Tuesday, September 05, 2006

AP Gov't, Agenda, 5 September 2006

The Study of American Government
The purpose of this chapter is to give the student a preview of the major questions to be asked throughout the textbook and to introduce key terms. After reading and reviewing the material in this chapter the student should be able to do each of the following:
1. List the two basic questions to be asked about government in the United States (or any other nation) and show that they are distinct questions.
2. Explain what is meant by power, and by political power in particular. Relate the latter to authority, legitimacy, and democracy.
3. Distinguish among the two concepts of democracy mentioned in the chapter, explaining in which sense the textbook refers to United States government as democratic.
4. Differentiate between majoritarian politics and elitist politics, explaining the four major theories of the latter.
5. Explain how political change tends to make political scientists cautious in stating how politics works or what values dominate it.

The Study of American Government
There are two major questions about government: Who governs? To what ends? This book will focus on the first question, and will encourage students to develop their own answers to the second question.
Democratic theory recognizes that the answer to the question “Who governs?” is more complicated than “the people.” Participatory democracy has only been a reality in a limited number of cases. Representative democracy gives rise to an elite. Elite theorists have given at least four answers to the question of “who governs?”:
Those who own the means of production, controlling the economic system, will control the government.
Power Elitist:
A few top leaders, drawn from the major sectors of the United States polity, will make all important decisions.
Appointed civil servants control the government, without consulting the public.
Competition among affected interests shapes public policy decision making.
In order to choose among these theories or to devise new ones, one must examine the kinds of issues that do (and do not) get taken up by the political system and consider how they are resolved by the system. It is not enough to merely describe governmental institutions and processes.
Distinguishing between different types of democracies is a very important part of this study. The Framers of the Constitution intended that the United States be a representative democracy in which the power to make decisions would be determined by a free and competitive struggle for the citizens’ votes.

The Study of American Government
Chapter Outline with Keyed-in Resources
A. Politics exists because people differ about two great questions
B. Who governs: those who govern will affect us
C. To what ends: tells how government affects our lives
D. The text focuses on who governs and, in answering this question, looks at how the government makes decisions on a variety of issues
II. What is political power?
A. Power: the ability of one person to cause another person to act in accordance with the first person’s intentions
1. May be obvious: president sends soldiers into combat
2. May be subtle: president’s junior speechwriters take a new tone when writing about a controversial issue
B. Text’s concern: power as it is used to affect who will hold government office and how government will behave
C. Authority: the right to use power; not all who exercise political power have authority to do so
D. Legitimacy: what makes a law or constitution a source of right
E. Struggles over what makes authority legitimate constitute much of U.S. history
F. Necessary for government to be in some sense “democratic” in the United States today in order to be perceived as legitimate
III. What is democracy? Describes at least two different political systems. (THEME B: THEORIES OF DEMOCRACY)
A. Direct or Participatory Democracy (Aristotelian “rule of the many”)
1. Fourth-century B.C.E. Greek city-state, practiced by free adult male property owners
2. New England town meeting
B. Representative Democracy or Elitist Theory of Democracy
1. Defined by Schumpeter: acquisition of power by leaders via competitive elections
2. Justifications
a) Direct democracy is impractical for reasons of time, expertise, etc.
b) The people make unwise decisions based on fleeting emotions
IV. Is representative democracy best?
A. Text uses the term “democracy” to refer to representative democracy
1. Constitution does not contain word “democracy” but “republican form of government” (meaning what we call representative democracy)
2. Representative democracy requires leadership competition if system is to work—requires meaningful choice for voters, free communication, etc.
B. Framers favored representative democracy
1. Government would mediate, nor mirror, popular views
2. People were viewed as lacking knowledge and susceptible to manipulation
3. Framers’ goal: to minimize the abuse of power by a tyrannical majority or by officeholders
C. Were the framers right?
1. Do people today have more time, information, energy, interest and expertise to gather together for collective decision making?
2. Was the Framers’ faith that representative democracy would help protect minority rights and prevent corruption misplaced?
V. How is political power distributed?
A. Focus on actual distribution of power within American representative democracy
B. Majoritarian politics
1. Leaders constrained to follow wishes of the people very closely
2. Applies when issues are simple and clear
C. Elitism
1. Rule by identifiable group of persons who possess a disproportionate share of political power
2. Comes into play when circumstances do not permit majoritarian decision making
3. Theories of elite decision making
a) Marxism: founded by Karl Marx; argues that government is merely a reflection means of production; government is controlled by the dominant social class (the capitalist class in the U.S.)
b) Power Elite theory: founded by C. Wright Mills; argues that a power elite, composed of key corporate leaders, military leaders, and political leaders, control and are served by government; the power elite has been expanded to include media chiefs, labor union officials and many others
c) Bureaucratic view: founded by Max Weber; argues that power is mainly in the hands of appointed officials who are able to exercise vast power when deciding how public laws are to be turned into administrative actions
d) Pluralist view: has no single intellectual parent; argues that no single elite has monopoly on power; hence all elites must bargain and compromise while being responsive to followers
VI. Is democracy driven by self-interest?
A. All elite theories of politics may lead to the cynical view that politics is simply a self-seeking enterprise in which everyone is out for political gain
B. Policy outcomes do not necessarily reflect their authors’ motives
C. Self-interest is an incomplete guide to decision-making (de Tocqueville’s argument: Americans are more interested in justifying theory of self-interest than in honoring their own disinterested actions)
1. Peoples’ actions on 9/11 clearly demonstrated this
2. AFL-CIO supported civil rights in the 1960s, without personal or organizational gain
3. Many of the most important events in U.S. history (including the revolutionary war and the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s) were led by people who risked much against long odds
VII. What explains political change?
A. Historical perspective makes it difficult to accept any simple explanations of political change
B. Changes in elite and mass beliefs about what government is supposed to do have resulted in changes in the character of government
1. The growth of federal power in 1932 and the effort to cut it back beginning in 1981 have no simple explanation
2. Foreign policy has swung between isolationism and strong internationalism
C. Politics is about defining the public interest, not just “Who gets what?”
VIII. The Nature of Politics
A. Often we have only partial or contingent answers
B. Must understand how preferences are formed: preferences and shared understandings are the underlying basis of most power
C. Political power cannot be equated with laws on the books
D. Sweeping claims are to be avoided; judgments about institutions and interests can only be made after observing a wide range of behaviors

