Chapter 1 - Democracy in the United States

Chapter 1 - Democracy in the United States - Democr acy in...

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Unformatted text preview: Democr acy in the United States Chapter 1 Five Principles of Politics (A.K.A “How to Think Like a Political Scientist”) • The Rationality Principle – All political behavior has a purpose. • The Collective Action Principle – Politics involves different political actors coming together to make decisions. • The Institutions Principle – Institutions and rules structure politics and sometimes solve collective action problems. • The Policy Principle – Political outcomes are the product of individual preferences and institutional rules and procedures. • The History Principle – History matters. AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM • Parliamentary v. presidential • Multi-party v. two-party • PR v. SMSP • Parties -- Strong vs. Weak Alexis De Tocqueville Democracy in America • “In May of 1831, a fancily-dressed, young French aristocrat arrived in the United States to begin his ‘scientific’ study of a new social and political phenomenon, American democracy.” Democracy In America • The effects of America’s beginnings on its trajectory are clear. • America was the land of equality – (as long as you were white, male, not indentured or enslaved, etc…) • Land, the basis for aristocracy, was widely distributed in America. – Inheritance laws served to promote equality. Democracy In America • “I know of no country, indeed, where the love of money has taken stronger hold on men…” • “…and where a profounder contempt is expressed for the theory of the permanent equality of property.” • In other words, equality of rights, but not equality of outcomes. Elections in America • Electoral influence is stronger in the U.S. than almost any other country. – The “Permanent Campaign” • What are the consequences of these frequent and prominent elections? – More accountability for elected officials....
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This note was uploaded on 07/21/2008 for the course GOV 310L taught by Professor Kieth during the Summer '07 term at University of Texas.

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Chapter 1 - Democracy in the United States - Democr acy in...

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