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Unformatted text preview: Political Science 01 s s Chapter 1: Government & People Book: Democracy Under Pressure by Milton C. Cummings, Jr. & David Wise, cr. 2001 s s s LACC Prepared by Professor Melvin Aaron Fall 2007
1 Chapter 1: The Political Landscape
s Chapter Overview: – To answer the key question of politics, i.e., who gets what, when, why and how, it is necessary to understand how the American system of government works. – The origins of American political institutions rests on the principles of natural law and the social contract theory of government.*
2 Learning Objectives1
s s s s Explain the philosophical heritage of government based on popular consent and its relevance to the American experience. Describe the nature of democracy and how it compares with other forms of government. Explain the relationship between economics and politics. Define capitalism and socialism. Contrast the relationship between the two.
3 Learning Objectives2
s s s Define the elite, bureaucratic, pluralist, and interestgroup theories of politics. Present important demographic characteristics of the American people; discuss why many Americans are frustrated; and elucidate some of the important issues that divide Americans. Define the terms “liberal” and “conservative” and explain their both past historical context and their current context. 4 The Life of Thomas Hobbes
Born: 1588, Westport, Wilshire, England. s Died: 1679, Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, England. s Major Works: De Cive (1642), Leviathan (1651), De Corpore (1655), De Homine (1658). s 5 The Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes
s Knowledge is derived from sense experience and from reason: From sense experience we derive historical knowledge and prudence, and from reason we derive scientific and philosophical knowledge and wisdom. Scientific or philosophical reason is essentially the same as that which is employed in mathematics, moving from definitions, axioms, and postulates to theorems derived logically 6 from them. s The Political Philosophy of Thomas Hobbes
s s s s s Only matter exists, there is no such thing as a purely spiritual being: This includes God. Religion arises out of fear, ignorance, and efforts by rulers to maintain their advantage over their subjects. Good and evil are simply what people desire or dislike; right and wrong are what are permitted or forbidden by law. Human actions arise out of a desire for self preservation, and the laws of nature permit any action reasonably intended for that purpose. Monarchy is the best form of government. 7 Thomas Hobbes and Social Contract Theory
s Since the state of nature is one in which there is no law, it follows that a state of peace must be one in which there is law. – In order to get out of the state of nature it is necessary for each person to give up some of the rights he or she has and assume some obligations. – Some rights are inalienablethat is, cannot be given to anyone else.
s The rights of life, liberty, and having “the means of so preserving life as not to be weary of it” are inalienable, for they are the very purpose for which 8 other rights are given up. Philosophical Ideas About Government
s Natural lawAristotle first articulated this concept that human affairs should be governed by certain ethical principles. s Thomas Aquinasgave the idea of natural law a Christian framework by arguing that natural law and Christianity were compatible because God was the creator of thenatural law that established individual rights to life and liberty. s Divine right of kingsMonarchs continued to rule in opposition to Aquinas’ views by asserting that their rule was divinely inspired since god 9 deemed that they be king.* A Growing Idea: Popular Consent
s SeparatistsReligious reformers who split from the Anglican Church, believing that they had the ability to speak directly to God, and that this gave them the power to participate directly in the governing of their own local congregations (i.e., the Protestant Reformation or Revolt).
s Social contract theory of government posits that men are free and equal by Godgiven right and must give their consent to be governed.
10 The Life of John Locke
Born: 1632, Wrington, Somerset, England (near Bristol). s Died: 1704, Oates, Essex, England. s Major Works: First Letter on Toleration (1689), Second and Third Letters on Toleration (1690 and 1692), Essay Concerning human Understanding (1690), and Treatises on Government 11 (1689).
s s Major Ideas: The Philosophy of John Locke – There are no innate ideas. – Human knowledge is derived either from sense experience or from introspection (reflection). – Ideas are signs that represent physical and mental things. – Good is whatever produces pleasure and evil whatever produces pain. – Liberty is for the sake of pursuing happiness. – The state of nature, prior to the existence of human government, is subject to the rule of natural or divine laws, which are revealed through the exercise of reason. – The chief reason for establishing governments is the preservation of private property. 12 – Civil government results from a social contract. The Political Philosophy of John Locke
s The Mind as a “Tabula Rasa”* s Primary and Secondary Qualities 13 The Political Philosophy of John Locke
s Theory of Propertyrefers to the notion that s The People as Sovereignthat the private property is a natural right that exists independent of government and should only be protected by government. consent of the governed granted to a sovereign is what endows the latter with legitimacy, and therefore, the people also have a right to revolution when the sovereign causes a long train of abuses or breaches the social contract in the eyes of the people. 14 Philosophical Ideas About Government
s Natural lawAristotle first articulated this concept that human affairs should be governed by certain ethical principles. s Thomas Aquinasgave the idea of natural law a Christian framework by arguing that natural law and Christianity were compatible because God was the creator of the natural law that established individual rights to life and liberty. s Divine right of kingsMonarchs continued to rule in opposition to Aquinas’ views by asserting that their rule was divinely inspired since god 15 deemed that they be king.* Political Forms of Government
Direct Democracyas illustrated in the town meetings common to New England. s Indirect Democracyor a republic, in which citizens elect representatives to work on their behalf. s Political Principles by Which to Distinguish Direct versus Indirect Democracy: individual liberty; political equality; popular consent; majority rule versus minority 16 rights.
