Politics and government matter-that is the single most important message of this book. Despite the fact that government substantially affects each of our lives, youth today are especially apathetic about politics and government. Whether because they feel they can't make a difference, the political system is corrupt, or they just don't care, young Americans are clearly apathetic about public affairs. And while political apathy isn't restricted to young people, a tremendous gap has opened up between the young (defined as under age 25) and the elderly (defined as over 65) on measures of political interest, knowledge, and participation. The goal of Government in America is to assist students in becoming well-informed citizens by providing information and developing critical analytical skills.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS:
Government consists of those institutions that make authoritative public policies for society as a whole. Regardless of how their leaders assume office, all governments have certain functions in common: they maintain national defense, provide public goods, use police powers to maintain order, furnish public services, socialize the young into the political culture, and collect taxes to pay for the services they provide. Part of what government does is provide public goods, services that can be shared by everyone and cannot be denied to anyone.
Politics determines whom we select as our governmental leaders and what policies they pursue. The media usually focus on the who of politics. What refers to the substance of politics and government-benefits, such as medical care for the elderly, and burdens, such as new taxes. How people participate in politics is important, too. People engage in politics for a variety of reasons, and... [continues]
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