The Study of American Government
Important Terms
The right to use power.
*bureaucratic view
View that the government is dominated by appointed officials.
The rule of the many.
*direct (participatory) democracy
A government in which all or most citizens participate directly.
Persons who possess a disproportionate share of some valued resource, like money or power.
Political authority conferred by law or by a state or national constitution.
Marxist view
View that the government is dominated by capitalists.
power elite view
View that the government is dominated by a few top leaders, most of whom are outside the government.
*pluralist view
The belief that competition among all affected interests shapes public policy.
The ability of one person to cause another person to act in accordance with the first person’s intentions.
*power elite
A political theory espoused by C. Wright Mills which holds that an elite of corporate leaders, top military officers, and key political leaders make most political decisions.
*representative democracy
A government in which leaders make decisions by winning a competitive struggle for the popular vote.

The Study of American Government
Theme A: THE NATURE OF Political Power and Authority
Instructor Resources
Peter Bachrach and Morton S. Baratz, Power and Poverty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1970.
Robert Dahl, Who Governs? New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963.
G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America? Power and Politics. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.
Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.
George Lakoff, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002.
Stephen Lukes, Power; A Radical View (2nd edition). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Henry Richardson and Paul Weithman, eds., Reasonable Pluralism, The Philosophy of Rawls. New York: Garland, 1999.

The Study of American Government
Theme A: THE NATURE OF Political Power and Authority
The two great questions about politics are, “Who governs?” and “To what ends?” The question of who governs is the question of who has power, which is defined as the ability of one person to cause another person to act in accordance with the first person’s intentions. Power is found in all human relationships; however, this text is primarily concerned with its exercise in the United States federal government. People who exercise power may also have authority—which this text understands as the right to use power. Some authority is formal authority—the right to use power vested in a governmental office. Power and authority must be based on legitimacy—what makes a law or constitution a source of right. Power, authority, and legitimacy can become divorced from one another resulting in a government that rules by force or brutality.

