Chapter 1

Why do government and politics matter?
They affect everyone.
Describe our generation’s relationship to politics.
It is apatheic because politics are not in the public eye as much as they were. Public knowledge fosters civic virtue, decide which politicians or public policies to vote for, and encourages people to participate in politics actively.
Why does voter turnout matter?
Groups that vote have more power to make policy. For example, seniors (;65) have, as a group, more power than young people (;25) because they vote more.
What is government?
The institutions and processes by which public policy is made. The U.S. government is made up of the president, Congress, the courts, and the “bureaucracy” or administration.
What five services do most national governments offer?

  1. National defense
  2. Public goods
  3. Keep order
  4. “Socialize the young” (i.e., the pledge in public schools; foster patriotism)
  5. Collect taxes

What is politics?
The process by which we select our leaders and policies. Harold Lasswell famously defined this as, “Who gets what, when, and how.”
What are three methods of political participation?

  1. Voting
  2. Protest
  3. Civil disobedience

What distinguishes single interest groups from special interest groups?
They dislike comproise and tend to draw from people new to politics.
What is the policymaking system?
The process by which the government sees to the needs of its people.
How do people shape policy?
Voting, political parties, the internet, and interest groups.
What are linkage institutions?
The political channels through which people’s concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. Linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
What is policy agenda?
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials. It is usually made up of bad news, such as the economy or the national debt.
What is a political issue?
An issue that arises when people disagree about a problem and how to fix it.
What are policymaking institutions?
The branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. In the United States Constitution, Congress, the predsident, and the courts were given this power; however, the administration (often called the “bureaucracy”) has gained so much power that it is commonly known as a fourth policymaking institution.
What is public policy? Name the five major types.

A choice that government makes in response to a political issue.

  1. Congressional statute
  2. Presidential action
  3. Court decision
  4. Budgetary choices
  5. Regulation

What are policy impacts?
The effects a policy has on people and problems. It is often analyzed to see how well policy met goals and at what cost.
What is democracy?
A system of selecting policymakers and of organizing government so the policy represents and responds to the public’s preference. Abraham Lincoln describes it as, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
What are the five principles of traditional democratic theory?

  1. Equality in voting
  2. Effective participation
  3. Free press and speech
  4. Citizen control of the agenda
  5. Equality in citizenship

What is the pluralist theory of American government?
Pluralism is a theory emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its preferred policies. It stresses compromise. Putnam uses the famous example of why this theory no longer works: membership in bowling leagues has dropped while there has been a rise in bowling, which means people are bowling alone. Putnam says this is also true for politics.
What is elite and class theory?
A theory contending that societies are divided by class lines and that the elite (especially big businesses) will always rule. Reagan and Bush adhered to this school of thought. The government’s relationship to oil companies shows how this theory can go bad.
What is hyperpluralism?
“Pluralism gone wrong.” A theory contending that groups are so strong that the government is weakened; politicians try to please all the groups and end up pleasing no one at all–and especially not the citizens.
What are four challenges to democracy?

  1. Increased technical experience–there is so much that you need to know to competently participate in politics that most people are not qualified.
  2. Limited participation in government–less people are participating.
  3. Rising campaign costs–keep some people from running.
  4. Diverse political interests leading to policy gridlock–no group can get a majority so nothing gets done.

What is political culture? What are the five pieces of America’s political culture?

An overall set of values widely shared within a society.

  1. Liberty
  2. Egalitarianism
  3. Individualism
  4. Laissez-faire
  5. Populism

Why might Americans be experiencing a cultural war?

  • Polarization
  • Loss of traditional values (i.e., religion, family)
  • Loss of morality and pariotism
  • Division of society into unreconcilable groups

How active is American government?

  • Spends about 29% of its GDP/year on federal-state-local governments
  • Employs about 18 million people
  • Spends 1/6 of its money on national defense

What textbook is all this from?
Edwards, George C., III, Martin P. Wattenberg, and Robert L. Lineberry. “Chapter One: Introducing Government in America.” Government in America: People, Politics, and Policy. Ed. Eric Stano. 14th, AP ed. New York: Longman-Pearson, 2009. 3-29. Print.