8. The end product of government and politics is public policy . 9. Policymakers stand at the core of the political system, working within the three 10. policymaking institutions established by the U.S. Constitution: the Congress, 11. the presidency, and the courts. ● Policy impacts are the effects policy has on people and on society’s problems. ● 1. There are many types of public policies, including congressional statutes, presidential actions, court decisions, budgetary choices and regulation. ● 2. Having a policy implies a goal: people who raise a policy issue usually want a policy that works . 3. Translating people’s desires into public policy is crucial to the workings of democracy. C. Policies can be established through inaction as well as action. DEMOCRACY ● Democracy is spreading throughout the world, in areas that were formerly undemocratic. However, people around the world define democracy differently, and few Americans really understand it fully. ● Defining democracy . 1. The writers of the U.S. Constitution were suspicious of democracy. V . 6 Chapter 1 1. In his Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as 2. “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” 3. The basic definition used throughout the Government in America textbook is: democracy is a means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government 4. so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences. C. Traditional democratic theory rests upon several principles that specify how a democratic government makes its decisions. 1. Democratic theorist Robert Dahl refers to five criteria that are essential for “an ideal democratic process” : ● Equality in voting—the principle of “one person, one vote” is basic to ● democracy.
● Effective participation—political participation must be representative . ● Enlightened understanding— free press and free speech are essential to ● civic understanding. ● Citizen control of the agenda—citizens should have the collective right to ● control the government’s policy agenda. ● Inclusion— citizenship must be open to all within a nation. 2. In rights . addition, democracies must practice majority rule and preserve minority ● The relationship between the few leaders and the many followers is one of representation : the closer the correspondence between representatives and their electoral majority, the closer the approximation to democracy. ● Most Americans also feel that it is vital to protect minority rights, such as freedom of speech. D. Three contemporary theories of American democracy. 1. Pluralist theory contends that many centers of influence compete for power 2. and control. ● Groups compete with one another for control over public policy, with no ● one group or set of groups dominating. ● There are multiple access points to our government, with power dispersed ● among the various branches and levels of government. ● Bargaining and compromise are essential ingredients of our democracy.