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U.S. GOVERNMENT AIM: Why is it important to study U.S. government and politics? “ Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be.

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Presentation on theme: "U.S. GOVERNMENT AIM: Why is it important to study U.S. government and politics? “ Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be."— Presentation transcript:

1 U.S. GOVERNMENT AIM: Why is it important to study U.S. government and politics? “ Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. ” -James Madison Considering this statement from James Madison, what would Madison say about the responsibilities of being a citizen in a democracy?

2 QUOTATIONS FROM WINSTON CHURCHILL “ Democracy is the worst form of government … except for all the others. ” “ The best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. ” In your own words, what is Churchill saying about democracy? To what extent do you agree with Churchill.

3 MORE CHURCHILL “ We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ” What is Churchill saying about the responsibilities of individuals in society? To what extent do you agree with Churchill?

4 Words of John F. Kennedy “ And, so, my fellow Americans ask not what this country can do for you, ask what you can do for this country. ” Don ’ t worry …… no need to re-state the obvious message. But, do you think Americans have answered the call to service of nation? How can we serve our nation today?

5 Quotations from President Obama’s Oval Office Rug “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” –FDR “The arc of the moral Universe is long, but it bends towards justice” – Martin Luther King Jr. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” -Lincoln

6 Quotations from President Obama’s Oval Office Rug “No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings” – JFK “The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us.” – Teddy Roosevelt

7 So, … why is it important to study U.S. government and politics? “… we live in a democracy, stupid ” (effective citizenship requires knowledge) Our democracy may not be perfect but it ’ s the best we ’ ve got – take ownership (doing so requires understanding the institutions, both formal and informal, that influence policy-making) Democracy, Liberty, Equality … too precious to waste

8 HOMEWORK FOR WEEK OF 9/2 Start reading chapters 1 and 2 Written assignment coming soon! EXTRA CREDIT ASSIGNMENT (due 9/12) Will count towards Test/Quiz average Create a political cartoon, poster, poem, or essay illustrating one of the government quotes discussed in class. (1/2 sheet of oaktag, suitable for display)

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19 Sample Questions – U.S. citizenship test 1.What are the colors of our Flag? 2.What do the stripes on the flag mean? 3.Who is the President of the United States? 4.Who is the Vice President of the United States? 5.Who is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court? 6.How many changes or amendments are there to the Constitution?

20 Sample Questions – U.S. Citizenship Test 7. What are Congress ’ duties? 8. Who becomes President if the President and Vice President should die? 9. Which countries were our enemies during WWI? 10. A person must meet certain constitutional requirements to be eligible to become President. Name one. 11. Who was the main writer of the Declaration of Independence?

21 Sample Questions – U.S. Citizenship Test 12. Who helped the Pilgrims in America? 13. Who has the power to declare war? 14. What is the most important right granted to U.S. citizens? 15. In what month do we vote for President? 16. Can you name the two Senators from your state? 17. What is the capital of your state? 18. Who is the Governor of your state?

22 Aim: What is “U.S. Government and Politics”? I.Constitution, Federalism, and American Political Culture II.Informal Institutions III.Formal Institutions IV.Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

23 Aim: Who governs and to what end? What is power? What is political power? Authority, “ formal authority ”, and legitimacy?? What is democracy? Three types of democracy? ? ? ?

24 Aim: Who governs and to what end? Direct v. Representative Democracy: which is best? Would you want to live in a direct democracy? Is direct democracy practical? … desirable? When we use the term democracy in this course=representative democracy

25 Aim: Who governs and to what end? HOW IS POWER DISTRIBUTED IN A DEMOCRACY? Majoritarian politics v. Elitist politics What is the difference? WHAT ARE THE FOUR MAJOR THEORIES OF ELITIST POLITICS? Marxist Elitist Bureaucratic Pluralist

26 Aim: Who governs and to what ends? Is politics self-seeking? If so, does that mean that the resulting policies will be wholly self-serving?

27 Aim: Who governs and to what ends? According to Alexis de Tocqueville, 19 th century writer and political analyst, “ Americans … are fond of explaining almost all other actions of their lives by the principle of self-interest … In this respect I think they frequently fail to do themselves justice … for in the U.S., as well as elsewhere, people are sometimes seen to give way to those … spontaneous impulses that are natural to man …”

28 Aim: Who governs and to what ends? Can “ Who governs ” change over time? What is de Toqueville saying about Americans and self-interest? Do you agree? What are some “ conditions ” of representative democracy? Can you have a truly representative democracy without these features? Some emphasize that “ democracy cannot survive without economic prosperity ”. Do you agree? Do any genuine democracies exist in economically deprived areas of the world? Was America ’ s democratic form of government threatened during the Great Depression?

29 Aim: Who governs and to what end? Some believe that “ representative democracies ” are legitimate because policies are based upon the “ will of the people ”. Is that a “ fact ” or “ fiction ” ? Is our democracy less legitimate due to low voter turnout and/or ignorance (on the part of the public)? Does the level of public ignorance mean that: Americans are satisfied ….or … the government ’ s “ authority ” is meaningless?

30 Aim: Who governs and to what end? Which governmental powers are legitimate? (see chart) Should democratic decision making be extended to all spheres of life – ie. workplace, schools, college, businesses. Mikhail Gorbachev: “ America defines democracy in terms of political liberties, such as freedom of speech/religion … these mean nothing in the absence of housing, medical care, and employment. ” Is Gorbachev ’ s criticism valid? Which is more important - liberty or security (economic)?

31 Aim: Who governs and to what end? Winston Churchill had said, “ Democracy is the worst form of government … except for all others ” Most Americans consider it the only legitimate form of government. How democratic is the U.S. if 70% of Americans want prayer in school and we don ’ t have it? How democratic is the U.S. if 65% of Americans want more handgun control,and we don ’ t get it? Public view of burning American flag? Is this troublesome to you? Should the majority always rule?

32 Aim: “ Who governs ” and “ to what end ” ? “ Majority rule only works if you ’ re also considering individual rights … Because you can ’ t have 5 wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper. ” – Larry Flynt How do we balance minority rights against majority rule?

33 Aim: Can a democracy effectively fight a war against terrorism? Guantanamo bay prisoners? Military tribunals to try captured terrorists? What constitutes torture? NSA warrantless wiretaps How much new law enforcement authority should be given to police and investigative agencies? Airline security procedures? Should America invade nations that support terrorists?

34 Aim: “ Who governs ” and “ to what end ” ? SUMMARY QUESTIONS What is majoritarian politics? On what types of issues would it work best? What are the four (4) theories of elitist politics? What is the distinction between the pluralist theory and the hyperpluralist theory? Is politics self-seeking? Does what is considered legitimate for the government to do change over time? (examples)

35 Remembering 9/11

36 REMEMBERING SEPTEMBER 11TH 1.What happened to our nation on September 11 th, 2001? (How … ) 2.What group was responsible for this attack? 3.Who was/is the leader of the group that orchestrated this attack? 4.How many individuals were directly involved in the 9/11 attack on our nation? 5.What nations were the hijackers from? 6.What country was responsible for giving a “ safe haven ” to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? 7.What was our government ’ s immediate response to the attack? 8.Do you remember where you were when you learned of the attack? 9.How has life changed since the attack of September 11 th, 2001?


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