The Study of American Government
Theme A: THE NATURE OF Political Power and Authority
Discussion Questions
1. Compare the institutions that have power over you with the institutions that have authority over you. What are the characteristics that distinguish one set of institutions from another?
2. Power can be exercised in many ways. The most visible exercise of power occurs when one person makes another act in accordance with their specified wishes. But power is also exercised when a person takes no action (non-decision) and when options are not presented. Provide an example of each of these uses of power, both in your own life and in government.
3. Distinguishing between power and authority is, fundamentally, reflective of one’s political beliefs. In what kinds of institutions do you have confidence? Why do you trust them? In contrast, what kinds of institutions raise your suspicions? Why?
4. How do your assessments of institutions in your daily life relate to your attitudes toward governmental and political institutions? Are you more or less confident about the Congress, presidency, judicial system, political parties, and other structures? Why?

The Study of American Government
Theme B: THEORIES OF Democracy
Instructor Resources
John M. Allswang, The Initiative and Referendum in California, 1898–1998. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.
David S. Broder, Democracy Derailed, Initiative Campaigns and the Power of Money. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000.
Dick Cluster, ed., They Should Have Served That Cup of Coffee: 7 Radicals Remember the 60s. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1979.
Mitchell Cohen and Nicole Fermon, eds., Princeton Readings in Political Thought. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.
Morton J. Frisch and Richard J. Stevens, eds., American Political Thought: The Philosophic Dimension of American Statesmanship, 2nd ed. Itasca, IL: F. E. Peacock Publishers, 1983.
David Held, Models of Democracy, 2nd ed. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997.
Peter B. Levy, ed., 100 Key Documents in American Democracy. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999.
Kirstie M. McClure, Judging Rights: Lockean Politics and the Limits of Consent. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1996.
Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, eds., History of Political Philosophy, 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.
Ronald Terchek and Thomas Conte, eds., Theories of Democracy: A Reader. Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.

The Study of American Government
Theme B: THEORIES OF Democracy
Democracy is a word used in at least two ways in the discussion of government. One interpretation approximates Aristotle’s definition of the “rule of the many.” This system, also called direct or participatory democracy, was practical in the Greek polis, but survives today only in a few circumstances, such as the New England town meeting. Still, some have argued that the initiative and the referendum allow a substantial measure of direct democracy in modern political systems.
Another interpretation focuses on the election of leaders who then govern all members of the society. Representative democracy involves leaders acquiring power by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote. Sometimes called disparagingly the elitist theory of democracy, this sort of government is supported by those who feel that it is impractical for the public to make policy across a vast array of issues and that people often decide large issues on the basis of fleeting passions. For this sort of government to function, it is necessary that there be competing elites and free communication.

The Study of American Government
Theme B: THEORIES OF Democracy
Discussion Questions
1. Should participatory democratic decision making be extended to all spheres of life—to the workplace, to the governance of colleges and universities, and to the marketplace through consumer cooperatives? How would this benefit these institutions? What kind of costs might be associated with democracy in non-governmental institutions?
2. How democratic is the United States? For example, clear majorities of the American people favor allowing prayer in the public schools and favor handgun control. Yet the Supreme Court has ruled that prayer in the public schools is a violation of the Constitution, and Congress has not yet passed comprehensive handgun regulations. Similar circumstances prevail in regard to many other policy areas. Is this evidence that the United States is not a democracy?
3. de Tocqueville feared that majority rule could culminate in tyranny: “[I]f ever the free institutions of America are destroyed, that event may be attributed to the omnipotence of the majority, which may at some future time urge the minorities to desperation and oblige them to recourse to physical force.” How should minority rights be balanced against majority rule?
4. How did the events of September 11, 2001 change the landscape of decision making in the United States? Have citizens become more involved in public life since then, or less involved? Are political elites more powerful―and what types of elites have gained power, or lost it? What evidence do you have to make your argument? How could it be refuted?

