Chapter 4: American Political Culture Political Culture ➔ Constitutional differences could have been created because of different religions, languages spoken, population and religion ◆ Democracy may have worked well in America because of the abundance of land and opportunities ★ Political culture - patterned and sustained way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried ➔ Political System 1. Liberty - Americans believe they can really do anything with some exceptions as long as no one gets hurt 2. Democracy - Americans think government officials should be accountable to the people 3. Civic Duty - feel people ought to take community affairs seriously and help out when they can 4. Responsibility - individuals are responsible for their own actions and well-being ➔ Economic System ◆ More people are willing to tolerate economic inequality than political ● Earnings should be based on abilities and shouldn't have restrictions ◆ Specific economic policies change and many Americans believe that government should help needy and regulate business ◆ equal opportunities but not results Sources of Political Culture ➔ Adversarial spirit of American politics reflect preoccupation of rights and distrust in authority ◆ Government constructed upon putting trust into someone (maybe not your choosing) ★ Class Consciousness - belief that one is a member of an economic group whose interests are opposed to people in other groups ➔ Religious diversity and family may lead to different views Culture War ➔ Many political issues recently include - gay rights, drug use, school prayer - which create two cultural classes fighting over values ◆ Fights over the legality of abortions, marijuana, school prayer ◆ Money is usually not at stake and compromises are nearly impossible ★ Orthodox - belief that morality and religion ought to be of decisive importance ○ Derive from commands of god or laws of nature and are clear and unchanging ○ Includes Protestants and evangelical Christians ★ Progressive - belief that personal freedom and solving social problems are more important than religion ○ Includes Episcopalians and Unitarians
Mistrust in Government ➔ More people put less trust in government to make the right call and has since been declining since the 1950s ◆ Only went up during the Reagan presidency and after 911 attacks ➔ Started declining because of 1. President Nixon and Watergate 2. President Clinton and sex scandals 3. President George W. Bush and Iraq War ➔ Slight increase because of 1. President Eisenhower winning against fascism 2. Extraordinary patriotic feeling in 2001 Civil Society ★ Civil Society - voluntary action that makes cooperation easier ➔ Individualism creates more voluntary action creating trust ◆ More social capital → greater trust → easier to achieve goals
Chapter 7: Public Opinion What is Public Opinion?
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