Presentation on theme: "Chapter 1 Political Thinking: Becoming a Responsible Citizen"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 1 Political Thinking: Becoming a Responsible Citizen “The worth of the state, in the long run,is the worth of the individuals composing it.”John Stuart MillI. Learning to Think PoliticallyA. Barriers to Political ThinkingB. What Political Science Can Contribute to Political ThinkingC. Political CultureII. Politics and Power in AmericaA. A Democratic SystemB. A Constitutional SystemC. A Free Market SystemD. Who Does Govern?
2 I. Learning to Think Politically Political thinking is the careful gathering and sifting of information in the process of forming knowledgeable views of political developments.
3 I. Learning to Think Politically Political thinking is a key to responsible citizenship, but many citizens avoid it by virtue of paying scant attention to politics.Barriers to political thinkingUnwillingness to make an effortPolitical “spin”White House Press OfficeTalking PointsModern mediaLiberal bias in “old media”Right-wing radio and blogsInternet & Social Media
4 I. Learning to Think Politically The tools of political science can contribute to effective political thinking.Reliable information about the U.S. political systemSystematic generalizations about major tendencies in U.S. politicsTerms and concepts that precisely describe the key aspects of politics
7 II. Politics & Power in America Politics is the process by which it is determined whose values will prevail in society.The basis of politics is conflict over scarce resources and competing values.Those who have power win out in this conflict and are able to control governing authority and policy choices.
8 II. Politics & Power in America Authoritarian governments openly repress their political opponentsTotalitarianism: no limits on the power of the state
9 II. Politics & Power in America In the United States, no one faction controls all power and policy.James Madison-Federalist No. 10-the dangers of factionGovernment is most dangerous when a single group is powerful enough to gain full political controlMajorities govern on some issues, while other issues are dominated by:GroupsElitesCorporationsIndividuals through judicial actionOfficials who hold public office.
10 II. Politics & Power in America Politics in the United States plays out through rules of the game that include:democracyconstitutionalismA free market system
11 II. Politics & Power in America Democracy is rule by the people, which in practice refers to a representative system of government in which the people rule through their elected officials.Majority rule through electionsEmpowers majorities (majoritarianism), groups (pluralism), and officials (authority)“demos” + “kratis” = “the people rule.”
12 II. Politics & Power in America Constitutionalism refers to rules that limit the rightful power of government over citizens.Based on the rule of lawU.S. ConstitutionLegal protections for individualsBill of RightsEmpowers individuals by enabling them to claim their rights in court (judicial action)Gideon v. Wainwright- 6th Amendment“…if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be will be appointed for you.”
13 II. Politics & Power in America A free market system assigns private parties the dominant role in determining how economic costs and benefits are allocated.A system that centers on transactions between private partiesEmpowers business firms (corporate power) & the wealthy (elitism)
15 Ch. 1- Major Concepts political thinking The careful gathering and sifting of information in the process of forming a knowledgeable view about a political issue.political scienceThe systematic study of government and politics.politicsThe process through which a society settles its conflicts.powerThe ability of persons, groups, or institutions to influence political developments.democracyA form of government in which the people govern, either directly or through elected representatives.majoritarianismThe idea that the majority prevails not only in elections but also in policy determination.pluralismA theory of American politics that holds that society’s interests are substantially represented through power exercised by groups.
16 Ch. 1- Major Concepts authority The recognized right of officials to exercise power as a result of the positions they hold.constitutionalismThe idea that there are definable limits on the rightful power of a government over its citizens.judicial actionThe use of courts of law as a means by which individuals protect their rights and settle their conflicts.free market systemAn economic system based on the idea that government should interfere with economic transactions as little as possible. Free enterprise and self-reliance are the collective and individual principles that underpin free markets.corporate powerThe power that corporations exercise in their effort to influence government and maintain control of the workplace.elitismThe notion that wealthy and well-connected individuals exercise power over certain areas of public policy.public policiesDecisions by government to pursue particular courses of action.