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  • 1. 1 Unit 2
 American Political Beliefs and Behaviors

  • 2. 2 Political Culture Political culture is a patterned and sustained way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out. Copyright © 2013 Cengage Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, a profound analysis of our political culture. The Granger Collection
  • 3. 3 American Democratic Values ■ majority rule/minority rights: although democracy based on majority rule, minority rights must be guaranteed ■ equality: equality of every individual before the law and in the political process ■ private property: ownership of property is protected by law and supported by the capitalist system
  • 4. 4 American Democratic Values ■ individual freedoms: guarantees of civil liberties and protections against infringements upon them ■ compromise: allows for the combining of different interests and opinions to form public policy to best benefit society ■ limited government: powers are restricted in a democracy by the will of the people and the law
  • 5. 5 Political Socialization ■ The process by which citizens acquire a sense of political identity. It is a complex process that begins in early childhood and continues throughout a person’s life. Political Socialization allows a person to become aware of politics, learn political facts, and form political values and opinions.
  • 6. 6 Agents of Political Socialization ■ Family/Home: strongest when both parents identify with same party ■ Schools: patriotism, government function and structure, encourage participation ■ Group Affiliation: provide common bonds ■ Mass Media: inform the public and set the agenda
  • 7. 7 Agents of Political Socialization ■ Demographic Factors: ■ occupation ■ race ■ gender ■ age ■ religion ■ region ■ income ■ education ■ ethnicity
  • 8. 8 The Political System ■ Three Questions Concerning The American Political System: 1. How do we know that the American people share these beliefs? 2. How can we explain the existence in our society of behavior that is obviously in conflict with these beliefs? 3. Why has there been so much political conflict in our history? Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 9. 9 The Persistence of Conflict In the 1950s Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was the inspiration for the world “McCarthyism” after his highly publicized attacks on alleged communists working in the federal government. Copyright © 2013 Cengage Topham/The Image Works
  • 10. 10 The Economic System ■ Americans tend to support: 1.The “free enterprise system” 2.Government regulations that keep some firms from becoming too powerful and to correct specific abuses 3.“Equality of opportunity”, but not “equality of results” Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 11. 11 Comparing America with Other Nations Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 12. 12Copyright © 2013 Cengage Comparing America with Other Nations ! ■ The Political System ■ The Economic System ■ The Civic Role of Religion A chaplain offers a prayer at a meeting of the U.S. Congress. Though having such a chaplain may strike you as violating the separation of church and state, the Supreme Court has upheld it on grounds of “tradition.” Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Alamy
  • 13. 13 The Economic System United States ■ Less likely to believe in giving workers equal pay ■ Less likely to favor putting a top limit on income ■ Ratio between the income of an executive vs. menial worker: 15 to 1 Sweden ■ More likely to believe in giving workers equal pay ■ More likely to favor putting a top limit on income ■ Ratio between the income of an executive vs. menial worker: 2 to 1 Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 14. 14 The Civic Role of Religion ■ Average American compared to the average European is more likely to: 1.Believe in God 2.Pray on a daily basis 3.Acknowledge clear standards of right and wrong ■ Religious people in the US: 1.Donate more money to charities than secular folks 2.More likely to give money and donate time to non- religious organizations than secular folks Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 15. 15Copyright © 2013 Cengage The Sources of Political Culture ■ Personal Liberty vs. Social Control ■ Class Consciousness ■ The Culture War • Orthodox – a belief that morality and religion ought to be of decisive importance. • Progressive – a belief that personal freedom and solving social problems are more important than religion.
  • 16. 16 Figure 4.2 Trust in the Federal Government, 1958–2004 Copyright © 2013 Cengage p. 90 Source: University of Michigan, The American National Election Studies.
  • 17. 17Copyright © 2013 Cengage Source: Gallup Poll
  • 18. 18 Mistrust of Government ! Civil society is that collection of private, voluntary groups that – independent of the government and the commercial market – make human cooperation easier and provide ways of holding the government accountable for its actions. Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 19. 19 Political Tolerance ! In order for democracy to work, citizens must have a political culture that allows the discussion of ideas and the selection of rulers in an atmosphere reasonably free of oppression. Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 20. 20 Public Opinion ■ A collection of shared attitudes of many different people in matters relating to politics, public issues, and making of public policy. It is shaped by people’s political culture and socialization.
  • 21. 21 Why Does Government Policy Often Appear At Odds With Public Opinion? Copyright © 2013 Cengage •The Framers of the Constitution did not try to create a government that would do from day to day “what the people want.” ! •They created a government for the purpose of achieving certain substantive goals.
  • 22. 22 Public Opinion and Democracy Copyright © 2013 Cengage The Framers of the Constitution created a government to achieve certain goals: ! “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty.” – Preamble to the Constitution
  • 23. 23 Do We Really Know What The Public Thinks? Copyright © 2013 Cengage •It is not easy to know what the public thinks. ! •A few simple, clear-cut and widely discussed issues may allow for some degree of certainty. ! •But, with many lesser-known issues that certainty may be missing.
  • 24. 24 What is Public Opinion? ■ How Polling Works • Poll • Random sample • Sampling error • Exit polls ! Copyright © 2013 Cengage Students at Marist College in New York call people in the state with poll questions. AP Photo/Jim McKnight
  • 25. 25 Young Adults on Politics and Politicians Copyright © 2013 Cengage Source: Institute of Politics, The 17th Biannual Youth Survey on Politics and Public Service, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Spring 2010.
  • 26. 26Copyright © 2013 Cengage ■ Opinions by Four Christian Groups on Four Issues Source: Adapted from Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, American Views on Religion, Politics, & Public Policy, 2010, pp. 37, 41, and 46, and “Faith-Based Programs Still Popular, Less Visible,” November 16, 2009, p. 2.
  • 27. 27 ■ Worship Service Attendance and the Probability of Voting Democratic (2000–2008) Copyright © 2013 Cengage Source: Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, American Views on Religion, Politics & Public Policy, 2010, p. 85.
  • 28. 28Copyright © 2013 Cengage Source: Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, Gen Dems: The Party’s Advantage Among Young Voters Widens, April 28, 2008.
  • 29. 29 Cleavages in Public Opinion ! ■ Social Class ■ Race and Ethnicity ■ Region Copyright © 2013 Cengage Marco Rubio, the Hispanic son of exiles from Cuba, is a conservative Republican elected from Florida to the United States Senate in 2010. Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images
  • 30. 30 Political Ideology ■ Political Ideology - A more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government ought to pursue. ! ■ Mass Ideologies: A Typology ! ■ Liberal and Conservative Elites Copyright © 2013 Cengage
  • 31. 31 Ideology: A Political Spectrum ■ radical: favors rapid, fundamental change - willing to resort to extreme ■ liberal: promotes active government in promoting individual welfare and supporting civil rights, accepts peaceful political and social change ■ moderate: falls between liberal and conservative, may include some of both, tolerant
  • 32. 32 Ideology: A Political Spectrum ■ conservative: promotes a limited governmental role in helping individuals economically, supports traditional values and lifestyles, favors active government role in defense, approaches change cautiously ■ reactionary: advocates a return to a previous state of affairs, willing to go to extremes
  • 33. 33Copyright © 2013 Cengage Source: Adapted from “Profiles of the Typology Groups: Beyond Red and Blue,” Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 2005.