Chapter 7 - Study Guide

Chapter 7 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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POLS 101I – American National Government Hagan Chapter Seven Political Participation and Voting: Expressing the Popular Will Learning Objectives Having read the chapter, the students should be able to do each of the following: 32128. Discuss the factors that cause lower voter turnout in U.S. elections as compared with other democracies. 32129. Note the significant constitutional amendments and legislative actions which have extended suffrage in America, and discuss their effects on American politics. 32130. List the personal characteristics that are associated with higher and lower levels of political interest. 32131. Discuss forms of conventional participation other than voting. 32132. Discuss unconventional political participation and assess its legitimacy and policy impact during different periods in American history. 32133. Discuss the relationship between Americans’ belief in individualism and their inclination to engage in or avoid political action. Focus and Main Points The focus of this chapter is on political participation in its various forms. The author highlights voting as the most common form of political activity, and examines the impact of registration, civic duty, party competition, socioeconomic status, and other important factors on voter turnout. Differences in the extent of political participation are examined and the effects of both individual and systemic factors are emphasized. The main points of this chapter include: Voter turnout in U.S. elections is low in comparison with that of other democratic nations. The reasons for this difference include the nature of U.S. election laws, particularly those pertaining to registration requirements and the scheduling of elections. Most citizens do not participate actively in politics in ways other than voting. Only a small proportion of Americans can be classified as political activists. Most Americans make a sharp distinction between their personal lives and national life. This attitude reduces their incentive to participate and contributes to a pattern of participation dominated by citizens with higher levels of income and education. Chapter Summary Political participation is involvement in activities designed to influence public policy and leadership. A main issue of democratic government is the question of who participates in politics and how fully they participate. Voting is the most widespread form of political participation among Americans. Voter turnout in the United States, however, is lower than in most other democratic nations. The requirement that Americans must personally register in order to establish their eligibility is one reason for lower turnout among Americans; other democracies place the burden of registration on governmental officials rather than the individual citizen. The fact that the United States holds frequent elections also discourages some citizens from voting regularly.
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This note was uploaded on 10/10/2011 for the course POLS 101 taught by Professor Hamilton,t during the Summer '08 term at College of Southern Idaho.

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Chapter 7 - Study Guide - POLS 101I American National...

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