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American Government Lecture (First Class Overview)

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Introduction to the learning objectives and core requirements required in Kitchenman's survey American Government Course. Includes a broad overview of key terms in political science that students …

Introduction to the learning objectives and core requirements required in Kitchenman's survey American Government Course. Includes a broad overview of key terms in political science that students should master and philosophical underpinnings of democratic government.


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  • 1. American Government Introduction to theClass (Lecture First Day)Walter KitchenmanAdjunctkitchew@scf.eduNote: The slides in this Module are derived from, or directly attributable to, the Schmidt text required for this course. POS 1041
  • 2. The US National Government (Federal): Three Separate and Equal Branches Bi-Cameral Executive Branch Independent Legislature JudiciarySenate House 15 Cabinet Members Exec. Agencies, Independent (Executive Depts) Establishments, Govt. Corps. 2 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 3. What We Will Learn Ideas Structure Process Constitution The Presidency Campaigns Introduction The Congress Courts & Federalism & Bureaucracy & Voting 3 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 4. PurposeOverview of the origins and structure of government in the US so that studentsappreciate more fully the issues faced as citizens, voters and residents.What are the Big Objectives?•  Define the work of the framers at the Constitutional Convention of 1787•  Understand Key Terminology related to American Government•  Understand roles of Presidency, Congress, Courts and Bureaucracy•  Structure a report or presentation about government using Best Practices 4 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 5. RequirementsTen quizzes on-line after each chapter, in-class Mid-Term, in-class Final andone PPT review of a highly regarded book on US history and government.What are the Big Requirements?•  Reading a total of 10 Chapters in the text book (about 1 chapter per week)•  On-line quizzes after every Chapter (on Angel) (multiple choice and essay)•  In-class mid-term (multiple choice)•  In-class final (multiple choice)•  One Individual PPT (a presentation) on one of four books –  Alexander Hamilton, American (Brookhiser) –  Miracle at Philadelphia (Drinker-Bowen) –  Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words that Remade America (Wills) –  The Passage of Power (Caro)•  In-class participation 5 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 6. Where Are We This Class? Ideas Constitution Introduction & FederalismWhat Should I Do for This Module?•  Read Chapter One on The Democratic Republic!Assignments•  On-Line Quiz Module One 6 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 7. Some Key Terms This Module You might consider developing Study Cards for these terms.•  Authoritarianism •  Oligarchy•  Consent of the People •  Pluralism•  Democratic Republic •  Political socialization•  Direct Democracy •  Referendum•  Elite Theory •  Republic•  Founders •  Totalitarian•  Framers •  Universal Suffrage•  Government•  Initiative Super Key Words:•  Legitimacy Initiative and Referendum Democracy, Republic and Direct Democracy•  Majoritarianism Authoritarian and Totalitarian•  Majority Rule 7 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 8. If You Were Suddenly on an Island Like“Lost” What Would you Do?•  You don’t know each other – but there are some obvious issues: •  What about food? (what if there isn’t much?) •  Water? (what if there are limited resources?) •  Sanitation issues? Can people ‘do their business’ wherever they want? •  Who will decide? Biggest and badest? If not how?•  What happens if somebody steals your food?•  What happens if somebody falsely accuses somebody? •  How would you accuse somebody? Any process? •  Who would decide guilt?•  What happens if the Biggest, Badest Dudes don’t like the rules? 8 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 9. Plato’s Five Types of GovernmentWho Governs?•  Aristocracy – the best•  Timocracy – the strongest•  Oligarchy - the rich•  Democracy – the governed (the “People’)•  Tyranny - one ruler or one party 9 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 10. Why Is Government Necessary? Liberty is generally considered the greatest freedom of individuals consistent with the freedom of other individuals.•  Order – Rules of the game•  Liberty - Protection against individuals and governing authorities too•  Authority and Legitimacy – In democracies these ultimately reside in the People 10 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 11. Forms of GovernmentA Totalitarian Regime controls all aspects of political and social life, while in anAuthoritarian Regime a ruler (or party) controls the government but there aresome independent social and economic institutions.•  Totalitarianism•  Authoritarianism•  Democracy Key Thought: Democracy is derived from the Greek words demos (“the people”) and kratos (“authority”). 11 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 12. Direct DemocracyIn Athens most citizens debated and voted on proposed laws in the plaza(women, foreigners and slaves were excluded from citizenship however).•  Political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives•  Attained most easily in small political communities•  Direct Democracy was a failure in Greece and the US Founders knew it 12 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 13. Direct Democracy Today Our Founding Fathers distrusted Direct Democracy, so the Federal Government, our Republic, has almost no provisions for direct democracy - state constitutions, including California and Florida, may have such provisions.•  Initiative•  Referendum•  Recall 13 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 14. Is Direct Democracy Dangerous?Founders believed that the People were prone to influences of unscrupulouspolitical demagogues – and they also feared a “tyranny of the majority.”•  Founders believed in government based on the consent of the people but were highly distrustful of anything that might look like “mob rule” –  Remember Revolutionary period, Shays Rebellion•  Founders devised institutions to filter the popular will through elected elites –  What are some of these filters? Key Thought: What do we mean by Consent of the People? 14 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 15. A Democratic Republic (an IndirectDemocracy)The US Republic provides for indirect democracy but was unique in moderntimes because of the power vested in ordinary citizens.•  Democratic republic and representative democracy really mean the same thing - government based on elected representatives•  Difference: A Republic cannot have a king or queen since the People are sovereign in theory – but a representative democracy can have a constitutional monarchy (e.g., the UK, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands) (National Portrait Gallery) 15 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 16. In the US, Fundamental Values or PoliticalViews are Often Shaped by Our ExperienceOur attitudes toward government often are defined by whether we preferindividual liberty (including a right to fail) over policies promoting equality.•  Political Socialization - How families, education and peers shape views•  Liberty versus Order - Social Contract•  Equality versus Liberty - Economic Equality - Property Rights and Capitalism Key Question: Does democracy check or ‘mediate’ capitalism? 16 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 17. Ideologies: Liberalism versus Conservatism•  Conservatives - Economic Conservatives want limited government in the economic sector - Social conservatives want expanded government in terms of lifestyles, values•  Liberals - Historically favor free movement of people, capital and ideas - Often favor regulation of the economy for the greater good of society - Generally favor a limited government role in terms of social issues•  Independents - Often social liberals but economic conservatives Key Questions: How would you characterize Democrats and Republicans? How would you characterize the current Tea Party movement? POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 18. The Global Political Spectrum US Generally Falls HereSource: Schmidt 18 POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 19. Other IdeologiesUS historically opposed these ideologies as they were often global in nature,challenging self-determination of countries and the rights of individuals.•  Communism•  Fascism•  Radical Religious Fundamentalism –  Identified today with parts of Islam for the most part POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 20. The Changing Face of AmericaIf power is derived from the governed, than demography matters!•  Aging•  Population Growth•  Ethnic Change•  Changes in Hispanic Community•  Women in the Workforce Key Question: How can these changes affect the American political landscape? What current issues result from this? Are there any benefits? POS 1041 Kitchenman
  • 21. American Government Introduction to theClass (Lecture First Day)Walter KitchenmanAdjunctkitchew@scf.edu POS 1041

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