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(2007) Identifications (2)

(2007) Identifications (2) - Creating a Constitutional...

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Creating a Constitutional Democracy Roche – The Constitution was the product of a reform caucus in action. It is the product of compromise (Connecticut Compromise) not great vision. Beard – Framers were businessmen and property-owners. For this reason, the Constitution was concerned with property rights (property requirements for voting, clauses protecting property) and preventing majority rule (Senators were selected, didn’t want the majority redistributing wealth). Beard argues that it is probable that many members of the convention didn’t understand what they were ratifying. Petersen – The Constitution was a codification of what was acceptable to the electorate at the time. Madison 10 – Madison is concerned about majority faction control. Argued for a republican form of government (intermediate agents) and division of power (checks and balances) in order to prevent majority faction control. The American Political Tradition American Creed (Huntington) – American are comfortable with holding conflicting values like liberty, equality, individualism, democracy, and constitutionalism. Each citizen manages his or her own balance of these ideas but almost all Americans approve of these values. The American Creed forms the national identity (nationality and ideology are fused). Being American is independent of ethnicity. American Exceptionalism (Steinmo) – American government does less to address social problems than European government. Steinmo argues that it is institutionally rooted (constitution prevents strong parties, weak labor movement, Congressional fragmentation, accountability of individual Congressman to their electorate). Five Aspects of American Political Culture: 1. Liberty – Our freedoms are codified in the Bill of Rights. 2. Equality – Political equality and equality of opportunity (not so much equality of result or economic equality). Most Americans value liberty over equality. 3. Anti-authoritarianism – Deep cynicism against politics and politicians. 4. Populism – Americans like the everyman. 5. Individualism – Belief in work ethic, hostility to welfare, government shouldn’t get in the way of individual achievement. Public Opinion Low-Information Rationality and Information Shortcuts (Popkin) – Popkin argues that voters use low-information rationality to make decisions and that education should try to improve shortcuts rather than eliminate them (political knowledge is not necessarily textbook
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knowledge). Voters rely on information shortcuts (everyday activities like retirement and taxes, friends and family, media). Voters use proxy information (party allegiance, past behavior, character and symbolic actions). Collective Deliberation (Page and Shapiro) –
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(2007) Identifications (2) - Creating a Constitutional...

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