s s Primitive communalismearliest form of Types of Economic Systems economy among Homo sapient sapiens characterized by land plentitude, labor scarcity, & low level of technology.
s s Feudalismemerges where land becomes relatively scarce and labor plentiful. Capitalismthe economic system in which most of the means of production are operated for private profit; private ownership of property and free market economy.
s Socialism/Communismadvocates collective ownership and control of the major means of production.*
17 s s s s s s s s s s Ownership of Principal Means of Production Main Goal of Owners of Means of Production Type of Exchange Among People Political Form of Government Corresponding to Type of Economy Distribution of Political Power in Society Control & Influence of State Power (Who controls?) Implicit & Explicit Weighting of 3 Fundamental (Basic) Democratic Values Level/Amount of Social Heterogeneity Level/Amount of Racism/Ethnocentrism & Sexism Level/Amount of SocioEconomic Inequality (in Income & 18 Wealth) throughout Society Framework for Comparing Different Economic Systems Four Basic Theories of Decision Making Within A Republic
s Elite Theoryposits that a small group of elite, composed of military leaders, corporate leaders, and some government leaders control decisionmaking.* s s s Bureaucratic Theoryholds that it is bureaucrats who control. interest groups who control. Interest Group Theoryholds that it is the multitude of Pluralist Theoryholds that resources are so widely scattered that decisionmaking cannot be controlled by any single group, but rather, different groups will control at 19 different times depending on the policy area. Characteristics of American Democracy
s Preeminence of Individual or Personal Liberty. Value Placed on the Individual. s Popular Sovereignty (Popular Consent). s Political Equality s Majority Rule & Preservation of Minority 20 Rights*
s – Freedom from governmental infringement. – Freedom to be free from discrimination. Demographic Characteristics of the American People
s Size & Population: 263 millions (which means each House member represents about 870,000 people of diverse backgrounds and needs). s Racial & Ethnic Change: Waves of migration have affected the development and course of American politics.
– – – Rise in antiimmigration sentiments. Controversy over affirmative action. Conflict between young and old over Social Security & Medicare.
21 s Age: On average, the American population is older. Political Ideology: Conservatism versus Liberalism
s Political ideologyrepresents an individual’s LiberalsCurrently one who believes in more coherent set of values and beliefs about the purpose & scope of government.
s government action to meet individual needs. Originally, a liberal was one who resisted government encroachment on individual liberties.
s ConservativeA defender of the status quo who, when change becomes necessary in tested institutions or practices, prefers that it come slowly 22 and in moderation. The Frustrated American Public
s Lack of faith that significant economic betterment is possible. s High expectations of government usually unmet. s Lack of appreciation for the good things government does.
23 The Politics of Election 2000
s Is it important in a democracy that the electorate’s votes be counted? – Thousands of votes had not been counted because of improprieties with the mechanical machine counting process.
s – On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court ordered a statewide recount of any disputed votes; a much divided U.S. Supreme Court responded on December 12 with a 54 vote in favor of Bush, mimicking the Bush camp’s position that the recount lacked uniformity and was therefore unconstitutional. s Al Gore’s camp called for manual recounts of the untallied votes, while the George Bush camp claimed that the recount would lack uniformity and therefore was unconstitutional. It is noteworthy that a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court justices were appointed by Republican presidents! 24 s Electoral Vote Outcome: Popular Vote Outcome: Divided Government: Strange Goingson in the American Democracy – Bush had won 30 states with 271 electoral votes; Gore won 20 states and the District of Columbia with 257 electoral votes. – Gore won 50,158,094 of the public vote, while Bush won 49,820,518. – While the Republicans managed to maintain their slim lead in the House of Representatives, the Senate was split down the middle with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats. – Ralph Nader, of the Green Party candidate, pulled in 2,783,728 popular votes which translated into no electoral votes. – Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, received 445,343 25 popular votes which, like Nader, translated into no electoral votes. s s s The two third party candidates for president: s After two Clinton administrations, the country had Changing Directions of the National Ship been set on a path of sustained economic recovery from 12 years of Republican drift and partisan mismanagement of the public purse.
