Transcript Document

To Accompany Comprehensive, Alternate, and Texas Editions

American Government: Roots and Reform

, 10th edition Karen O’Connor and Larry J. Sabato  Pearson Education, 2009 Chapter 1

The Political Landscape

Roots of American Government

 Governments are policymaking vehicles.

 A citizen is a member of the community.

 Politics are who gets what, when, and how.

Functions of Government

 Ideas drawn from Preamble to the Constitution.

 Establishing justice.

 Ensuring domestic tranquility.

 Providing for the common defense.

 Promoting the general welfare.

 Securing the blessings of



Types of Government

 Monarchy vests power in one in the interest of all.

 Totalitarianism vests power in one in self-interest.

 Oligarchy vests power in few in their own interest.

 Democracy is power for the people.

Philosophical Origins

 Enlightenment changes views on government.

 Mayflower Compact as example of a social contract.

 Hobbes and Locke’s social contract theory.

 Hobbes wants a single ruler to protect the weak.

 Locke believes the protection of property is key.

Government in the Colonies

 Colonists fear British-style monarchy.

 New England uses direct democracy.

 Most later colonies use indirect democracy.

 Citizens prefer the term republic to democracy.

American Political Culture

 Personal liberty, or freedom from government.

 Political equality.

 Popular consent and majority rule.

 Popular sovereignty, which is based in natural law.

 Civil society, or the society created by the people.

 Individualism.

 Religious faith.

Political Ideology

 Ideologies are beliefs that shape worldviews.

 Libertarians favor free markets and personal liberty.

 Conservatives want little regulation of economy.

 Social conservatives favor regulation of morality.  Liberals want an active government.

Labels can be problematic


Changing American People

Population is increasing in size .

Racial and ethnic composition is shifting


Country is aging

.  Families are becoming smaller and less traditional.

Attitudes Toward Government

Demographics shape our perspective .

 American dream is a goal for many citizens.

 People have high expectations.

 Voters can be apathetic.

Americans may lack faith in leaders


 The standard of living is quite high.

AV- Faith in Institutions


Figure 1.1- Allocation of the Budget


Figure 1.2- Adult Self-Identification


Figure 1.3- 2008 Presidential Election


Figure 1.4- U.S. Population Growth


Figure 1.5- Race and Ethnicity


Figure 1.6- America Is Getting Older


Table 1.1- Symbols of the United States


Table 1.2- Types of Government


Table 1.3- Cost of Health Care