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American Government Final
Terms in this set (83)
Self-Identification vs. Societal Views
The ways that individuals categorize themselves and others, and how they understand the power relationships of domination and oppression that exist between groups.
Is the result of members of the team being different while at the same time part of an "elite" group which operates separately from the rest of the organization, with a common objective of the highest importance, with clearly defined deliverables and short deadlines
Citizens' attitudes about political issues, leaders, institutions, and events
May be understood on two levels:
Individual: what one person thinks about issues, leaders, institutions, and events
Aggregate: the accumulation of these individual beliefs as expressed in polls, votes, town meetings, protests, etc.
Preferences, beliefs, and choices matter.
Favors use of governmental power to promote individual liberties
Supports issues that stress individual rights
Normally associated with the Democratic Party.
Support political and social reform
Extensive government intervention in the economy
Expansion of federal social services
More vigorous efforts on behalf of the poor, minorities, and women
Greater concern for consumers and the environment
Favors individual values
Believes in human need
Normally associated with Republican Party.
Support the social and economic status quo
Suspicious of efforts to introduce new political formulas and economic arrangements
Believe that a large and powerful government poses a threat to citizens' freedoms
A comprehensive way of understanding political or cultural situations. It is a set of assumptions about the way the world and society works that help us organize our beliefs, information, and new situations.
Most Americans describe themselves as either liberals or conservatives.
The ways that individuals categorize themselves and others, and how they understand the power relationships of domination and opporession that exist between groups
A process through which individuals assimilate community preferences and norms through social interactions
• Social groups
• Political conditions
The power to bring attention to particular issues and problems
The process of preparing the public to take a particular view of an event or a political actor
The power of the media to influence how events and issues are interpreted
Calculus of Voting
Costs = time, effort, money
Benefits = varies
Compare the costs to the benefits
Calculus of Voting - Riker and Ordeshook 1968
V = pB − C + D
Factors that affect how a person participates
Non-traditional forms of participations
Exchange of information, fund-raising, and voter mobilization
Traditional Forms of
In system (Internal): Voting, volunteering for a campaign, donating money, attending campaign events, displaying campaign signs, writing letters or calling representatives
Out of system (External: protesting/social movements, riots
*Perhaps three? (Voter ID laws)
Voter ID Register Vote
Relationship between a principal and his agent= Relationship may be affected by the fact that each is motivated by self-interest, yet their interests may not be well aligned
Referendum- 24 states A vote on a single specific issue put to the public by the government of the day. A form of direct democracy.
Initiative - 24 states Initiative A vote on a single specific issue put to the public, but set by citizens if they gain enough signatures to trigger the ballot
Recall - 18 states A special election called by voters to remove an elected official before his/her term expires.
Formalized by Maurice Duverger:
Plurality-rule electoral systems will tend to have two political parties.
What Functions Do Parties Perform?"
National, state and local levels
Finding candidates is not easy, as running for office and holding office is difficult
Finding good candidates who can raise the necessary money and who can appeal to the public is even harder
There are generally two ways to do this
Tend to choose insiders
Allow more outsiders
Closed Primary: an election in which only those voters who registered with the party a specified period before election day can participate
Open primary: an election in which voters can choose on Election Day itself which party's primary to vote in
Close primaries are preferable from the standpoint of party organizers
Party in the Electorate
Party in Government
Party as Organization
An organized group of individuals or organization that makes policy-related appeals to government
Electoral system in which victory goes to the individual who gets the most votes in an election, but not necessarily a majority of the votes cast.
Gathering of resources and the coordination of effort and activity by a large group of people to achieve common goals (government is necessary to prevent free riding)
Most people in a big group don't make a big difference in the final outcome (doesn't hurt outcome or their interests but is dangerous if all free ride)
Types of Selective Benefits
Benefits that do not go to everyone but are distributed selectively (only to those who contribute to the group enterprise)= Done by charging members
Policymaking is dominating by congressional committees, interest groups, and bureaucratic agencies
is the act of attempting to influence decisions made by officials in a government, most often legislators or members of regulatory agencies.
