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Chapter 1
The Political Landscape
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To Accompany Comprehensive, Alternate, and Texas Editions
American Government: Roots and Reform, 10th edition
Karen O’Connor and Larry J. Sabato
 Pearson Education, 2009
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 liberty.
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
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Figure 1.1- Allocation of the Budget
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Figure 1.2- Adult Self-Identification
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Figure 1.3- 2008 Presidential Election
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Figure 1.4- U.S. Population Growth
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Figure 1.5- Race and Ethnicity
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Figure 1.6- America Is Getting Older
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Table 1.1- Symbols of the United States
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Table 1.2- Types of Government
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Table 1.3- Cost of Health Care
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