IntroductionPolitics and government matter.Americans are apathetic aboutpolitics and government.American youth are not likely to beinformed about government andpolitics and rarely participate inpolitics.
GovernmentDefinition: Government is the institutions andprocesses through which public policies aremade for society.This definition leads to two basic questions: How should we govern? What should government do?Governments typically maintain a nationaldefense, provide services, collect taxes, andpreserve order.
PoliticsDefinition: Politics is the process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies they produce—politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues.Also consider lAsswell’s definition: Who gets what, when and how.
The Policymaking System The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time
Linkage InstitutionsDefinition: Linkage institutions are thepoliticAl chAnnels through which people’sconcerns become political issues on thepolicy agenda. Political Parties Elections News & Entertainment Media Interest Groups
Policy AgendaDefinition: The policy agenda are issues thatattract the serious attention of publicofficials.Political issues arise when people disagreeabout a problem and how to fix it.Some issues will be considered, & others willnot.A government’s policy AgendA chAngesregularly.
Policymaking InstitutionsDefinition: Policymaking institutionsare the branches of governmentcharged with taking action onpolitical issues. Legislature (Congress) Executive (President) Courts (Federal and State) Bureaucracies (Federal and State)
Policies Impact PeoplePublic Policy: a choice that government makesin response to a political issue.
DemocracyDefinition: Democracy is a system of selectingpolicymakers and of organizing government sothat policy represents and responds to thepublic’s preferences.Components of Traditional Democratic Theory: Equality in voting Effective participation Enlightened understanding Citizen control of the agenda Inclusion
Theories of U.S. DemocracyPluralist Theory A theory of government and policies emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policiesGroups will work togetherPublic interest will prevail throughbargaining and compromise
Theories of U.S. DemocracyElite and Class Theory A theory of government and politics contending that societies are divided along class lines and that an upper- class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organizationNot all groups are equalPolicies benefit those with money &power
Theories of U.S. DemocracyHyperpluralism A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened.Groups control policy and preventgovernment from actingDifficulty in coordinating policyimplementationConfusing and contradictory policiesresult from politicians trying toplacate every group
American Political Culture and DemocracyPolitical Culture: An overall set of valueswidely shared within a society.American culture is diverse and comprised of: Liberty Egalitarianism—favors equality Individualism Laissez-faire—”leAve it Alone” Populism—appealing to the average guy