Sources of Political Power

Sources of Political Power - government leaders create a...

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Sources of Political Power Where does political power come from? Scholars have developed two models to explain the source of political power: 1. Percolation-up model: Political power rests with the citizens. In turn, citizens grant political power to their leaders through elections. This view appeals to our democratic sensibilities, but it may not be correct. After all, throughout most of human history—and in many parts of the world today— strong and stable governments ignored their citizens. 2. Drip-down model: Political power rests with the leaders, who organize society and impose order. Nevertheless, citizens retain the power to overthrow the government by electing new leaders. Political scientists use both of these views in different circumstances. Sometimes change happens in a society because of a genuine grassroots effort. In other cases,
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Unformatted text preview: government leaders create a policy and impose it on the people. And sometimes both happen. The Models in Action The civil rights movement in the United States had elements of both percolation-up and drip-down models of power. Much of the original push for the movement came from African Americans, who were angry about their status as second-class citizens. They organized and staged a variety of protests to bring about change—an example of the percolation-up model in action. After it became apparent that many state governments (especially, but not only, in the South) would resist giving African Americans equal rights, the federal government began asserting its power to enforce laws and court decisions— an example of the drip-down model in action....
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2012 for the course POS POS2112 taught by Professor Leslietaylor during the Winter '09 term at Broward College.

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