Government

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Politics and government matter.
Americans are apathetic about politics and
government.
American youth are not likely to be informed
about government and politics and rarely
participate in politics.
Volunteerism among young Americans in civil
society has increased.
Political analysis attempts to answer the what, why and how
questions about politics.
 Description
-The “what” questions based on facts
 Explanation
-The “why” and “how” something happens
 Prediction
--the effects of decisions and non-decisions
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Prescription
-Value statement of what “should be done”
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Science - uses methods that allow people to agree on results
 Search for regularities
 Patterns or correlations
 Empirical
 Observable or measurable
 Cumulative
 Builds on previous foundation
 Testable
 Others can evaluate and repeat analysis
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Type
Basis
Example
Traditional
Custom and
established way of
doing things
Monarchy
Charismatic
intense commitment
to the leader and his
message
Many revolutionary
leaders
Legal-Rational
rules and procedures
merit not connections
the office, not the person
bureaucracy;
Representative
democracy
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Legitimacy: rightful authority to rule—individuals within a state recognize the
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government’s right to make collective decisions;
Today: legal and psychological right to govern
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Definition:
 Politics is the process by which we select our
governmental leaders and what policies they
produce—politics produces authoritative decisions
about public issues.
 The process of deciding who benefits and who is
excluded from benefiting in society.
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Also consider Lasswell’s definition:
 Who gets what, when and how.
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The process by
which policy
comes into
being and
evolves over
time
Figure 1.4
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Definition: Linkage institutions are the political
channels through which people’s concerns
become political issues on the policy agenda.
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Political Parties
Elections
News & Entertainment Media
Interest Groups
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Definition: Government is the institutions and
processes through which public policies are made for
society.
This definition leads to two basic questions:
 How should we govern?
 What should government do?
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Governments typically maintain a national defense,
provide services, collect taxes, and preserve order.
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Definition: Policymaking institutions are the
branches of government charged with taking
action on political issues.
 Legislature (Congress)
 Executive (Presidency)
 Bureaucracies (Federal and State)
 Courts (Federal and State)
Public Policy: a choice that government makes in response to a
political issue
 Monarchy:
A king or queen has absolute authority
over a territory and its government.
Types
of
Governments:
 Oligarchy:
Only an elite few hold power.
Who Governs?
 Democracy:
The supreme power of governance
lies in the hands of citizens.
 Totalitarianism:
A tyrannical government structure which
Types
of
Governments:
controls every aspect of their citizens’ lives.
Function
and
Structure?
A government which holds strong powers,
 Authoritarianism:
but which is checked by other forces in society.
 Constitutionalism:
A form of government structured by law
which provides for limited government.
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Security
Mediation
Provision of public goods
Allocation of resources
To raise and spend money; control of money
supply
Political socialization
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Economic system characteristic of
a. private property
b. free market with limited gov’t intervention
c. economic output determined by supply and
demand
Liberals:
1. More governmental regulation of economy
2. More policies to help disadvantaged groups
3. More policies to redistribute income
Conservatives:
1. Fewer governmental regulations, more reliance on
market
2. Fewer policies in the name of disadvantaged
groups
3. Fewer tax laws that discourage business growth
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