Dafina Amin 2-4-13 Politics Exam #1 Study Guide

1. Politics: The process of who gets what, when and how, described by Harold Lasswell. Whenever you have conflicting POVS, politics attempts to reconcile. Politics is everywhere and can be applied to any situation. Lasswell also wrote “The study of politics is the study of influence and the influential.” 2. Power: simply the ability to influence another’s behavior. Power is getting people to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. Power may involve force (often coercion), persuasion, or rewards. 3. Representative Democracy: 4. “Natural Rights:” Rights you’re born with which include equality, freedom, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 5. Social Contract: Contract between government and citizens. Government is their to protect our rights and if we feel they are not doing so, we have the right to alter or abolish it. 6. Tom Paine: Wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense a few months before declaration admiring how Americans had the ability to start a whole new society, and civilization for themselves. 7. Declaration of Independence 8. Power Theories 9. Iron Law of Oligarchy: Political theory developed by Gernman syndicalist sociologist Robert Michels in 1911 in his book Political Parties. It claims that rule by an elite, or oligarchy, is inevitable as an iron law within any organization as part of the “tactical and technical necessities” or organization. 10. De Tocqueville: French aristocrat who worried about the quiet despotism of America’s politics. 11. Thomas Jefferson: Main contributor to the Declaration of Independence. 12. Direct Democracy: The pure majority rule. 13. Inalienable Rights: Rights that the government cannot infringe upon 14. Government: Political association that does 1) makes rules determining who will get society’s values (wealth, respect, safety, resources) and 2) it alone regulates the use of legitimate force in society. 15. Majority Rule vs Minority Rights 16. Pluralism/Plural Elitism 17. Consensus: Basic agreement on the general political ideals and goals of society. Agreement on rules and results is the “cement that holds society together.” Specific examples include agreeing on the importance of civil liberties and the goal of equality of opportunity. 18. C. Wright Mills: a sociologist who wrote the Power Elite, the best known study of elite control in the United States, and who maintained that American

in order to survive. Harold Lasswell: Political scientist who supplied famous definitions of politics. to impose rules and law and order to maintain harmony. a. The state of nature of man was beastly and animalistic. He believed because man was so bad by nature. And for the security and order given to us. Only the strong survived. Compare and contrast the theoretical perception of Hobbes and Locke regarding the “state of nature” and why people form government. Government is there to tell us right from wrong. to see who made the key decisions. Explain the significance of “social contract theory” in understanding American Government. Rebelling meaning to revolution and hold re-elections. The state of nature refers to the state man was in when first placed into the world. Robert Dahl: Wrote “Who Governs?” which is a classic study supporting the pluralist model. such as urban development and public education. the military. As we understand it. He believed that man came to this world as a blank slate. and they would do anything at the expense of someone else. greedy. He examines several important issues. No one is born with rights. we didn’t deserve rights. Essays: 1. the world was chaotic because man was basically born evil. If at any time the people feel the government is not representing best interests. Without order. Locke believed that government was created in order to secure security. we in turn give up our freedom. He believed that when man first appeared in the world. the social contract is basically a contract between the government and the people implied in the Constitution. . 19. a strong leader that unafraid to use cold-blooded tactics. He concluded that the people influential in education policy were not the same as those involved in urban development or political nominations. Locke had a much more optimistic point of view. and politics. man was at risk of destroying himself. Locke didn’t believe in inalienable rights. 20. He felt the remedy to the chaos created by man was a single sovereign. we the people have the right to rebel. Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were both British philosophers with very different views regarding the state of nature. Hobbes had a very pessimistic point of view regarding man’s state of nature. ex. Obeying laws. We expect certain things from our government just like our government expects certain things from the people.politics was dominated by a unified group of leaders from corporations. equal. selfish. He concluded there were a number of different economic and social groups wielding political power in New Haven. a king. We arrive free.

But it seemed Jefferson’s intention was to fight for a natural state. and this was probably due to black slaves being referred to as property and he did not want any discrepancies to who were . Man chooses to live with others in order to gain security and to pursue happiness he couldn’t attain alone. aka god given rights.” This statement could be difficult for many to understand. regardless of who we are. the government is there to protect those rights. If they fail. He advocated the separation of church and state. we are forced by outside forces. Thomas Jefferson. Inalienable rights. we are given inalienable rights.” All he changed was property to happiness. we the people must abolish it. Government has no right to tell us what to believe. that among these are Life. explain the seven main philosophical principles of the document. and the pursuit of Happiness. we have certain rights and are born free to do whatever we desire. Liberty. Jefferson in turn was an optimist and believed man to be naturally good. liberty.cooperative. or king. life. He also believed that instead of a single sovereign such as a king. To what extent has America extent has America fulfilled these aspirations? Explain and offer examples. Although Hobbes and Locke have very contrasting views. So in summary. And in order to insure them. We are not born evil. He believed that when we all are born into this world. was thrown into the role as the main writer. He believed that even the average laborer could be just as wise as a prince. a. The ideas for the Declaration of Independence were inspired by John Locke and Thomas Paine. Locke believed we came into the world. Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called Common Sense a few months before the Declaration of Independence was written. amount them Locke says. and property (meaning our soul and mind). And man formed government for their human cooperative needs and desires. it was hard for Jefferson not to like and agree with his views. and independent. they agree that the main motive for man to establish government is to maintain security and order in society. who had little to say during collaboration meetings over the Declaration of Independence. Individual rights were emphasized in tis document. Rather. Paine’s envy and somewhat support to America separating. What is the relationship of the social contract with Jefferson’s contentions in the Declaration of Independence? As offered in lecture. This is different from laws the government enforces and we have to abide by. we learn to become evil. basically for economic reasons. Paine was basically saying how the Americans had in their power to start a whole new society and civilization for themselves. that all men are created equal. Jefferson even directly quotes Locke by writing we have “certain unalienable Rights. This is why he even begins by writing “we hold these truths to be self-evident. Because Jefferson was a John Locke supporter. 2. a utopia. the people could be trusted to govern themselves under the right conditions. as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another human being.

