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Political Science 110J Power in American Society.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Science 110J Power in American Society."— Presentation transcript:

1 Political Science 110J Power in American Society

2 Course Website jss2201 All course documents (syllabus, lecture slides, essay prompts, online readings) can be found here

3 Key terms & ideas Ideal types – Abstracted for understanding – Never found in pure form

4 Power and authority – Legitimacy Sources of Power (broadly): – Force – Economy – Politics Sources of Legitimacy: – Law – Culture, religion, custom – Charisma

5 Two Kinds of Liberty Ideal types, almost never encountered in pure form Negative – Liberty is having no masters Absence of constraint Positive – Liberty is being your own master Constraint can be used to help you act as you would if you had better understanding

6 Telos The end of a thing as a part of that thing – Example: acorns & oak trees Teleology (teleological) – Understanding a thing with its telos in mind – Linear movement toward the telos of a thing

7 Ideas Have Power Two major political philosophies inform the structure of American government – liberalism & republicanism

8 Liberalism Emphases: – Primacy of reason – Reason vs. passion, interest – Universal rights – Negative liberty – The market – Individuals

9 Republicanism Emphases – Value of citizenship – Ties that bind citizens to state and vice versa – Community & communal identity – Positive liberty – Virtue and corruption (faction, interest) – Classicalist

10 What is power? How do we talk about it? What does it mean to be free? What is America? Who is an American? What is the American telos? Is there one? Who are we, and what will we do?

11 Declaration of Independence Should the 13 Colonies declare independence from Britain? July 1, 1776: vote 9 yes (New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, Rhode Island) 3 no (Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Delaware) 1 abstaining (NY lacked permission) July 2: Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Delaware change votes. Unanimous

12 Declaration of Independence We are reading the third draft. Jefferson was the sole author of the first, but it was revised in order to preserve the unity of the rebellious colonies. – Removal by congress of passage critical of the slave trade July 4, approved and sent to printer. Was it a revolution? The Declaration of Independence is the first utterance of the United States of America – Speaking the nation into existence (performative)

13 Declaration of Independence When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Natures God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

14 Declaration of Independence State of Nature Laws of Nature (Locke) and Natures God (Deism?) Legitimacy of Rebellion Keen awareness that the attention of the world is on the United States First democratic government since classical times

15 Declaration of Independence WE hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

16 Declaration of Independence Who are we? If the truths are self-evident, why bother saying them? Why then do they need to be held? How does this influence the nature of the American state? – Written in the voice of a single, national people – The US is not a community of shared blood or culture, but of shared belief. The Sovereign People – The Popular Sovereign is a transtemporal entity

17 Declaration of Independence The role of God, the Creator: Who is he? – Deism vs. Revealed Religion What is his political function? – The source of political rights Political rights are an intrinsic part of being human.

18 Declaration of Independence What does it mean for all men to be created equal? Equal how? Is God (of some kind) necessary for this to be true? In the first utterance of the united American nation, equality is the foundational political good, and the basis for political liberty. – Equality is thus a first order good.

19 Declaration of Independence That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

20 Declaration of Independence The purpose of government is the preservation of rights – Stemming from equality An inherent right to revolution Organization of power to be determined by the people. – Again, the people are prior, as are their security and happiness, to the government.

21 Declaration of Independence when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

22 Declaration of Independence Right and Duty – Duty how? – What is the relationship in this between positive and negative liberty? Freedom

23 Declaration of Independence Emerging tensions: – Which has priority, liberty or equality? – Is the United States an alliance of independent states, or is it a single, national people? – What is the relationship of law to the popular sovereign?

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