Government 2301

August 1998

Chapter 1 American Government and Politics Today

Annotated Outline

Use this outline to help when you study the chapter. It does not take the place of reading the chapter. You should understand thoroughly all the points in this outline.

I. Political Change in The United States

The voters have continued to elect one party to the

legislature and the other to the executive.

Changes: more people are voting by mail

line-item veto:

term limits

II. What is Politics?

Definitions: Laswell, Easton

Conflicts within society:

differences on the issues of right and wrong

differences on the proper role of government

competition for scarce resources

III. The Need for Government and Power

Government - definition

Authority and legitimacy:

oligarchy

elite

aristocracy

anarchy

democracy

The Athenian Model

direct democracy

legislature

initiative

referendum

recall

The question of power:

power

compliance

totalitarian regimes

IV. Who Governs

Sources of political power:

initiative and referendum

Dangers of Direct Democracy:

consent of the people

James Madison's views in the Federalist Papers

Representative Democracy:

republic

representative democracy

principles of democratic government: universal

suffrage, cantons, majority rule

constitutional democracy: limited government

V. Do We Have a Democracy

Democracy for the few - elites, elite theory

Democracy for Groups: pluralism, hyperpluralism

VI. Ideas and Politics: Political Culture

political culture

political socialization

political consensus: liberty, equality, property

popular sovereignty, fraternity

stability of the culture: subgroups and subcultures

common loyalty

VII. The Changing Face of America

ethnic change

other trends

VIII. Ideas and Politics: Ideology

ideology - definition

liberalism

conservatism

IX. America's Politics: Unfinished Work

This lecture accompanies Chapter 1 in Schmidt.