Chapter 4: American Political Culture
Key Terms and points in Chapter 4
Terms in this set (25)
a distinctive and patterned way of thinking about political and economic life that reflects fundamental assumptions about how government should operate
Core American Values
There are at least five important elements in the American view of the political system: liberty, equality, democracy, civic duty, and individual responsibility.
Americans are preoccupied with their rights. They believe they should be free to do as they please, with some exceptions as they don't hurt other people.
Americans believe everybody should have an equal vote and an equal chance to participate and succeed.
Americans think government officials should be accountable to the people.
Americans generally feel people ought to take community affairs seriously and help out when they can.
A characteristically American view is that, barring some disability, individuals are responsible for their own actions and well-being.
A more or less consistent set of views as to the policies the government ought to pursue.
different groups (or subcultures) clash with opposing beliefs and values
Consensual Political Culture
One that experiences less conflict. . No matter what, each culture will have beliefs and values that overlap, conflict, and clash. American political culture is general consensual because we have a broad base of shared values.
an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, esp. as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth.
economic system in which individuals and businesses are allowed to compete for profit with a minimum of government interference
The belief that all individuals, or nearly all individuals, can succeed on their own and that government help for people should be minimal.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Came from France to America in 1831. He observed democracy in government and society. His book (written in two parts in 1835 and 1840) discusses the advantages of democracy and consequences of the majority's unlimited power. First to raise topics of American practicality over theory, the industrial aristocracy, and the conflict between the masses and individuals.
Rule of Law
principle that the law applies to everyone, even those who govern
Second Bill of Rights
FDR's ideas on what every person is entitled and what the government should strive for; includes a job, education, home, ability to buy food, etc.
Democracy depends on citizens being reasonably tolerant of the opinions and actions of others.
The belief that one's political participation really matters - that one's vote can actually make a difference
a commitment to the value of work and purposeful activity
A belief that you are a member of an economic group whose interests are opposed to people in other such groups
a person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties
adhering to what is commonly accepted
the ability to understand and take part in politics
the willingness of the state to respond to the citizenry
Fundamental assumptions about how the political process should operate that distinguish citizens by region, religion, or other characteristics.