways to maximize these preferences. The actor is an egoist (own well-being concerned). The primary goal of politicians is to stay in power, implement platforms. Adam Smith- economics, neoliberal economist. Freedoms can be restricted in name of security. Convicts cannot vote. Self-evident truths-natural law (desired outcome) social contract (preamble) and strong govnt. Federalism: consent of governed, strong natl gov, enshrined principles in document, strength is paramount, security=leviathan, strength=despotism. Purpose of the Constitution? Protect the rights of people, unify states, states rights, separation of powers, checks and balances. Supreme law of
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This note was uploaded on 05/31/2008 for the course POLISCI 102 taught by Professor George during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).

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American Politics Notes - American Politics Notes-October 2...

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