If the government infringes upon their rights or the people are not happy with them. which include equality. and the pursuit of happiness. In lecture it was established that the Declaration of Independence had seven main philosophical principles. And because the Americans felt their rights were being infringed upon. He also figured no one would be against pursuing happiness. what kind of government do we have in the United States? Explain in detail the five principles of this model as discussed in lecture. right to revolution against oppressive governments to “preserve” liberty. however there have been slip ups when the majority has their support. and the right to free local government for the 13 colonies. and equality. it is our right to alter or abolish it and institute new government. liberty. America has fulfilled this aspiration. They were fighting to establish freedom. The government is only their as a service to serve our needs and to ensure to maintain our inalienable rights. they have the right to change it. government by consent of governed. The government expects certain things from the people and the people expect certain things from the government. It places great faith in the people that they can make decisions for what’s best for us. This is the social contract. alienable vs. For the most part. People would have A couple of positive aspects to pure democracy is . popular sovereignty of the people. they have the right to change it. 3. Natural rights mean that we are born with certain rights.permitted to these natural rights. If the government threatens to take our rights away. The social contract basically means that the government is their only to secure our rights and they have a contract to the people to uphold this. Government by consent of government basically means that the people give up our right to govern to elect a representative to handle the job for us. They were the following: natural rights. social contract. And if the people do not feel the government is doing what is best for them. to do what’s right. Jefferson is arguing that the social contract between the people and government had been broken and that revolution was necessary in order to preserve their liberty. liberty. What are 2-3 positives and 2-3 negative aspects of pure or “direct” democracy as discussed in class? Explain de Tocqueville’s main critique and concern about democracy according to lecture. because they believed it was their right to do so. they were preparing to rebel to establish a new government. a. Jefferson then lists many different offenses they believed the King had committed. At our present time. life. freedom. Direct democracy is the idea that the pure majority rules with little consideration for minorities. we Americans seem to have natural rights. The government has not directly infringed upon the rights of others. Do you agree or disagree with de Tocqueville’s assessment? Why/why not? Lastly. inalienable rights.

regular and frequent elections. The following are the five characteristics of representative/republican democracy: popular sovereignty.S. Even now. It allows for quick change because voting for issues would be directly resolved by the people. Democracy has the potential to destroy itself from within. If we feel they do not accomplish what we wanted them to .that it allows for quick change and no representatives are needed. the problem with pure democracy is that. The people are engaged in widespread participation through open debate for example. Regular and frequent elections are important because we hold representatives accountable for their actions. The founding fathers opposed direct democracy. Conformity is a dangerous thing. This allows for the government to be a step removed. With the media and the influence of powerful people. They were the ones to establish that knowledgeable elitists would hold representative positions. This allowed for people to exercise their power to elect representatives to make the best decisions for us. However. and political liberty. homosexuals are being denied several rights straight people have due to their sexual orientation. At one point in time. Pure/direct democracy risks the uninformed/uneducated citizen making the decisions for what we vote for. but they had to somewhat make it about the people. I agree with this assessment because even when we hold elections and we vote for new representatives. black people were forced into slavery for many years. we are “convinced” to pick what we wouldn’t necessarily agree with. It can be extremely unstable and unfair. We are fed all sorts of propaganda to brainwash us into thinking what we think are our own opinions. propositions. people would have to take the time to become knowledgeable in the issues. Nazis sought out to kill every Jew. and the government in return will be responsive to the people. There will be no middlemen representatives. Elections serves as a filtering system where we decide who will represent us based on their character and what they think is best for us. model of government to be representative democracy. and laws we have limited choices. This is why the founding fathers did not want too much democracy because they didn’t trust the peoples. So instead they designed the U. people cannot think for themselves. the majority does not always know what is right. women were not treated equal to men. political choice. He was worried that the majority is what often forces you to do what you want to do. It works like mind control. de Tocqueville’s main critique about democracy was quiet despotism. Popular sovereignty is the ideal that the government will be responsive to the people. The ultimate power resides in we the people. as demonstrated throughout history. the tendency for the masses to conform. The pressure of conformity stifles democracy and individual creativity. just we the people rule. As a result. pluralism.

bear arms). No group necessarily dominates the other but they are constantly competing with one another. . it allows for a turnover of power. such as 3 or 4 political parties. Also. New people and new ideas need to . we have the ability to take them out of power. there must be a balancing of the groups in order for them to have an equal chance for policy making. They must have choices. rather than feeling like they’re picking the lesser of two evils. When people are voting in a representative democracy.accomplish. a representative government must have political liberty. meaning that ideally we would all have individual rights that would be absolute (freedom of speech. That is why a separation of powers was developed. no gets too settled. they need to have a political choice. They must feel like they’re really voting for a case. And lastly. Representative democracy creates a nation of groups. And because there are groups.

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