A Description of Political Culture

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Bryan Lalik
Professor Jones
Texas Government
9/25/2012
Political Culture Defined
Political Culture is an environment that is created by its inhabitants’ religious beliefs, economic capacity, and ethnic background that clash with its bureaucratic history to shape the comprehensive perspective of the consummate civilization. In the mid 1900’s Daniel Elazar theorized that many sectors of our nation held differing political cultures that distinguished themselves from one another. This lead to him grouping these states into regions and identifying their political culture based on its history. He believed that there were three major political cultures: traditionalistic, individualistic, and moralistic. Through these labels, states are grouped into areas that share features of their history, both good and bad, that have shaped the inhabitants’ views.

Elazar found that many southern states shared a traditionalistic culture. He noted that many of these confederate states held the same stance of political beliefs on a bevy of issues, including Texas. One characteristic that many traditionalistic states shared was their preservation of “class based social structure”, Elazar called it. It was that participation in politics was reserved for what was considered “the elite”. Only those families who have either power, wealth, or both were truly the ones who were concerned about political issues. He even went as far as to say that lower classes didn’t understand the issues, which resulted in the very low voter rate turnout. When inhabitants of the traditionalistic cultures did vote, they voted based on a candidate’s personality instead of their views on issues or credentials. This preserved social classes, and inhibits people from ever moving classes. In other words, “everybody knows their place”. Many of people in this region have a very general distrust of any and all politicians. The average person not only expects politicians to be corrupt, but believes that certain...
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