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American Political Culture Government and Politics From the State of Nature to Democracy What do Americans Think About Government?

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Presentation on theme: "American Political Culture Government and Politics From the State of Nature to Democracy What do Americans Think About Government?"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Political Culture Government and Politics From the State of Nature to Democracy What do Americans Think About Government?

2 Politics Harold Lasswell defined politics as the struggle over “who gets what, when and how” Picasso’s Guernica

3 Politics Another way to think about politics is the conflicts and struggle over the leadership, structure, and policies of government Protestors with Guernica Replica

4 Pluralism vs. Elitism Pluralism is the pattern of struggles among numerous interests (factions) over the political process and policy Elitism is the influence of a single group of elites over the political process and policy

5 Political Science Political Science is the study of politics and is generally concerned with three questions –Who Governs? –For What Means? –By What Means?

6 Government The institutions and procedures through which a territory and people are ruled –U.S. House of Representatives –United Nations General Assembly

7 The Functions of Government Establish and Enforce Rules and Laws Protect Property Rights Redistribute Wealth Create and Maintain Infrastructure –Roads and Highways –Compare food delivery in the Congo to that of the United StatesCompare food delivery in the Congo to that of the United States

8 Government Max Weber, the German sociologist, defined government as that institution in society that has a monopoly over the legitimate use of force Government must be recognized as legitimate to exercise authority

9 Legitimacy Legitimacy is the widespread acceptance of something as necessary, rightful and legally binding Weber’s Sources of Legitimacy –Charismatic –Traditional –Rational/Legal

10 Charismatic Legitimacy Based on personal power of leader, which may be supernatural –King Arthur and Excalibur –Asante Golden Stool

11 Traditional Legitimacy Based on history, tradition or custom such as hereditary monarchy Emperor HirohitoPrince Edward

12 Rational or Legal Legitimacy Derived from established procedures, principles or laws (i.e., elections) President Bush Welcomes Nobel Prize Winner Al Gore to the White House

13 Forms of Government Governments can be classified in a number of ways –Who Governs –How they Govern –Political Ideology

14 Who Governs Autocracy Oligarchy/Aristocracy Gerontocracy Kleptocracy Krytocracy Meritocracy Ochlocracy/Mobocracy Plutocracy Theocracy Democracy

15 Anarchy Anarchy is the absence of government or the absence of the state President William McKinley was assassinated by an anarchist in 1901

16 Autocracy A government of one –King or Queen –Dictator –Emperor –Pharaoh William the Conqueror defeated Harold for the crown of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066

17 Oligarchy or Aristocracy Government by a small elite group such as landowners or military officers –The French Revolution overthrew an aristocratic social structure –Similar land reform revolutions took place throughout Latin America Zapatistas (Mexico) Mission Zamora (Venezuela)

18 Gerontocracy A gerontocracy is a government by elders The Eight Immortals of Communist China –Deng Xiaoping and the other elders of the Communist Party ruled during the 1980s and 1990s

19 Kleptocracy A kleptocracy is a government that steals the nations assets for personal enrichment –Zaire under MobutuMobutu –Indonesia under Suharto –Philippines under Marcos

20 Krytocracy Government ruled by judges United States Supreme Court

21 Meritocracy Government based on merit or ability such as Plato’s Philosopher Kings –MENSA of Springfield governed based on intelligence

22 Ochlocracy/Mobocracy Government by the mob or angry crowd The mobs fueled the French Revolution Can the crowd be controlled? –Sigmund Freud –Le Bon The Crowd –Serge Moscovici

23 Plutocracy Government by the wealthy Money has always played an important role in U.S. politics

24 Theocracy A theocracy is a government by religious leaders –Tibet in ExileTibet in Exile –Iran –Afghanistan

25 Democracy A government in which political power is vested in the people –Direct democracy provides for decision making by the people –Representative democracy provides for representatives chosen by the people

26 Representative Democracy Today, most nation- states operate under the concept of representative democracy Individuals are elected by the citizens to represent them in the affairs of civil society British House of Commons

27 Types of Elections in a Representative Democracy National Primaries and Runoffs General Election State and Local Primaries and Runoffs General Election Recall Polish Solidarity Election Poster

28 2003 California Recall Election Governor Gray Davis of California was recalled as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger defeated 135 candidates –Gary Coleman finished 8th –Porn star Mary Carey finished 10th

