Politics: Who Gets What, and How?
Resources: assets that can be be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively
Power: ability to get others to do what you want them to do
Politics: “who gets what, when, and how?”
Government: a system for exercising control over a body of people
Institutions: structures of mechanisms of social order that govern the behavior of a specific set of individuals
Ex. schools, hospitals, prisons, religion, marriages
Rules: set of requirements for how institutions function
Authority: power to enforce decisions
Legitimacy: level of support for the enforcement of government’s authority
Diffuse (high levels) support: legitimate government
Concentrated (low levels) support: illegitimate government
The Role of Government
Thomas Hobbes: A world without government would devolve into a “war of all against all.”
Such a world would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
James Madison: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Government is primarily in charge of making social choices.
Translating and combining individual opinions and preferences into a cohesive decision
This is necessary because of the problem of collective action.
Ex. Cleaning your home
Your roommates are free riders!
Ex. of public goods.
Governments can do more. However, these functions cannot only be accomplished by government.
Types of Government
Monarchy: individual representative of a royal family as decision maker for all society.
“Mono” + “archy” = “ rule by” “one”
Monarch achieves position by being the member of the royal family
Totalitarianism: a small group of leader or one specific individual known as dictator makes all political decisions for society.
Total control of society- government as well as social and economic life
Ex. 1984, Hitler
Authoritarianism: similar to totalitarianism except leader only controls government NOT social and economic life
Aristocracy: generally meant rule by members of wealthy families and have closely approximated monarchies
Democracy: Rule by many
Democracy: literally means “rule by” “many”
Political authority is vested in the people
Also known as “popular sovereignty”
Earliest democracies were found in Greek cities states
Democracy as a form of government did not become widespread until the mid 1840’s
Most popular form of government today!
Types of Democracies
Direct (Participatory) Democracy: citizens participate in gov. as individuals
Have direct control over choices of gov.
Examples in America today
Initiatives: procedure by which voters can propose a law
Referenda: policies are referred by elected officials to the voters for approval or disapproval
Recall: dismiss elected official from before term has expired
Citizens participate in government through groups
Republican Form of Democracy:
Retains the ultimate power over the government with the people, but policy decisions are made by elected officials.
American Citizens and Political Culture
The Basics for American Political Culture
Culture: manifestations of human intellectual achievement regard collectively
Political Culture: Collective beliefs about government
American Political Culture: The shared values and beliefs about the nature of the American political world
Ex. Free Speech, Government, Liberty, Democracy, Equality
Equality of opportunity v. equality of outcome
American Political Culture: Defining Features
Features of American Political Culture: Classical Liberalism
Classical liberalism: society structured around the individual
“Instead of viewing individuals as the product of a political society… liberalism makes society the product of individuals.”
Based on the notion of the “social contract.”
Place great emphasis on civic virtue and the