August 29, 2005
Chapter 1: American Political Culture
American political culture is about who you are politically. What you think the government should
do for you or what it shouldn't do for you. Does not go back and forth, it stays with you.
Political socialization is where we learn and inherit our political culture.
Widespread means most of the people. Enduring means lasting - Doesn't have to last forever.
Public opinion goes back and forth. Americans are extremely fickle.
America is built on ideals. Ex: Freedom, liberty, justice, the rights of Americans. They are in the
Declaration of Independence and Constitution. They aren't the same words, but they mean the
Back in the Constitution days, "We the people" meant the wealthy elite. It didn't really mean
everyone. Back then, property was wealth.
Framers of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers of the Constitution are the same thing.
The government does not begin anew every generation, it builds on the past ideals.
The most significant link in the U.S. between past and the present is the nation's founding ideals.
Political cultural is a set of core ideals: liberty, equality, self government, individualism, unity, and
diversity. Ideals are things that serve as a common bond among Americans. Ideals are mythical,
we can't really reach out and touch them.
Who rules? The majority, interest groups, or the government?
Values are what we think are good. Beliefs are what we think is true. Values and beliefs can be
different among racial groups and different groups of people.
Americans generally share some value and beliefs of the natural and inherent rights, inalienable
rights of humans. Ex: freedom, liberty, individualism, equality, justice for all, to dignity and worth.
The government is not supposed to take your dignity away even if you commit the worst crime
ever. You are supposed to be treated like a human being, you won't get your hands chopped off