29 Types of Elections in a Direct Democracy Initiatives Referendums Constitutional Amendments –Texas –Colorado New England Town Hall Meetings

30 How Do Governments Govern? Constitutional versus Totalitarian

31 Totalitarian Government Totalitarian governments are free from legal limits and seek to eliminate those organized social groups that might challenge or limit the governments authority –Soviet Union –Nazi Germany

32 Authoritarianism Authoritarianism is the psychological “profile” that supports totalitarian political systems –Adorno, et al developed the F-Scale after WWII –Milgram Experiment –Stanford Prison Guard Experiment

33 1984 George Orwell’s novel depicts the totalitarian state –Big Brother –Thought Police –Thought Crime

34 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn The power of the police state is vividly described in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

35 Constitutional Government Constitutional governments are limited as to what they are permitted to control (substantive) as well as how they go about it (procedural)

36 The Politics of Ideology Governments are also classified based on the role government is expected to play in society –Left versus Right –Two Dimensional –Three Dimensional

37 The Politics of Ideology The Left –Communism ( Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Che) –Soviet Union –China –Cuba –Social Democracy –Sweden –Norway –Germany

38 The Politics of Ideology The Center –Classical Liberalism David Hume Simon Bolivar –Conservatism Edmund Burke

39 The Politics of Ideology The Right –Fascism Nazi Germany Mussolini’s Italy Peron’s Argentina Franco’s Spain???

40 Evolution of Government Hobbes and Locke both contend that man began in the state of nature and were absolutely free Hobbes notes that during this period man was in a “condition called war; and such war as is of every man against every man”

41 Lord of Flies William Golding’s Lord of the Flies depicts school boys being thrust into the state of nature and their attempts to form civil society “Poor Piggy”

42 Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha The first Kings were the fathers of their families as Adam was lord over his family –This lordship which Adam by creation had over the whole world, and by right descending from him the patriarchs did enjoy, was as large and ample as the absolutist dominion of any monarch which hath been since the creation.

43 The Evolution of Government Families and Clans Tribes and Villages Cities/City-States Empires Nation-States

44 Europe, 500 CE

45 The Peoples of Britain

46 The Unification of England Alfred the Great began the unification of England Alfred’s son Edward the Elder becomes first King of England in 899

47 The Norman Invasion William the Conqueror defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings in 1066

48 The Normans and Feudalism Feudalism was essentially a pyramid scheme in which military support was exchange for land and titles

49 Feudalism

50 Feudal Japan Japan also developed a feudal society out of which the legend of the Samurai was born

51 Feudalism in the New World Spain introduced a form of feudalism, the Encomieda System, in Latin America Father Hidalgo led a peasant uprising in Mexico against the landed aristocracy

52 The Magna Carta The Magna Carta (1215) establishes the “constitutional monarchy” This gave rise to the House of Lords and the House of Commons King John and the Magna Carta

53 Absolutism Thomas Hobbes –Leviathan Jean Bodin –Six Books on the Commonweal

54 Classical Liberalism The death of Charles I was the end of absolutism in England John Locke and Adam Smith became advocates for limited government –Two Treatises on Government –The Wealth of Nations

55 Thucydides The Peloponnesian War –Funeral oration of Pericles praises Athens as a model democracy –Pericles also praises those who have died defending democracy The whole earth is the burial place of famous men; they are honored not only by columns and inscriptions in their own land, but in foreign nations on memorials graven not on stone but in the hearts and minds of men

56 Aristotle Politics –Typology of Governments Policy-Democracy Aristocracy-Oligarchy Monarchy-Tyranny –Citizenship defined "The citizen in an unqualified sense is defined by no other thing so much as by sharing in decision and office"

57 Machiavelli (not Tupac) The Prince –The ends justifies the means –A prince must not mind incurring the charge of cruelty to protect the whole of society –A prince ought to be both feared and loved, but it is safer to be feared than loved if one of the two has to be wanting Tupac aka Makaveli –Machiavelli advocated faking one's death to fool one’s enemies –Tupac was a fan of Machiavelli and had read his books

58 The Protestant Reformation Martin Luther John Calvin John Knox

59 Thomas Hobbes Leviathan –Supports absolutism

60 David Hume The Scottish Enlightenment

61 John Locke Two Treatises of Government –Man is born with inalienable rights of life, liberty and property –Man creates government for the limited purpose of protecting these rights –Governments may be replaced for failing to protect these inalienable rights Provides the philosophical defense for overthrowing Charles I and the American Revolution

