• Balance, control, and order were also big values to the Framers. This is achieved by granting power, but also limiting each actor that is given power.
Separation of Powers • Ending with the people, the Constitution divides power horizontally and vertically. In the federal government, the power is divided in three branches. • One is maker, another is executer, and the last interprets the laws.
Separation of Powers • To minimize the chance of power overreach, the system also includes checks and balances to make each branch accountable to the others. • The vertical division is the federalist arrangement, creating a national but also state governments, which also allow for local governments to exist. • As we see, the constitutional system creates gateways for access, but also gates that limit said access. • The power govern themselves, but through this intricate system that diffuses power among many competing interests.
American Political Culture • After theorizing about a country, we still have to wait and see how it works in practice. • Madison was right about factions. Soon enough, people divided according to their interests and formed political parties , groups organized to win elections. • The process in which competing interests decide who gets what, when and how is called politics . • Madison was also right about the sources of division, centered often on the unequal distribution of property, and how far should the government go to reduce inequality.
American Political Culture • Public opinion about these matters is put into a left-right scale, and when people place themselves consistently in a place, they have a political ideology . • In turn, party identification is a psychological attachment to a political party. It is related to the former, but it is more personal than philosophical. • A person’s ideology is a clue about their partisan preference. On the left of the ideological scale are liberals , and conservatives are on the right.
Political Ideology • Liberals strive for increasing equality and taxing the rich to implement social benefits. They support a large and active government. • Conservatives seek economic freedom to advance policies that promote economic growth, which will benefit everyone in the long run.
Social Issues • The role of the government reverses here, as liberals favor less government and conservatives seek to uphold traditional moral values. • These labels are practical, but do not tell the whole story. Why? • The existence of economic and social scales generates many potential different positions where people can place themselves. • Americans are also not consistent in their placement. claiming to be right on some issues and left on others.