Presentation on theme: "Power in American Society"— Presentation transcript:
1Power in American Society Political Science 110JPower in American Society
2Course Website adamgomez.wordpress.com/teaching/poli110jss2201 All course documents (syllabus, lecture slides, essay prompts, online readings) can be found here
3Key terms & ideas Ideal types Abstracted for understanding Never found in pure form
4Sources of Power (broadly): Power and authorityLegitimacySources of Power (broadly):ForceEconomyPoliticsSources of Legitimacy:LawCulture, religion, customCharisma
5Two Kinds of LibertyIdeal types, almost never encountered in pure formNegativeLiberty is having no mastersAbsence of constraintPositiveLiberty is being your own masterConstraint can be used to help you act as you would if you had better understanding
6Telos The end of a thing as a part of that thing Example: acorns & oak treesTeleology (teleological)Understanding a thing with its telos in mindLinear movement toward the telos of a thing
7Ideas Have PowerTwo major political philosophies inform the structure of American governmentliberalism & republicanism
8Liberalism Emphases: Primacy of reason Reason vs. passion, interest Universal rightsNegative libertyThe marketIndividuals
9Republicanism Emphases Value of citizenship Ties that bind citizens to state and vice versaCommunity & communal identityPositive libertyVirtue and corruption (faction, interest)Classicalist
10What 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?
11Declaration 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”
12Declaration 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 tradeJuly 4, approved and sent to printer.Was it a revolution?The Declaration of Independence is the first utterance of the United States of AmericaSpeaking the nation into existence (performative)
13Declaration 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 Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.”
14Declaration of Independence State of NatureLaws of Nature (Locke) and Nature’s God (Deism?)Legitimacy of RebellionKeen awareness that the attention of the world is on the United StatesFirst democratic government since classical times
15Declaration 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”
16Declaration 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 peopleThe US is not a community of shared blood or culture, but of shared belief.The Sovereign PeopleThe Popular Sovereign is a transtemporal entity
17Declaration of Independence The role of God, “the Creator”:Who is he?Deism vs. Revealed ReligionWhat is his political function?The source of political rightsPolitical rights are an intrinsic part of being human.
18Declaration 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.
19Declaration 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.”
20Declaration of Independence The purpose of government is the preservation of rightsStemming from equalityAn inherent right to revolutionOrganization of power to be determined by “the people.”Again, the people are prior, as are their security and happiness, to the government.
21Declaration 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.”
22Declaration of Independence Right and DutyDuty how?What is the relationship in this between positive and negative liberty?Freedom
23Declaration 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?