62 Jean-Jacques Rousseau The Social Contract

63 Montesquieu On the Spirit of the Laws –All governments legislate, execute and adjudicate –Tyranny prevented by separating powers –Most cited by American Founding Fathers

64 Sir William Blackstone Commentaries on the Laws of England –Blackstone’s lectures on constitutional law provided the legal foundation for the American Revolution

65 Adam Smith The Wealth of Nations –Promotes limited role for government in economic matters –Consistent with John Locke’s limited role for government –Smith and Locke establish the tradition of classical liberalism

66 Thomas Jefferson Declaration of Independence Notes on the State of Virginia

67 Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay The Federalist Papers –85 Essays written under the pseudonym Publius –Provides a complete defense of the Constitution in urging ratification –Provides the original intent of the Constitution’s framers

68 John C. Calhoun Representative and Senator from South Carolina Vice-President Disquisition on Government and Discourse on the Constitution –States Rights –Nullification –Secession

69 John Stuart Mill On Liberty –Advocates moral and economic freedom of the individual from the state –"Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign“ –People can do anything they like as long as it does not harm others

70 Karl Marx Das Kapital The Communist Manifesto

71 Henry David Thoreau Civil Disobedience Thoreau protested slavery and the Mexican-American War by not paying accrued poll taxes

72 Mohandis Gandhi Gandhi on Civil Disobedience –Violent means will give violent freedom –That would be a menace to the world and to India herself –Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind –It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man

73 Hannah Arendt The Origins of Totalitarianism Eichmann in Jerusalem –Arendt described Eichmann as a bureaucrat who did his duty and followed orders, rather than a raving ideologue animated by demonic anti- Semitism, was strikingly original –Eichmann did not exemplify "radical evil," but "the banality of evil” –This danger can not be confined to the political peculiarities of the Third Reich as evil exists in ordinary men who refuse to act

74 Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from Birmingham Jail –One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws –Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws –I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all” –An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law

75 Ayn Rand The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged denounce the collective Rand’s political philosophy –Rand political thought is in the classical liberal tradition, with an emphasis upon individualism, the constitutional protection of individual rights to life, liberty, and property, and limited government –Rand believed true laissez faire capitalism is the only just and prosperous economic system –Rand rejects all forms of mixed economies that plague the world and believes in no economic government interventions, such as the redistribution of wealth

76 John Rawls A Theory of Justice –The most influential work of political philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century

77 The Initial Debate: The Proper Role of Government The Founding Fathers were divided over the proper size and role of government –The Federalists wanted a strong central government to promote commerce, prevent political strife, and protect international interests –The Anti-Federalists feared that a strong central government would endanger liberty, thereby favoring weaker and decentralized government

78 The Current Debate The conflict continues today between conservatives (Republicans) and liberals (Democrats) –Conservatives (Republicans) seek a strong government to protect economic interests, public morality and international interests, and generally prefer state government action –Liberals (Democrats) seek a strong national government to protect civil liberties, the environment, and to provide economic security

79 Demanding a Stronger Government Yet, there are times when we develop a siege mentality and demand even more regulation of human behavior resulting in less freedom Government is expected to maintain order –Prevent Crime –Terrorism

80 Trust in Government In 1964, approximately 75% of Americans trusted the government all of the time or most of the time By 1994, less than 25% Americans expressed trust in government

81 Why the Decline in Trust? Government too large Dissatisfaction with Government Lack of political efficacy Government Scandals –Wounded Knee –Tuskegee Experiments –Elian Gonzalez –Branch Davidians –Ruby Ridge

82 The Absence of Trust: Implications May lead to a refusal to comply with the law May jeopardize national security May lead to revolution and the collapse of democracy Watts Riot 1965

83 Citizenship & Government The Importance of Knowledge Citizens must have the knowledge needed to participate in the political process –Knowledge of government –Knowledge of politics –Knowledge of democratic principles Americans, however, are poorly informed and uninterested How Many Can You Name?

84 Knowledge of U.S. Political Leaders Can You Name These Individuals?

85 Knowledge of U.S. Political Leaders How Many Can You Name?


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