Chapter 1 – Democracy and American Politics
I) Democracy – demos (the people) & kratein (to rule) a. Oligarchy – rule by a few and a minority group holds power over a majority as in an aristocracy or a clerical establishment b. Monarchy – rule by one where power rests in the hands of a king or queen c. Athens was known for the purest form of democracy that has ever existed. d. Direct democracy – form of political decision making in which public business is decided by all citizens meeting in small assemblies. (school, city, workplaces, etc.) e. Representative democracy – indirect democracy in which the people rule through elected representatives. f. Benchmarks of a liberal representative democracy include: popular sovereignty, political equality, and political liberty. When all 3 flourish the society is named a healthy democracy. i. Popular sovereignty – basic principle of democracy that the people are the ultimate source of government authority and of the policies that government leaders make. 1. government policies reflect wishes of the people 2. government leaders are selected in competitive elections 3. elections are free and fair
4. people participate in the political process 5. high quality info is available
6. the majority rules
ii. Political equality – the principle that says that each person carries equal weight in the conduct of the public business and also involves 14th amendment which means equal protection which mean all are treated equally. Together they are known as civil rights which are guarantees by government of equal citizenship to all social groups iii. Political Liberty – refers to basic freedoms essential to formation and expression of majority opinion and its translation into public policies. (speech, religion, press, assembly in first amendment to us constitution) Ties in with social contract which means that government is the result of an agreement among people to form one and that people have the right to create an entirely new gov’t if the terms of the contract have been violated by the existing one. Used by enlightenment thinkers such as Locke, Rousseau, and Harrington, g. Criticism of Liberal Democracy ^ – representative democracy characterized by popular sovereignty, liberty, and political equality. i. Majority Tyranny – suppression of the rights and liberties of a minority by the majority ii. The people are irrational and incompetent and are not well informed.
II) A Framework for Understanding How American Politics Work a. Structure – includes the economy and society, the constitutional rules, the political culture, and the international system. They form the foundation where all else is built and are slowest to change. b. Political Linkage – political actors, institutions, processes that transmits wants and demands of people/groups in our society to government official and that together help shape what government official do and what policies they adopt. Include public opinions, political parties, interests groups, news media, and elections. c. Government – all public officials and institutions that have formal, legal responsibilities for making public policy for the United States. Include congress, the president & executive branch, the feder bureaucracy, and the federal courts & supreme court. d. Government action – what government does: making laws, issuing rules and regulations, waging war, providing national defense, settling civil disputes, providing order, and more. Chapter 2 – The Constitution
I) The American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence a. American Revolution – waged to preserve an existing way of life with life liberty and property which seemed to be threatened by...
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