Ch 1: Introducing Government in America
* Many young ppl apathetic about politics, less involved than elderly * Need to be involved for political tolerance, identify what policies they benefit from * Politics compete with TV and the internet
* Government: institutions + processes through which public policies are made for a society (Congress, president, the courts, federal administrative agencies) * 500,000 elected officials in US
* How should we govern?
* What should the gov. do?
* Maintain a national defense
* Provide public services
* Schools, hospitals,
* Public goods: goods everyone must share (clean air and water, highways) * Preserve order
* Socialize the young
* Instill national value among the young (Pledge of Allegiance) * Collect taxes
* Determine how much we should spend on edu. or defense through politics Politics
* Politics: process by which we select our gov. leaders and what policies these leaders pursue, produces authoritative decisions about public issues (who gets what, when, how) * Who: voters, parties
* What: benefits and burdens (medical care, taxes)
* How: voting, lobbying
* Political participation: all activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue. (voting, protests) * Low voter turnout has an effect on who holds power
* Single-issue groups: groups that have a narrow interest, dislike compromise, draw membership from ppl new to politics (ex: focus only on abortion) Policymaking System
* Policymaking System: process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time. ppl’s interests, problems, and concerns create political issues for gov. policymakers. These issues shape policy, which impacts ppl, generating more interests, problems, and concerns. People Shape Policy
* People start with a problem
* Linkage institution: political channels through which ppl’s concerns become political issues on the policy agenda (parties, elections, media, interest groups) * Policy agenda: issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other ppl actually involved in politics at any given point in time * Political issue: an issue that arises when ppl disagree about a problem and how to fix it * Never a shortage, but the gov. will not act unless it is high on policy agenda * Policy making institutions: branches of gov. charged with taking action on political issues. The US Constitution est. Congress, president, courts. Political scientists consider bureaucracy a fourth. * Policymakers scan the issues on the policy agenda, select those they consider important, and make policies to address them * Few policies are made by a single policy making institution * President urges clean air policies, Congress passes the legislation, bureaucracies implement it, can be challenged in the courts Policies Impact People
* Public policy: choice that gov. makes in response to a political issue. A course of action taken with regard to some problem. * Policy Impacts: effects a policy has on ppl and problems. Impacts are analyzed to see how well a policy has met its goal and at what cost.
* Global move towards democracy
* Democracy: a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing the government so that policy represents and responds to the public preferences * Writers of con. believed ppl should not participate in gov., now we do * Gov of the ppl, by the ppl, for the ppl?
Traditional Democratic Theory
* Equality in voting:”one person, one vote” must be representative * Effective participation: citizens must have equal opportunities to express preferences * Enlightened understanding: free press and speech
* Citizen control of the agenda
* Gov. must include and extend rights to all those...
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