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U.S. Political Culture, U.S. Political Institutions September 14, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. Political Culture, U.S. Political Institutions September 14, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. Political Culture, U.S. Political Institutions September 14, 2007

2 The Pledge

3 Who is this?

4 Tyranny and Democracy were thought to be undesirable extremes

5 King George III

6 George Washington

7 Colonial Life Under British control for 100+ years Property, free religion & other rights Had about 4 million non-natives We were “born Lockean”

8 Truth Government Aristocracies Religious Institutions The People

9 Truth Government Aristocracies Religious Institutions “We” The People

10 Rugged Individualism: “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside of your control.” Pew Global Attitudes Survey, 44 nations, 2002. Nigeria: 33% “completely agree” Nigeria: 32% “mostly or completely disagree.” Nigeria: ratio is 32/33 or 0.96

11 “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside of your control.” South Africa 24% disagree with the statement The ratio is 24/38, or 0.63 So the general sense in South Africa is – failure is someone else’s fault.

12 “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside of your control.” India, 14% disagree, ratio 0.39 Japan, 52% disagree, ratio 3.47 Egypt, 42% disagree, ratio 2.00 Jordan, 39% disagree, ratio 2.60 Turkey, 17% disagree, ratio 0.37 Uzbekistan, 36% disagree, ratio 1.80 China, 25% disagree, ratio 1.74

13 “Success in life is pretty much determined by forces outside of your control.” Great Britain, 48% disagree, ratio 3.43 France, 44% disagree, ratio 2.32 Germany, 31% disagree, ratio 1.35 Poland, 29% disagree, ratio 1.45 Ukraine, 35% disagree, ratio 1.30 Russia, 36% disagree, ratio 2.25 United States, 65% disagree, ratio 7.22

14 What’s the proper role of the state? “It is the responsibility of the (state or government) to take care of very poor people who can’t take care of themselves.” % Completely Agree…. Turkey, 73% Uzbekistan, 70% India 74%

15 “It is the responsibility of the (state or government) to take care of very poor people who can’t take care of themselves.” % completely agree Great Britain, 59% Germany, 45% Poland, 59% Ukraine, 57% Russia, 70% United States, 29%

16 It’s a Small Welfare State After All Low spending… Low taxes…

17 Colonial Life Was there an ethos of the “frontier” Governments most closely related to English Shires

18 The Articles of Confederation Shared beliefs: Government in the hands of people Strong legislature Articles of Confederation: State representation No executive Weak national gov (1781-1787)

19 Constitution

20 Constitutional Design Article I: Legislative Article II: Executive Article III: Judicial 6 other articles Only 8,000 words!

21 Checks & Balances (Separation of Powers)

22 ·1 Federal Government ·50 States & the District of Colombia ·Puerto Rico & 4 Insular Areas ·561 Federally-Recognized Indian Tribes ·3034 County Governments ·13,506 School Districts ·16,504 Townships and Towns ·19,429 Municipal Governments ·35,052 “Special Districts” Federalism in the US

23 Anyone care to guess how many people hold elected office in the United States?

24 Ohio Congressional Districts

25 Changing Locations of “Government” 1807 1907 2007


27 Why Two Parties?

28 U.S. Voter Turnout is Low

29 Minor Parties in U.S. History





34 Denmark -- Proportional Representation

35 Ok, time for a break When we come back…. Quickly…. –Congress –The Executive Branch –The Courts


37 Two Brains


39 The Basics House –435 Members –2 Year Terms –Committee Dominant –Majority Party Dominant –110th Congress –Lots of Staff Senate –100 Members –6 Year Terms –Committees Important –Majority Party Important –110th Congress –Even More Staff

40 Representation Representatives far more independent of party influence in the U.S. Delegate v. Trustee States usually more heterogeneous than districts Representation

41 How A bill Becomes a Law….

42 Introduction & Referral Committee Hearings Committee Markups Committee Reports Schedule Floor Action (Rules, UCRs) Floor Votes Conference Committee Conference Report & Floor Vote Presidential Signature (or Veto) How a Bill Becomes a Law



45 Committees Chairs based on committee seniority. Membership is party proportional. Staff dominated by majority party Committee Hierarchy –Exclusive –Non-Exclusive Appropriations vs. Authorizing

46 The 2.6 Trillion Dollar Budget


48 The Basics Presidents elected to 4 year terms. May serve no more than 2 terms. (22nd Amendment) Must be a U.S. born citizen, at least 35 years old, who has lived in the U.S. for a minimum of 14 years.