Protect ability of businesses to remain profitable
Equality opportunity, voting rights, civil liberties and race and gender discrimination
State and local organization
Organization based on belief systems
ACLU, people for the American Way
Consumers, environmentalists, and political reformers
Ex: abortion, gun control, drunk driving
Organizations that represent particular denomination or coalition of denomination
Messages are "injected" into the public
Minimal Effects Model
"Minimal effects" view
o audiences are not passive receptacles
Civil rights movement
o war in Iraq
o 2008 presidential election
There inherent tension between a free press and responsible press
rules and procedures that show rules and behavior
congress is the first branch
• independent and powerful
• article I of the constitution: the longest article
The idea that individuals seek out information sources that are likely to comport with their previously held beliefs. Further, people avoid information sources with which they are likely to disagree.
Broadcast material that is intended both to entertain and to inform.
Freedom of Press ->Prior Restaint
an effort by government agency to block the publication of material it deems libelous or harmful in some other way
News media regulations
In the united states, the government neither owns nor controls broadcast networks
Government regulates content and ownership of broadcast media
o Print media are free from government interference
This tendency can be traced to First Amendment protections for the press.
Structure of Legislative Branch
Gives more power to the government
•Expressed Powers of Government
•Necessary and Proper Clause → also referred to as the "elastic clause"
•Passes federal laws
•Controls federal appropriations
•Approves treaties and presidential appointments
•Regulates interstate commerce
•Established interstate commerce
Have a number of permanent political organizations, and so do powerful interest groups
•Congressional campaign committees
•State and local organizations
oEach member of congress has a large staff
oCongress has also created staff agencies like CRS, GAO, and CBO to provide nonpartisan policy advice to members
•Agency Representation: legislators are held accountable by their constituents if they fail to represent them properly
•Delegate: legislators vote according to the preferences of their constituencies
•Trustee: legislators vote based on what they think is best for their constituencies
Because members of congress are agents, electoral considerations are very important
To win, candidates need
oName recognition/ strong political base
Incumbency (holding a political office for which one is running) is a huge advantage in congressional elections
•Some of the advantages include
How the different structures of the House and Senate lead to different actions of their members
House: 25 years olde, 7 years of citizenship, Legal resident of the state you represent (431 members)
Impeachment - Process by which elected officials are removed from office
Decide presidential election if elections are close and no one has majority votes
bills that start taxes begin here
2 year term
Senate: 9 years of citizenship, 30 years old Legal resident of the state you represent (100 members)
6 year terms
older and wiser
How a Bill becomes a Law
oTo become a law, a bill must be passed in exactly the same form in both chambers
oSometimes, a conference committee is appointed with members from each chamber to work out differences
The relationship between a principal and his or her agent; this relationship may be affected by the fact that each is motivated by self-interest, yet their interests may not be well aligned
Relationship between strength of parties and strength of Congress
Parties have a profound influence on the organization and day-to-day operations of Congress
•Majority needed to choose the speaker of the House
War Powers Resolution 1973
A law passed in 1973 in reaction to American fighting in Vietnam and Cambodia that requires presidents to consult with Congress whenever possible prior to using military force and to withdraw forces after 60 days unless Congress declares war or grants an extension. Presidents view the resolution as unconstitutional.
Budget and Impoundment Control Act 1974
Act designed to reform the budgeting process by making Congress less dependent on the president's budget; established a fixed budget calendar and a budget committee in each house.
Other congressional powers beyond legislation
oPower to tax and spend
oPower to raise an army/navy and declare war
oPower to regulate commerce
oPower to coin money (regulate the currency)
oPower to make all laws "necessary and proper" (elastic clause)
Reasons the institutional power of the President has consistently increased
can broaden power through successful execution of the law
can be enhanced by strategic interactions with other political actors, and building popular support
What the president is told what he can specifically can or can't do
Military: commander and chief
Judicial: may grant pardons and amnesty
delegating every power to the president
Congress creates agencies by law
Ex: The president is sometimes given authority directly and sometimes indirectly through the power to appoint agency officials.
like implied powers but these powers claim by the president that are no expressed but inferred from other power
ex: war powers
Constitutional powers of the Presidency
Formal Resources of Presidential Power
Relationship and balance of power between the Executive and Legislative branches
checks and balancees
Purposes and functions of the bureaucracy
a complex structure of offices, tasks, rules and principles of organization that are employed by all large scale institutions to coordinate the work of their personnel
implement laws that congress writes
make and enforce their own rules
settle disputes through administrative adjudication
part of executive branch but can over power the other two branches
People in bureaucracies implement the policies that elected officials in Congress and the White House decide upon.
