Submitted By ganzokmon
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INTRODUCTION GOVERNMENT politics and government matter
Senator John Glenn worried “about the future when we have so many young people who feel apathetic and critical and cynical about anything having to do with politics”
Thomas Jefferson stated that no one is politically ignorant and free
What Americans Know About Politics and Why It Matters argues that political knowledge:
1) fosters civic virtues such as political tolerance
2) helps citizens to identify what policies would truly benefit them and then incorporate this information in their voting behavior
3) promotes active participation in politics
1996 presidential elections fell below the 50% mark for the first time since early 1920s (when women just received suffrage) those who participate in political process are more likely to benefit from government programs today’s youth has grown up in environment in which public affairs has not been as readily visible as in the past optimistics say that it gives prospect of a revitalized democracy characterized by a more active and informed citizenry
Government - institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society ie. national government are Congress, president, courts, bureaucracy how should be govern? what should government do? national government performs 5 functions:
1) Maintain a national defense - armed forces (U.S. spends $275 billion on national defense)
2) Provide public services - schools, libraries, highways (public goods - goods such as air and water and highways and parks that everyone must share)
3) Preserve order
4) Socialize the young - Pledge of Allegiance fosters patriotism
5) Collect taxes - ⅓ $1 earned is used to pay for taxes
Politics - process by which we select our governmental leaders and what policies these leaders pursue; politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues
Lasswell’s “who gets what, when, and how”
Political Participation - all activities used by citizens to influence the selection of political leaders or the policies they pursue; the most common in a democracy is voting; other means are protest and civil disobedience many people judge the well being of a government from the political participation
America does poorly when judged with voter turnout
Single Issue Groups - groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise and often draw membership from people new to politics; different from interest groups ie. abortion
Policymaking system - process by which policy comes into being and evolve over time; people’s interest, problems, and concerns create political issues for government policymakers which shape policy and impacts people, generating more interests, problems, and concern
People shape policy
Linking institutions - political channels through which people’s concerns become political issues on the political agenda ie. elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media
Policy agenda - issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point of time
Political issue - an issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it
Policymaking institutions - 3 branches of government charged with taking action on political issues 1) Congress 2) presidency 3) courts; some political scientists believe that 4) bureaucracy since it’s power is so great
Policies impact people
Public policy - a choice that government makes in response to a political issue; a policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem (ie. congressional statute presidential action, court decision, budgetary choices, regulation)
Democracy - a system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and responds to the public’s preferences
Robert Dahl stated that an ideal democratic process needs 5 criteria
1) Equality in voting
2) Effective participation
3) Enlightened understanding