Chapter 1 American Political Culture

Topics: Government, Democracy, Oligarchy Pages: 7 (2493 words) Published: February 5, 2012
Chapter 1 American Political Culture (Ginsberg)

1) In relationship to week's 1 readings about how the government affects our life on a daily basis, discuss why does the general public accept governmental regulations and restrictions on our lives?

For the first part of our short history, Americans did not accept the government's right to regulate what individuals or business did. As a matter of fact, Americans greatly resisted any interference by government, especially the federal branch. The government's input begin to change drastically with the period of 'Progressive' in the late 19th Century and into the 20th Century. But still during this period most Americans only accepted governmental regulations in the areas of business and safety in the workplace.  Then what caused the American people to accept the government's interference in our daily lives? Usually, during times of disaster and war the American citizen is more likely to allow the government to take our granted liberties in the name of "public safety".  Unfortunately, government is not so quick to give back the our liberties. Just think back to 9/11 and the changes this attack brought. We cannot even get on an airplane today without having our shoes being checked. So as Americans, we become accustom to the changes and move on with our lives, while government continues to grow beyond anything our Forefathers imagine.

2) Political efficacy is defined by the Ginsberg,,  as the ability to influence government and politics. The authors summarized their points about the declining political efficacy in America. In your own words, list and describe the authors' points with this decline.

a) One area that affects our country is the growing apathy about the political structure and  the continuing declining participation in the political process. Many people, young and old, feel like their views and ideals are no longer represented by the governmental structure, but worse than this, many feel their views do not matter.

b) If political apathy continues, more and more fringe elements in our society will continue to gain power in the political process allowing extreme views to control the governmental process. After all, the man who many consider the worse leader and murder in the 20th Century was elected to office (Adolf Hitler).

c) As many individuals begin to distance themselves from the political process, the ensuing generations will also began to lose interest. After a period of years, we will find ourselves with a population that does not know why this country was founded or the values that this country represents.

3) Summarize from your readings, what Americans should know about government. Make sure you discuss Citizenship: Knowledge and Participation and The Necessity of Political Knowledge; especially how this knowledge relates to the economic structure. (You are on your own now) Americans have lots to learn about the government but they cannot learn if they do not come with an open mind. To begin I believe that Americans need to know that they must speak to be heard. The way Americans are becoming where they think there opinion doesn’t matter; therefore they are just sitting back to see the final outcome does not help the country or your opinion being expressed. Citizenship is something that is very important and required as this gives you the place in America, you become one to vote and are able to better exercise your rights to your opinion. The necessity of Political Knowledge relates to the economic structure due to the fact that most people do not know the structure of the local, state and federal government. They do not know who to inform of certain cases or whether they are going to the right resource. With citizens knowing and participating in politics it would not only help them but help the correct department in providing a timely response or plan of action.

4) Define the basic term of "government" and discuss whether a...
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