Political Culture of the United States
American National Character and Daniel Elazar's Regions
Political culture refers to what people believe and feel about government, and how they think people should act towards it. To understand the relationship of a government to its people, and how those people are going to act toward that government and others, it is necessary to study what those people believe about themselves and government. Daniel Elazar, from whom much of the information below has been taken, has defined it as: "the particular pattern of orientation to political action in which each political system is imbedded." A more simple definition is: "Attitudes, values, beliefs, and orientations that individuals in a society hold regarding their political system." Elazar found three political-culture types among Americans. These types are still viewed as relevant today. The following are his types and maps of where he found the types to exist.
| Moral Political CultureDominant
Mixed with Others
Moral Political Culture. In this culture type society is held to be more important than the individual. Individualism is not submerged in any way, but the group recognizes the need of individuals to assign value to the group. Government tends to be seen as a positive force. This emphasizes the commonwealth conception as the basis for democratic government. Politics is considered one of the great activities of man in the search for the "good society." Good government is measured by the degree to which it promotes the public good. Issues have an important place in the moralistic style of politics. Politicians are expected not to profit from political activity. Serving the community is the core of the political relationship even at the expense of individual loyalties and political friendships. In practice this often results in more amateur participation in politics than in the other political cultures. Upper New England, the Upper Middle West ...
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