Uploaded by zapatadavid384

AP Government CH01 Outline 2016 (1)

AP Gov – Chapter 1 Outline
Key terms: Politics is the struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal
groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges, or as Harold Dwight Lasswell (Professor
of Yale Univ., Law) puts it, “who gets what, when, and how.” An institution is an ongoing
organization that performs certain functions for society. Government is the institution in which
decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges. It is unique because it
has the ultimate authority within society.
Key concept: order; that is, a state of peace and security. Maintaining order by
protecting members of society from violence and criminal activity is the oldest purpose
of government.
Key concept: liberty, or the greatest freedom of individuals that is consistent with the
freedom of other individuals in society.
Authority and Legitimacy
Two more key concepts:
authority is the right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions
and compel obedience; and
legitimacy is popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity
to exercise authority.
A significant question for every nation is: “Who controls government?”
Types of Government
Totalitarian Regime. Totalitarian regime is a form of government in which a
small group or an individual controls all aspects of the political and social life of
a nation.
Authoritarianism. Authoritarianism is a type of regime in which only the
government itself is fully controlled by the ruler. Social and economic
institutions exist that are not under the government’s control.
Aristocracy. Aristocracy is the rule by the “best”; in reality, rule by an upper
class. Ancient Greeks used the term oligarchy for rule by the few.
Democracy. Democracy is a system of government in which political authority
is vested in the people. Derived from the Greek words demos (the people) and
kratos (authority).
Direct Democracy as a Model
Direct democracy is a system of government in which political decisions are made by
the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; probably attained most
easily in small political communities.
AP Gov – Chapter 1 Outline
Direct Democracy Today. Key concepts are the initiative, a procedure by which
voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment; the referendum, an
electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the
legislature to the voters for approval or disapproval; and the recall, a procedure
allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before
his or her term has expired.
Teledemocracy. Will the Internet really have any impact on our democratic
system? Because of the Internet, Americans have more access to political
information than ever before. Further, they can contact their elected
representatives, form political interest groups, and even vote online. The Obama
campaign in 2008 pioneered the use of the Internet to build a fundraising base
and communicate regularly with supporters.
The Dangers of Direct Democracy
Although the founders believed in government based on the consent of the people, they
were highly distrustful of anything that might look like “mob rule.” They, therefore,
devised institutions to filter the popular will through elected elites.
A Democratic Republic
The terms republic and democratic republic are key, as is the term representative
democracy. The differences between these terms are subtle. By itself, a republic can have
many undemocratic features. Democratic republic and representative democracy
really mean the same thing—government based on elected representatives.
Principles of Democratic Government. These include universal suffrage, the
right of all adults to vote for their representatives, and majority rule, which
means that the greatest number of citizens in any political unit should select the
officials and determine policies.
Constitutional Democracy. The key concept is limited government, the
principle that the powers of government should be limited, usually by
institutional checks. Without such limits, democracy could destroy itself.
The text discusses three theories about how American democracy could work.
Majoritarianism is a political theory holding that in a democracy, the government ought
to do what the majority of the people want. Popular as a principal, but determining what
constitutes a majority can be difficult in practice.
Elite theory assumes the population has little impact on the decision-making process.
Ultimately, policy decisions are made by a select few within the society. These elites
share a goal of governmental stability because they do not want their position within
society jeopardized. Studies of elite opinion, however, suggest that elites are more
tolerant of diversity, more willing to defend individual liberties, and more supportive of
democratic values than are members of the mass public.
AP Gov – Chapter 1 Outline
Pluralism is a theory assumes that our form of democracy is based on group interests.
Groups, or factions, work to promote their interests and through a series of compromises,
public policy decisions are made.
The founders believed that the structures and processes of governing would be sustained by a
supportive political culture—the set of ideas, values, and ways of thinking about government
and politics that are shared by all citizens. The process of political socialization ensures that
successive generations of Americans adopt these values.
Individual Freedom
Most of the explicitly guaranteed liberties appear in the Bill of Rights, or the first ten
amendments to the Constitution. These rights are not absolute and may be curtailed
during wartime or when rights conflict with one another. An example of this conflict is
liberty versus security.
There are many kinds of equality, some of which are more controversial than others.
