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Chapter 4 American Political Culture

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1 Chapter 4 American Political Culture

2 WHO GOVERNS? TO WHAT ENDS? 1. Do Americans trust their government?
2. Why do we accept great differences in wealth and income? TO WHAT ENDS? 1. Why does our government behave differently than governments in countries with similar constitutions? Copyright © 2011 Cengage

3 Copyright © 2011 Cengage

4 Political Culture Political culture is a patterned and sustained way of thinking about how political and economic life ought to be carried out. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, a profound analysis of our political culture, p. 78. The Granger Collection Copyright © 2011 Cengage

5 American mistrust in government
Identify the factors that cause mistrust Explain why these factors cause mistrust Predict how mistrust in the government affects our lives/institution? Copyright © 2011 Cengage

6 Political Culture The Political System The Persistence of Conflict
The Economic System Copyright © 2011 Cengage

7 In the 1950s Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was the inspiration for the world “McCarthyism” after his highly publicized attacks on alleged communists working in the federal government, p. 81 Topham/The Image Works At the height of immigration to this country, there was a striking emphasis on creating a shared political culture. Schoolchildren, whatever their national origin, were taught to salute this country’s flag. p. 79 Underwood & Underwood/CORBIS Copyright © 2011 Cengage

8 Political System 5 important elements
1. LibertyAmericans are preoccupied with their rights. Free to do as long as they don’t hurt people 2. Equalityequal vote and equal chance to participate 3. DemocracyGovernment officials accountable to the people

9 Theme Americans typically agree on main political cultural values-the disagreement occurs when Americans are forced to pick which value is most important Copyright © 2011 Cengage

10 Question 1 All of the following are true about religion in America EXCEPT A. Americans are more likely than Europeans to believe in a higher power B. religiosity has increased in the past two decades C. religious people donate over three times as much money to charity as secular people D. religious people are less likely than secular people to donate to nonreligious charities E. Americans are more likely than Europeans to pray every day Copyright © 2011 Cengage

11 Answer 1 D. by most measures, Americans are more religious than Europeans. Religious people donate more money to charities, including nonreligious charities Copyright © 2011 Cengage

12 Q2 Which of the following statements about civic duty is most accurate? A. Americans vote less and have a weaker sense of civic duty than their European counterparts B. Americans are less active in their local communities than citizens of Europe C. most Americans believe that participating in government activities should be optional and that there should be no duty to participate D. most Americans do not believe that their actions can have an impact on government policies E. Americans have a stronger sense of civic duty than citizens of the United Kingdom or Mexico Copyright © 2011 Cengage

13 Answer 2 D. Americans have a strong sense of civic duty. In addition, they have a stronger sense of civic competence—the belief that they can impact government policies. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

14 Q 3 Citizens who believe they can influence political events have a high sense of civic A. effectiveness B. culture C. competence D. socialization E. legitmacy Copyright © 2011 Cengage

15 A3 C. Civic competence is the belief that a citizen can influence government Copyright © 2011 Cengage



18 Political System 4. Civic DutyPeople out to take community affairs seriously and help out when they can. 5. Individual responsibilityIndividuals are responsible for their own actions and well-being


20 Warm-up What are the main issues that you think Americans disagree on the most in our country today?

21 Persistence of Conflict
Constantly argue in America aboutabortion, morality, religion, immigration…etc. Usually difference in age and ethnicity

22 Changing political culture
Identify main points of American Culture Explain the impact of the points in politics Predict what both political parties need to do to win presidential elections Copyright © 2011 Cengage

23 Protests and demonstrations are a common feature of American politics, as with this attack in Seattle on American membership in the World Trade Organization in November 2001. Beth A. Keiser/AP Photo Yet, despite disagreements Americans are a patriotic people, as seen in this photo of baseball fans waving flags and singing “God Bless America,” taken a few days after 9/11. John Sommers II/Reuters/Corbis Copyright © 2011 Cengage

24 Source: Jack Citrin, et al
Source: Jack Citrin, et al., “Testing Huntington,” Perspectives on Politics, 5 (2007), 43. Data are from 2004 National Election Survey. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

