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When the time frame of politics timing can often be

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When: the time frame of politics. Timing can often be critical in policy making. How: participation: voting, bargaining, supporting, compromising, lobbying, campaigning, etc. (important to develop public policies) D. Power Power is the capacity to get people to do something they would not otherwise do. (Robert A. Dahl, 1957). The textbook defines government power as “the legitimate use of force.” Therefore, government power is usually seen as authoritative and legitimate. Power is essential to the study of politics and policy making. Who holds power and influence determines what type of policies will be passed. Who holds this power is important because it determines our public policies. 2
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ISS 225 – Power, Authority, Exchange Politics/Government The power models sometimes have strong normative dimensions. These are theories about who has power and influence. Essentially they try to answer the question: "Who really governs in our nation?" E. Power Models 1. Democratic theory The most common definition of democracy is "government by the people" or as Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address: "government of the people, by the people, and for the people." This is a confusing and misleading definition since it does not shed much light on the role of people in a democracy or the American system specifically. A more useful definition might be a “means of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to citizens' preferences.” (George Edwards, et al, Government in America ) Power resides with the people. Democracy is an overused and abused term with generally positive connotations. Most Americans have a normative preference for democratic theory; we sometimes believe that this is empirically true (even though it may not be). We may identify seven cornerstones of an ideal democracy: 1. Equality in voting : (political equality) particularly important in terms of one person one vote. This characteristic has caused much controversy over time in the United States. 2. Effective participation. Need not be universal, but must be representative of all. Cannot be democratic if only one group of people vote. 3. Enlightened understanding . A market place of ideas, free press and speech, informed and rational citizens. Citizens must be able to enjoy personal liberty free from government interference to pursue their goals as long as these goals do not interfere with others rights. 4. Citizen control of the Agenda. Citizens make government address issues they are concerned with. The agenda cannot be controlled by just one group of wealthy or powerful individuals. So governments must draw their powers from the consent of all of the governed. This idea was derived from the social contract theory and was central to the Declaration of Independence.
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