– Unemployment reached an unprecedented low and instead of record setting multibillion dollar federal deficits produced by 3 previous Republican presidential administrations, Clinton erased it and replaced it with a big federal surplus that was estimated in June of 2000 to be reaching $1.3 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. s Most of the heated discussion between the two major parties’ leaders had to do with spending this federal windfall, and whether tax cuts were the best way to dispense with it. s Republicans generally favored some kind of tax cut to use up the big federal surplus, while many Democrats asserted that funding 26 of social programs, like education and health care, would better serve the interests of the majority of Americans. The Bush Platform
s George Bush campaigned on the slogan of “compassionate conservatism.” – He talked randomly about “faith…family values and this great land we call America.” – He tried to move his campaign closer to the political center to capture more of the independent voters by offering politicking platitudes about Social Security, Medicare, and education. – He proposed to sign a bill that would ban partialbirth abortions in the interest of promoting a culture that values “the life of the unborn.” – He favored enforcement of existing gun control laws rather than enactment of new, more effective ones. – He also expressed policy aims to increase military/defense expenditures, finance deployment of a missile defense system, and cut taxes; the huge federal surplus, he wistfully and with tooth in cheek, declared that “the surplus is the people’s money.” 27 The Gore Platform
s Gore reminded the American electorate that he was a central part of the Clinton administrations that had set the country on a path of sustained economic recovery.
– He tried to portray himself as the leader of ordinary working Americans who were threatened by the greediness of the wealthy and powerful few. – Gore stood, seemingly, in stark contrast to Bush as moderate heirapparent of the New Deal tradition.
s That New Deal tradition deemed that government—especially the federal government—had a major responsibility for being activistoriented in addressing the social and economic needs of the American people.
28 The SocioEconomic Context of Contemporary American Politics
s s s s s Increasing numbers of Americans now invest in the stock market. American corporate culture has and is still undergoing significant reform. Across the country, the traditional smokestack industries (e.g., steel, automobile, etc.) have declined radically, forcing tens of thousands of blue collar workers out of work. Many whitecollar workers also have been cast aside, usually resulting from corporate downsizing and mergers. The rising cost of health care has become a public enemy.
29 The SocioEconomic Context of Contemporary American Politics
s s s s The globalization movement of capital, which seeks an increasing interconnected worldwide economy, and increased trade competition from Asia and elsewhere present formidable problems to continued U.S. economic hegemony. Racism and gender bias are still rampant throughout the nation. In the 1990s, terrorist attacks against U.S. targets have escalated as a form of political expression. The quality of public education is in question, and such is associated with the problems of crime, drugs, poverty, homelessness, addictions of sorts, and the unattended needs of inner cities. 30 The Reciprocal Nature of Democratic Power
s The Impact of Government on People: s The Impact of People on Government: – Government’s impact on our lives is farreaching. – In the U.S. federal system, government seems like a maze with local, state, and the federal levels impacting us, along with numerous commissions, authority boards, councils, and quasigovernmental agencies impacting us as well. – While government affects us, we can affect government as well, i.e., the reciprocal nature of government power.
31 s Voting—Having the right to vote in free elections to choose Party Activity—As a fundamental entity in American How We Affect Government those who govern us is a real power. – Because elected officials serve at the behest of voters, these officials are likely to be influenced in some way by public opinion. s politics, parties provide a political structure for competition and election choice. s Public Opinion—Because candidates for public office aim to win elections by having broad appeal among the electorate, they tend to be influenced by the public’s views. – Besides, an informed electorate serves as the best constraint against mismanagement in public office. s Interest Groups—Those with similar attitudes who make such views known, tend to influence government because they represent blocs of voters. s Direct Action—Involves the politics of confrontation 32 which includes demonstrations, marches, sitins, strikes, picketing, and protests s Government consists of individuals, institutions, and processes that establish the rules for society and exercises legitimate authority and power to enforce compliance with these rules. – These rules determine who gets what valued resources, when, why, and how. What is Government? s What is politics? s What is power? Power represents control over others.
s – Politics is about the pursuit of power and government is about the exercise of power. But power can also be less direct in its effects, as in influence which consists of persuasion, deprivation, and compensation. s What is democracy?
s – A form of government that means “rule by the people.”
s But there are direct democracies and indirect democracies (i.e., republics). The ideas of majority rule and political equality are fundamental to 33 the democratic theory. s Dynamism in the Political System: What Is A Political System? s Inputs, Outputs, and Feedback:
s – A political system is a set of interrelated individuals, institutions, and processes, each of which performs a separate function in the binding, authoritative decisionmaking process in respect to the allocation of valued resources of society. – Inputs are of two sorts—demands and supports.
s s Demands represent what people want the political system to do, which, is related to what they want to get out of it. Supports are the attitudes and behavior of people that sustain the system in allocating valued resources in the manner to which it is accustomed. Outputs of the political system are in brief the binding decisions made—i.e., laws, regulations, or judicial decisions. Feedback refers to the responses of people in society to the 34 decisions undertaken by the authorities of the political system.
– Usually one segment of society benefits at another’s expense (i.e., re distributive decisions). s The Public PolicyMaking Process
s Public Policymaking: – A public policy is a course of public action, chosen from among an array of alternatives, determined by policymakers and enforced by the instrumentalities of government.
s s Thus, political conflict arises from competing definitions of a policy problem. The second aspect of policy analysis involves implementation, impact, and distribution.
– Implementation represents the action or actions undertaken by government to carry out a policy. – Policy implementation has consequences—both immediate and indirect (i.e., policy impact). – Distribution refers to what happens when government implements a public policy that assigns benefits and costs to members of society (i.e., “who wins and who loses”).
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