* i.e. protect borders, regulate markets, dispense Social Security payments and operate national parks.
-At the lower levels of government, → bureaucrats teach, enforce the law, and distribute driver's licenses.
- Bureaucrats build coalitions to bring about policy change.
- Bureaucrats are the government officials who are most directly in contact with public; they can sometimes encourage people to communicate with Congress.
Bureaucracy in Democracy
The executive branch implements policies
Bureaucracy is frequently used as a pejorative term:
Purposes: efficiency, speed and equity
Division of labor
when government agencies depart from executing policy consistent with the ideological preferences of Congress or the president so as to execute policy consistent with their own ideological preferences.
when an ideological shift in elected branches creates disparity between the way an agency executes policy and the way new members of Congress or new president believes the agency ought to execute policy.
→ principals change; agents stay the same.
What Do Bureaucrats Do
a large administrative organization that handles the day-to-day business of a government
Executive Branch organization
Cabinet departments (such as DHS)
Independent agencies (such as NASA)
Government corporations (such as Amtrak)
Independent regulatory commissions (such as the FEC, FCC)
4 types of organizations in the bureaucracy
Presidential Control of Bureaucracy
oAppointment of sympathetic agency heads
oRegulatory review prior to final rule enactment
oChanges in budget authority
oBureaucratic reorganization plans
Congressional Control of Bureaucracy
Before- the -fact control
oAuthorization of agency
oLegislative language restricting discretion
After the fact controls
Oversight- hearings and investigations
4 missions/functions of agencies in the bureaucracy
Implements the laws and policies made by elected officials
provides necessary administrative functions, like conducting examinations, issuing permits and licenses, and collecting fees
3 ways to reduce bureaucracy
Termination: eliminate programs and agencies
o Is this feasible?
Devolution: the policy of removing a program from one level of government and passing it down to a lower level
Some public responsibilities (like trash collection) can be privatized more easily than others
Nevertheless, privatization is an increasingly popular policy innovation
Marbury v Madison (1803
William Marbury has been granted a judicial commission but the commission had not been delivered in time
Marbury sued and the court ruled that the portion of the Judiciary act of 1789 that gave the court power to compel Madison to deliver the commission was invalid
The court thus asserted that it had the power to rule this as unconstitutional
Judicial activism vs restraint
the power of the courts to declare actions of the legislative and executive branches invalid or unconstitutional
used sparingly early, yet more frequently over time
o Judicial review had been used to:
• Reverse state actions
• Overturn federal agency actions
• Challenge presidential action
• Overturn federal law
Supreme Court (structure, appointments, procedure)
The constitution defines judicial power as extending to "cases and controversies"
o No advisory opinions
o Standing: the right of an individual or organization to initiate a case
o Mootness: a case that no longer requires resolution
Standing and Mootness
Standing: the right of an individual or organization to initiate a case
Mootness: a case that no longer requires resolution
3 types of law
Criminal:theres actually a law for you to break
Civil: contracts, property and personal injuries
Public: a civil and criminal case can be come a public law when either the defendant or plaintiff can show that the powers of government or the rights of citizens under the constitution or the federal law is involved in the case ex: criminal case where the defendent said that the police did something wrong
3 roles of courts
dispute resolution, coordination, rule interpretation
Writ of certiorari
A formal request by an appellant to have the supreme court review a decision of a lower court
is granted when:
oThere are conflicting decisions by two or more lower courts
oThere are conflicts between a lower court decision and previous Supreme Court decision
"let the decision stand"
A judicial doctrine that a previous decision by a court should apply as a precedent in similar cases until that decision is overruled
Structural changes that have increased judicial power/decreased limitations
Settling disputes and interpreting the law
Distinctive feature of the federal judiciary
Because judges have preferences about what government should do, court are fundamentally political institutions.
Activities designed to influence government and what happens in the political world
Significance: American politics is all about: access, voice, legitimacy of government, representative democracy, and POWER
5 Principles of Politics
• All political behavior has a purpose (rationality)
• Institutions structure politics (institution)
• All politics is collective action (collective action)
• Political outcomes are the products of individual preferences, institutional procedures, and collective action (policy)
• How we got here matters (history)
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