PS 101 Foundations of American Political Culture Fall 2013

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PS 101 Foundations of American Political Culture Fall 2013

  1. 1. Foundations of American Political Culture Dr. Christopher S. Rice University of Kentucky
  2. 2. “DON’T NEED ELECTION” “It seems to me that Vice President Al Gore is out of control. He is prepared to spend more than $40 million on a campaign that the American people don’t want. The polls clearly show that the people want Texas Gov. George W. Bush for the next president. Why would Gore put the country through all of the political ads and commercials when the people have spoken through the polls? I think Congress should take the message the American people have sent to them and appoint Bush as president. Then they could get back to issues that are important, like Social Security and health care. I know some people might say that we must have elections because the law says so, but this could put the business of the American people on hold for some time. Is that what we want? I say it’s time to appoint Bush and put this behind us.” – Randy Martin, Lexington. Lexington Herald-Leader (2000)
  3. 3. The American Creed
  4. 4. Values of the American Creed
  5. 5. Individualism a commitment to personal initiative, self- sufficiency and material accumulation
  6. 6. Unity & Diversity
  7. 7. Unity the principle that Americans are one people and form an indivisible union
  8. 8. Diversity the idea that individual and group differences should be respected
  9. 9. Diversity these differences are themselves a sort of strength
  10. 10. Commitment to rule of law under a constitution The idea that fundamental law should serve as a restraint on human behavior
  11. 11. “For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king and there ought to be no other” Thomas Paine
  12. 12. Liberty the belief that individuals should be free to act and think as they choose, provided they do not infringe unreasonably on the freedom and well-being of others.
  13. 13. Equality the belief that all individuals are equal in their moral worth and are entitled to equal treatment under the law
  14. 14. Self-government the belief that the people are the ultimate source of governing authority and must have a voice in how they are governed
  15. 15. Representative Democracy
  16. 16. “Rule by the Few, Controlled by the Many”
  17. 17. Delegate Representation
  18. 18. Assumptions
  19. 19. Fairly Sophisticated
  20. 20. Rational
  21. 21. Informed (Delegate Representation)
  22. 22. Politically Active
  23. 23. Politically Tolerant
  24. 24. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  25. 25. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  26. 26. Popular Sovereignty The ultimate source of authority rests with the people and the government does the people’s bidding.
  27. 27. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  28. 28. 1 Person = 1 Vote
  29. 29. Assumes equal moral agency and reason
  30. 30. (cc) 2007 Flickr User Tavallai Social Equality? Social Equality?
  31. 31. Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems
  32. 32. It’s a Distribution Problem
  33. 33. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  34. 34. Majority Rules
  35. 35. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  36. 36. Political Liberty Basic freedoms in the formation and expression of the popular will & its translation into policy.
  37. 37. First Amendment Freedoms
  38. 38. 4 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy Popular Sovereignty Equality Political (Civil) Liberties Majority Rule
  39. 39. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  40. 40. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  41. 41. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  42. 42. The Jon Stewart Principle High Quality Information and Debate are Essential to a Functioning Democracy
  43. 43. The Marketplace of Ideas
  44. 44. The Founders faith in the viability of Representative Democracy relied upon: >A System of Checks and Balances >The Wisdom of a Well- Informed Citizenry >The Rule of Reason
  45. 45. “Reason - cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason - must furnish all materials for our future support and defence. Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws.” Abraham Lincoln (1838)
  46. 46. “Faith in the power of reason - the belief that citizens can govern themselves wisely and fairly by resorting to logical debate on the basis of the best evidence available, instead of raw power - was and remains the central premise of American democracy. This premise is now under assault.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  47. 47. Why has America’s public discourse become less reasoned?
  48. 48. “The mental muscles of democracy have begun to atrophy.” Al Gore, The Assault on Reason
  49. 49. Problems
  50. 50. Scale / Population
  51. 51. Complexity of Issues
  52. 52. Are High Quality Info & Debate Available?
  53. 53. Are people really rational and competent?
  54. 54. Majority Tyranny?

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