25 Economic System Americans support the idea of “free-enterprise”
Disagreement comes as to the limits to place on the market People support government regulation of business to keep them from abusing power



28 Economic system Americans quite willing to support education but many opposed to preferential treatment (ex. Hiring quotas) Most Americans believe in personal responsibility (sink or swim)

29 Individual responsibility

30 Figure 4.2 Trust in the Federal Government, 1958-2004
Source: University of Michigan, The American National Election Studies. p. 90 Copyright © 2011 Cengage

31 Mistrust of Government
1950s high level of trust Been on the decline since 1960s/1970s Vietnam, Civil Rights movement Today only 12%of all Americans have a lot of confidence Copyright © 2011 Cengage

32 Political Mistrust Don’t mistrust the institution but the rather the politicians Likely to support the non-incumbent (ex. WI 2010)

33 Source: Gallup Poll Copyright © 2011 Cengage

34 Activity Page 92 Would you allow the following groups to hold a meeting at your cities civic auditorium? Explain why or why not.

35 Civil Society Collection of private, voluntary groups/Independent of Federal Government The more money a community has, the higher the level of involvement (Putnam) Ex bowling leagues, softball, NAACP, Veterans of Foreign Wars


37 The Sources of Political Culture
Personal Liberty vs. Social Control Class Consciousnessyour economic group interest is opposed to another The Culture War Orthodox – a belief that morality and religion ought to be of decisive importance. Progressive – a belief that personal freedom and solving social problems are more important than religion. Copyright © 2011 Cengage


39 Political Tolerance Must allow discussion of ideas, free expression
Most of us are ready to deny some group its rights, but we usually can’t agree on which group it should be.

40 Which would you permit to hold meetings at your cities auditorium?
1. protestants holding a revival meeting 2. right to life groups opposing abortion 3. people protesting a nuclear power plant 4. feminists organizing a march for the Equal Rights Amendment 5. Atheists preaching against God 6. Students organizing a sit-in to shut down city hall Explain why you would/would not allow them (Conflict in culture, we all believe in freedom of Speech) Copyright © 2011 Cengage

41 Political Tolerance

42 Figure 4.3 The American Civic Health Index, 1975-2002
Source: America’s Civic Health Index: Broken Engagement (Washington, D.C.: National Citizenship Conference and Saguaro Seminar, September 2006), p. 6. Reprinted by permission of the National Conference of Citizenship. p. 91 Copyright © 2011 Cengage

43 Political Tolerance In order for democracy to work, citizens must have a political culture that allows the discussion of ideas and the selection of rulers in an atmosphere reasonably free of oppression. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

44 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? MEMORANDUM To: Representative Olivia Kuo From: J. P. Loria, chief of staff Subject: Charitable Choice Expansion Act Section 104 of the 1996 federal welfare reform law encourages states to utilize “faith-based organizations” as providers of federal welfare services. Known as Charitable Choice, the law prohibits participating organizations from discriminating against beneficiaries on the basis of religion but permits them to control “the definition, development, practice, and expression” of their religious convictions. The proposed act would expand Charitable Choice to crime prevention and other areas. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

45 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Arguments for: 1. Over 90 percent of Americans believe in God, and 80 percent favor government funding for faith-based social programs. 2. Local religious groups are the main nongovernmental providers of social services in poor urban neighborhoods. The primary beneficiaries of faith-based programs are needy neighborhood children who are not affiliated with any congregation. 3. So long as the religious organizations serve civic purposes and do not proselytize, the law is constitutional. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

46 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Arguments against: 1. Americans are a richly religious people precisely because we have never mixed church and state in this way. 2. Community-serving religious groups succeed because over 97 percent of their funding is private and they can flexibly respond to people’s needs without government or other interference. 3. Constitutional or not, the law threatens to undermine both church and state: Children will have religion slid (if not jammed) down their throats, and religious leaders will be tempted to compromise their convictions. Copyright © 2011 Cengage

47 WHAT WOULD YOU DO? Your decision: Favor expansion? Oppose expansion?
Copyright © 2011 Cengage

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