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institutions and processes through which public policies are made for society. typically maintains a national defense, procides goods and services, collects taxes, and preserves order. Also socializes the young

Two basic questions of government

How should we govern? What should government do?


The process by which we select our government leaders and what policies they produce. Politics produces authoritative decisions about public issues.

Policy making system

The process by which policy comes into being and evolves over time

People have

interests, problems, concerns

linkage institutions

channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. These include political parties, elections, news and entertainment media.

policy agenda

Issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and arise when peole disagree about problems and how to fix them. Policy agendas change regularily

Policy making institutions

ranches of government charged with taking action on political issues (Legislative, executive, courts, bureaucracies

public policy

Every decision that government makes, a law it passes, a budget it extablishes, and even a decision not to act on an issues

Impact of politcies

Policy impacts carry the political system back to its point of origin - the concerns of the people


system of electing poicymakers and of organizing government so that policy represents and resonds to the public preferences

Components of Traditional Democratic Theory

Equality in voting, effective participation, enlightened understanding, citizen control

Challenges to Democracy

Increased Technical expertise, limited participation in government, escalating campaign costs, diverse political itnerests (policy gridlock)

Political Culture

An overall set of values widely shared within a society

American culture comprised of

Liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, laissez faire, populism


a nation's basic laws. creates political institutions, assigns or divides powers in government and often provides certain guarantees to citizens

Natural Rights

rights inherent in human beings not dependent on government

consent of the governed

government derives its authority by santion of the people

limited government

certain restrictions placd on government to protect natural rights of citizens

Philosophies of Government

Human nature, political conflict, objective of government, natture of government

human nature


political conflicts

lead to factions. Factions must be checked

objective of government

preservation of property

nature of government

power against power so that no one faction rises above and overwhelms another

Individual Rights Issues

Some written into Constitution.

The Madisonian Model

Prevent a tyranny of the majority, Madison proposed a government of limited majority, separating powers, checksa and balancies, and establish a federal system

Constitutional Change

Judicial interpretation, changing political parties, technology, increasing demands on policymakers

importance of flexibility

constitution is short and doesn't prescribe every detail, the constitution is not static but flexible for future generations to determine their own needs

Constitution and democracy

gradual democratization of constitution with additiona of amendments so more people can vote (14th, 15th, 17th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, 26th)

Scope of government

constitution reinforces individualism and provides multiple access points for citizens and encourages stalemate and limits government


a way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of governmetn have formal authority over the land and people

unitary government

a way of organizang a nation so that all power resides in the central government


the UN is a modern example

intergovernmental relation

working of federal sysem. The entire set of interactions among national state and local governments

Federalism decentalizes politics

More opportunities to participate

Federalism decentralizes policies

Federal and state government handle different problems.

division of power

supremacy clause, article VII of the constitution states th following are supreme: The U.S. constitution, Laws of Contress, Treaties

elastic clause

congress can do anything necessary and proper to carry out

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