49 Formal Presidential Powers Administrative head of government Commander-in-Chief of military Veto (or sign) legislation Nominate judges, cabinet secretaries Treaties, pardons, convene Congress Formal Presidential Powers

50 May not introduce legislation (cf. prime minister) May not declare war Legislative oversight Judicial review Impeachment possible Must use “bully pulpit” and persuasion “Go public” Limits on Presidential Power

51 1. Chief of State (ceremonial) 2. Chief Legislator (State of the Union) 3. Chief Executive 4. Opinion Leader (set national priorities) 5. Chief Diplomat 6. Commander in Chief 7. Party Leader Presidential Roles

52 Congress (Article 1, Section 8, “elastic clause.” States (10th Amendment -- reserves powers to the states) President (Inherent Powers -- largely through Congressional delegation of powers.) Review of Various Powers

53 Presidency is Many People EOP: OMB, NSC, CEA, “czars,” VP, and WHO WHO: close advisors, no Senate approval

54 Civilian Employees in Cabinet Departments Agriculture 99,045 Commerce 40,166 Defense666,923 Education 4,343 Energy 14,850 Health and Human Services 63,627 Homeland Security165,435 Housing and Urban Development 9,606 Interior 69,383 Justice104,958 Labor 15,275 State 9,847 Transportation 53,420 Treasury 119,474 Veterans Affairs 235,735


56 The Basics Article 3 creates the Supreme Court, but specifics of design were left to Congress 9 Justices on the Supreme Court, and they may serve for life State & Federal Courts are Separate Civil and Criminal treated differently –300,000 federal cases filed annually, 80% are civil.

57 Current Justices Breyer, Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito Kennedy, Stevens, Roberts, Scalia, Souter

58 Qualifications Federal judges serve for life (“good behavior”) Chosen by president with “advice and consent” of the Senate No age limits or other requirements Size of Court? age? citizenship? education?

59 Powers Original jurisdiction: ambassadors, U.S. is a party, where states are the parties Appellate jurisdiction: all other cases (99%) (court of last resort, final interpreter) Judicial review? Lower courts to be created by Congress

60 Greatest Supreme Court power not in Constitution! Established by Marbury v. Madison (1803) Judicial Review has come to encompass: – Power to declare national, state and local Laws invalid if they violate the Constitution – Supremacy of federal laws or treaties – Role of Supreme Court as final authority on the meaning of the Constitution Judicial Review

61 Structure of Federal Judiciary Supreme Court 9 Justices Mostly appellate Hears about 100 out of 5,500 requests U.S. Courts of Appeals 13 districts with 170 judges 3-judge panels hear appeals 33,000 cases per year U.S. District Courts 94 district courts with 650 judges Trial courts with original jurisdiction 225, 000 cases per year State courts

62 State Courts Each state has its own court system States handle 100 million cases per year 98% of criminal cases handled by states Types of Cases  Criminal = charged by gov for breaking law  Civil = dispute between parties


64 How the “Constitution” Changes Amendments (27 of them) –Amendment is proposed by a vote of at least 2/3rds of both houses of Congress –Amendment is ratified by the legislatures of at least 3/4ths of the states (process for 26 of 27 amendments) Judicial reinterpretations –Stare Decisis

65 Judge-Made Law We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is, and the judiciary is the safeguard of our liberty and our property under the Constitution. –Chief Justice Hughes, 1907


67 U.S. Political Culture, U.S. Political Institutions September 14, 2007

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