Equality under the law regardless of race, religion, or gender is a popular value today, but
was not accepted as a norm even fifty years ago. Equality of opportunity is a concept
with much support. Economic equality is more controversial because to pursue this goal
would require a redistribution of wealth from rich to poor. Regardless, the notion of
egalitarianism is quite prevalent in U.S. anti-poverty policies.
A primary function of government is to promote stability and order in daily life.
Although citizens expect to be free of chaos, the values of liberty, equality, and order are
often in tension with one another.
Economic equality fairness as a value comes into conflict with property rights and with
the capitalist system in general.
Key concepts:
Capitalism, an economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealthcreating assets and also by free markets and freedom of contract.
The U.S. Supreme Court made a significant ruling in this area in Kelo v. New London,
upholding the ability of a local government to use its power of eminent domain to take
private property in order to turn it over to private developers so that an office park and
condominiums could be built.
A traditional method of comparing ideologies is to array them on a continuum from left to right,
based primarily on the large or small role for government. See Table 1-1 in the text.
The Traditional Political Spectrum
Socialism. Socialism is a political ideology based on strong support for
economic and social equality, falls on the left side of the spectrum. Socialists
AP Gov – Chapter 1 Outline
traditionally envisioned a society in which major businesses were taken over by
the government or by employee cooperatives.
Libertarianism. This is a political ideology based on skepticism or opposition
toward almost all government activities, falls on the right side of the spectrum.
In the Middle: Liberalism and Conservatism
Conservatism. This favors a limited role for government in helping individuals.
Economic freedom is seen as a necessity for the good of the society. On social
issues, conservatives advocate governmental involvement to preserve traditional
values and lifestyles.
Liberalism. This favors governmental regulation of the economy to benefit
individuals within the society. On social issues, liberals advocate a limited
governmental role. Social freedom is seen as a necessity for the good of the
The Difficulty Defining Liberalism and Conservatism
The meanings of these terms, although ubiquitous in American politics, have evolved
over time and may represent very different ideas depending on who is using the term.
Liberalism. The term liberal is often traced to philosophical liberalism, also
called individualism, at the core of John Locke’s philosophy of government. In
this sense preserving individual liberty and property rights is paramount among
the reasons for having government.
Conservatism. In the past conservatism was linked to resistance to change;
however, today the meaning is often two-fold. Economic conservatives differ
from social conservatives. Economic conservatives believe in less government,
support for capitalism and private property, and allowing individuals to pursue
their own route to achievement with little government interference. Social
conservatives support traditional social values, including opposition to abortion,
support for the death penalty or the right to own firearms, and opposition to gay
Libertarianism. Libertarians believe that government should not regulate the
economy and advocate almost complete freedom in social matters. They oppose
government action to promote traditional moral values, although such action is
often favored by other groups on the political right. Libertarians’ strong support
for civil liberties seems to align them more closely with modern liberals than
with conservatives.
The Global Range of Ideologies
Communism and fascism have few followers in the United States today; however, both
ideologies influenced the development of Europe and Asia.
Radical Islam
The ideology embraced by al Qaeda and several other terrorist and political
movements is based on a radical and fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, an
interpretation sometimes called Islamism or Radical Islam. The goal of this
ideology is to bring all Muslim peoples back to a form of government ruled by
religious leaders according to the strict interpretation of the Koran.
AP Gov – Chapter 1 Outline
In the next 50 years, the United States will face internal and external challenges. Not only will the
face of America change as its citizens age, become more diverse, and generate new needs for
laws and policies, but it will also have to contend with a lessening of its economic dominance in
the world.
Demographic Change in a Democratic Republic
The proportion of Americans who are elderly is growing even as our fertility rate is
Ethnic Change
The Hispanic and Asian portions of the U.S. population are expected to increase in future
generations. This is due not only to immigration but also to high fertility rates of new
immigrant families after they settle in this country.
Key term: Hispanic, someone who can claim a heritage from a Spanish-speaking
country. Over half are Mexican Americans, a tenth are Puerto Ricans, and the rest come
from a very wide range of countries.
Globalization refers to the interconnection of markets and economies across the globe.
This trend is challenging to all nations because no single nation can regulate global
corporations. Globalization also changes employment patterns, shifting jobs from one
nation to another.
Environmental Change
The great majority of scientists believe that global warming is taking place. There is
pressure for the United States to enter treaties that limit carbon emissions, but this
is controversial.