The Study of American Government
Theme B: THEORIES OF Democracy
Alternative Lesson Plan Based in Theme B
An Economic Bill of Rights
On January 11, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered a speech that outlined his postwar foreign and domestic policies. (“Message from the President of the United States Transmitting a Recommendation for the Passage of a National Service Law and Other Acts, Bearing on the Cost of Living, Taxation, Stabilization, and to Prevent Undue Profits.” January 11, 1944. House of Representatives Document No. 377.) Denouncing the “pests who swarm through the lobbies of Congress and the cocktail bars of Washington, representing…special groups as opposed to the basic interests of the Nation,” Roosevelt argued that global economic interdependence precluded a return to isolationism. The president offered a series of legislative recommendations to sustain the national commitment to winning the war. His most controversial statements, though, related to domestic policy.
The president began that portion of the speech by reminding listeners of their constitutional heritage.
This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.
These are the rights, listed in the Bill of Rights, which specifically limit the power of the federal government. Yet Roosevelt made them the basis of his argument for an activist government.
As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.
We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence.… People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.
In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.
Among these are—
The right to a useful and remunerative job…;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home and abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.
All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.
As Roosevelt noted, the “second Bill of Rights” would have to be “implemented” by the government—this Bill of Rights did not limit the government but rather required it to exercise power. As described by John Locke and the Framers, rights protected the individual against government intrusion. Now, Roosevelt concluded that rights could also protect the individual by dictating government intervention.
Roosevelt’s death precluded his acting upon these claims, though several were already the basis for New Deal programs. In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programs were expressive of this perspective. Still, many of these rights have yet to be embodied in government programs and remain the subject of extended political debate.

Discussion Questions
1. In the United States, the government is frequently described as a servant of the people. In what ways does Roosevelt’s speech endorse this perspective?
2. How would you define rights? Note that Roosevelt insists that rights be defined in the context of individual well-being, societal development, and international relations. Do you agree?
3. What is the proper role of the government? How should government stand in relation to the individual citizen?
4. How does Roosevelt’s speech reflect current political concerns? Think about current executive-legislative debates, and about prevailing Democratic-Republican disagreements.

World History, 7 September 2006

World History Agenda 5 September 2006

Begin with Chapter 17 The Age of Absolutism (1550-1800), p. 410-411.

During the 1500s and 1600s, several European monarchs became absolute rulers. In England, Parliament gained control. After the Thirty Years' War, Prussia emerged as a strong Protestant state. In Austria, the Hapsburgs expanded their territory. Peter the Great gained land and brought reforms to Russia but worsened the condition of the serfs.

Background: About the Pictures

Section 2 France Under Louis XIV

Bell Ringer
I draw your attention to the quotation from Louis XIV ('L'etat, c'est moi.) on p. 417. For Extra Credit, what kind of government do you think France had at this time? How do you feel the French people felt about such a government?

Lesson Plan Focus
Violent warfare between Catholics and Protestants divided France for a time. Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin increased royal power at the expense of nobles and Huguenots, or French Protestants. Under the absolutist rule of Louis XIV, France became the leading state of Europe. But costly wars and religious persecution undermined French power.

p. 419, You Are There. . .
Living at Versailles

Section 3 Triumph of Parliament in England, p. 421.

Lesson Plan Focus
The Stuart kings clashed with Parliament over money, foreign policy, and religion. A civil war erupted when Charles I tried to arrest the radical leaders in the House of Commons. Parliament's triumph led to the execution of the kin
g, the abolition of the monarchy, and the creation of a republic headed by Oliver Cromwell. After the monarchy was restored, the Glorious Revolution limited royal power and protected the rights of English citizens.

Synthesizing Information
The Struggle Between King and Parliament, p. 425.

Unit 5
Enlightenment and Revolution (1707-1850)

Ch. 18 The Enlightenment and the American Revolution ( 1707-1800)

Section 1 Philosophy in the Age of Reason

Lesson Plan Focus
Enlightenment thinkers tried to apply the laws of nature to human society. Their political ideas included the concepts of natural rights, separation of power, checks and balances, and freedom of thought. Their economic ideas included the policies of laissez faire and a free market.

Define the Vocabulary words
p. 446

Answer the Captions p. 446, 450.

Homework (hereafter HW)
p. 450 1, 3-5.
Extra Credit
#6 & 7.

Welcome! 5 September 2006


Dr. G. Mick Smith, Cardinal Daugherty High School, World History & AP Government, 215.276.2300, http://gmicksmithsocialstudies.blogspot.com/ gmicksmith@muchomail.com

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