Public Opinion and
Political Culture
Chapter 6
Political Culture in America
 What makes us free? Could we transport our American
institutions to another country?
 Poli...
Example: Right to Privacy
 Debate in America almost always centers on the rights of the
individual
 Protection of right ...
Political Culture v. Political
Institutions
 Institutions provide the rules of engagement
 Constitution, laws
 Culture ...
Faith and Politics
 Religious Faith
 America is a profoundly religious nation, especially in comparison
to its European ...
Deliberative Organization
 The constitutional primacy of the legislature in America rests on
the cultural primacy of the ...
Individualism
 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, “Of Individuals in
Democracies.”
 “Individualism is a calm and conside...
Individualism
 Implications
 Government – “that government governs best which governs not
at all” (Henry David Thoreau)
...
Associations
 What associations do we make on a daily basis?
 Tocqueville, Democracy in America, “On the Use Which the
A...
Associations
 Does Tocqueville’s theory still apply today?
 “We have created rootless, dangling people with little link ...
Public Opinion and Democracy
 Democracy: The Rule of the Ruled
 Framers believed that democracy required “due dependence...
Check my SlideShare page
(rfair07) for more lectures
Lectures posted for:
 United States History before 1877 / after 187...
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Govt 2305-Ch_6

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Govt 2305-Ch_6

  1. 1. Public Opinion and Political Culture Chapter 6
  2. 2. Political Culture in America  What makes us free? Could we transport our American institutions to another country?  Political Culture – a distinctive and patterned way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out; national character  Patterned ways of seeing and talking, typically not conscious or explicit (we don’t think about it)  “Culture” consists as much in symbols and language as in thought
  3. 3. Example: Right to Privacy  Debate in America almost always centers on the rights of the individual  Protection of right to privacy: an individual’s privacy should be protected no matter what the circumstances  Flexibility of right to privacy: an individual’s privacy can be curtailed in order to protect the immediate and extenuating interests of the country  Alternative theories  Moral argument – what’s moral, just, and holy?  Communitarian argument – what are the interests and rights of the community?  Utilitarian argument – what’s efficient?
  4. 4. Political Culture v. Political Institutions  Institutions provide the rules of engagement  Constitution, laws  Culture provides norms (expectations), symbols of engagement  Creates our assumptions as political actors  Gives us our language of expression  Two-way street between institutions and culture
  5. 5. Faith and Politics  Religious Faith  America is a profoundly religious nation, especially in comparison to its European counterparts  Politics are often fought out in the religious arena  Abortion arguments  Civil rights arguments  Prohibition arguments  Secular Faith (the faith of the 20th century?)  Symbol of the Dream (MLK)  Symbol of the Struggle and Liberation (MLK)  Symbol of the Frontier (JFK)
  6. 6. Deliberative Organization  The constitutional primacy of the legislature in America rests on the cultural primacy of the committee  Tocqueville – In response to a given problem, “the neighbors at once form a deliberative body; this improvised assembly produces an executive authority which remedies the trouble before anyone has thought of the possibility of some previously constituted authority beyond that of the concerned.”  Good or bad?  Why the committee and why the association?  Collective problem solving  Individual freedom and voice
  7. 7. Individualism  Tocqueville, Democracy in America, “Of Individuals in Democracies.”  “Individualism is a calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the masses of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself.”
  8. 8. Individualism  Implications  Government – “that government governs best which governs not at all” (Henry David Thoreau)  Beliefs – “Let your conscience be your guide.” (Thoreau)  Symbol – the cowboy  Tocqueville argues that individualism is a threat to democracy  How do we solve this?  Political liberty  Faith, deliberation, and association
  9. 9. Associations  What associations do we make on a daily basis?  Tocqueville, Democracy in America, “On the Use Which the Americans Make of Associations in Civil Life.”  “Americans of all ages, all conditions, and dispositions constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, -- religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to given entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries…; they found in this manner hospitals, prisons, and schools.”
  10. 10. Associations  Does Tocqueville’s theory still apply today?  “We have created rootless, dangling people with little link to the supportive networks – family, friends, school – that sustain some sense of purpose in life.”
  11. 11. Public Opinion and Democracy  Democracy: The Rule of the Ruled  Framers believed that democracy required “due dependence upon the people.”  Hamilton: safety in the executive requires “due dependence” of President upon popular will  Accountability to public interest matters  Cornerstone Political Science Question  Why do people behave, and think, as they do?
  12. 12. Check my SlideShare page (rfair07) for more lectures Lectures posted for:  United States History before 1877 / after 1877  Texas History  United States (Federal) Government / Texas Government  Slide 12 of 25  To download a full copy of the full PowerPoint presentation, please go to: https://gumroad.com/l/FphqI  12

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