- American Government and Politics
- American System of Democracy
- Civil Rights and Liberties
- People and Politics
- Political Institutions
- Public Policy
- Concept Maps
- Digital Stories
Welcome to American Government 2011-2012
This class is not a civics course, nor is it an “introduction to” course. Nor is this a traditional survey course, the intended audience is college students. It is important to realize that the lectures and discussions will not summarize the readings nor describe the nuts and bolts of governmental bodies.
Instead, it offers an opportunity to explore in depth and systematically some rather sophisticated arguments, interpretations and controversies about the institutions (Congress, the Presidency, and the Judiciary) and the processes (Elections, Media, Public Opinion, etc.) of American government. Politics and the American political system are badly misunderstood by most citizens, and I will offer interpretations and analyses that may clarify some important events and practices.
I will present lectures and lead discussions that deal with specific aspects of American government and politics. We will critically interpret and evaluate significant parts of the political system. In the process I will try to debunk numerous deeply held but misleading beliefs people have about how politics work in this country. My mission is to challenge your basic beliefs, arouse your intellectual curiosity, and encourage you to think for yourselves. It is my hope that this hands-on experience of "doing" will both enliven your interest in political analysis and help you develop practical skills that you can use in other contexts as well.
Dr. Michael Thompson
American System of Democracy
“The American system of democracy is founded on the concept that every citizen has the right to vote, to know that their vote is counted, and that the vote is counted accurately.”
Democracy is hard, perhaps the most complex and difficult of all forms of government. It is filled with tensions and contradictions, and requires that its members labor diligently to make it work. Democracy is not designed for efficiency, but for accountability; a democratic government may not be able to act as quickly as a dictatorship, but once committed to a course of action it can draw upon popular support. The outer forms of government in the United States have altered little in two centuries, but once we look past the surface we discover great changes. Yet, most Americans believe that the basic principles underlying their government derive directly from notions first enunciated by the framers of the Constitution in 1787.
Democracy in America is one that at times has been very flawed and caused turmoil within the people of America, but on the other hand it has caused us to become a very civilized nation. Democracy is about the people’s voice being heard when the politicians make decisions. This nation is for the people like Abraham Lincoln said in his Gettysburg address and as long as America runs on a democratic system, I believe that it will stay that way. This nation does not always adapt to change very well, and although Barrack Obama was very keen on change, this nation did not receive it well. It may have been in the presentation or the way the change was brought upon the people but change was not accepted which led to “chaos” in politics. When the two sides of our political system disagree and constantly ram heads, we can never truly get anything done. This nation needs both sides to come together and work as one for the greater good of the people.
"…that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not vanish from this earth."
Civil Rights and Liberties
Civil rights are defined to be “rights to personal liberty established by the 13th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. constitution and certain Congressional acts, especially as applied to an individual or a minority group.” by Dictionary.com. Civil rights are the protection of minorities and the individual from threats to their pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Civil rights is an enormous topic with a huge field of study that probably could not be covered in many books. So I want to examine Franklin D. Roosevelt’s contribution to the civil rights movement.
Let’s start in June of 1941 when executive order 8802 was ordered by FDR. Executive order 8802 was one of the most important federal actions in civil rights from the years after the Civil War to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This order established that the “federal government would not hire any person based on their race, color, creed, or national origin.” This was huge for women and minority groups. They could now have jobs in the Federal government which added to the setup for the Civil Rights Act many years later. Then in 1942, Franklin Roosevelt was faced with a dilemma after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor. He supposedly had access to information from crypted Japanese communications that Japanese in the Philippians and California had assisted or at least supported the Japanese. FDR was eventually persuaded to immediately force a mass evacuation of approximately 120,000 Japanese and American citizens living on the West coast. FDR eventually released these people and allowed them to serve saying "No loyal citizen of the United States should be denied the democratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, regardless of his ancestry. The principle on which this country was founded and by which it has always been governed is that Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart; Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry."
Another one of FDR’s effects on Civil Rights was made prominent leading up to and during Hitler’s Holocaust. During this period, FDR’s cabinet was 13% Jewish when the national population of Jews was only 3%. He was critized widely for this. But when his advisors and Jewish groups in America pushed for the allowance of Jewish refugees into America, FDR refused wanting them to be relocated to Venezuela, Ethiopia, or West Africa. He stood by the strict immigration law that was already in place. FDR even refused asylum to ships with Jewish passengers. Returning to Germany, most later died in Hitler’s concentration camps. After hearing of the persecution and sheer terror the Jews were facing, FDR later allowed for War Refugee Board to be created which helped many Jews escape Hitler’s grasp, but by then millions had already been butchered. So in the end, Civil rights movements have accomplished many good things to liberate people from unfair hardships, but with every good thing there also comes a negative.
Michael Thompsons lecture
Civil Rights and Liberties
Protection of civil liberties and civil rights is perhaps the most fundamental political value in American society. And yet, as former Justice Frankfurter explained in the quote above, the people who test liberties and rights in our courts are not always ideal citizens.
Each of these people made sensational headline news as the center of one of many national civil liberties disputes in the late 20th century. They became involved in the legal process because of behavior that violated a law, and almost certainly, none of them intended to become famous. More important than the headlines they made, however, is the role they played in establishing important principles that define the many civil liberties and civil rights that Americans enjoy today.
What is the difference between a liberty and a right? Both words appear in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The distinction between the two has always been blurred, and today the concepts are often used interchangeably. However, they do refer to different kinds of guaranteed protections.
Civil liberties are protections against government actions. For example, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights guarantees citizens the right to practice whatever religion they please. Government, then, cannot interfere in an individual's freedom of worship. Amendment I gives the individual "liberty" from the actions of the government.
Civil rights, in contrast, refer to positive actions of government should take to create equal conditions for all Americans. The term "civil rights" is often associated with the protection of minority groups, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and women. The government counterbalances the "majority rule" tendency in a democracy that often finds minorities outvoted.
Most Americans think of civil rights and liberties as principles that protect freedoms all the time. However, the truth is that rights listed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are usually competing rights. Most civil liberties and rights court cases involve the plaintiff's right vs. another right that the defendant claims has been violated.
The overwhelming majority of court decisions that define American civil liberties are based on the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments added to the Constitution in 1791. Civil liberties protected in the Bill of Rights may be divided into two broad areas: freedoms and rights guaranteed in the First Amendment (religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition) and liberties and rights associated with crime and due process. Civil rights are also protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects violation of rights and liberties by the state governments.
Protection of civil liberties and civil rights is basic to American political values, but the process is far from easy. Protecting one person's right may involve violating those of another. How far should the government go to take "positive action" to protect minorities? The answers often come from individuals who brush most closely with the law, whose cases help to continually redefine American civil liberties and rights.
Civil Rights - The Movement
There are several events that took place in the Civil Rights Movement between 1955 and 1968, but these three are the ones that really drew the attention of the nation. Attention that pointed out the true nature of racism in the south.
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She was arrested for violating a city ordinance which required blacks to give up their seats to white riders. The arrest of Ms Parks would cause such an outrage in Montgomery’s black community and lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This was the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement as we know it.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Montgomery Improvement Association, believed that the boycott would force Montgomery to change its policies concerning equal access to municipal services. Dr. King preached a course of non-violence, believing that dignified behavior and economic pressure would help in a change in the cities policies. The boycott would last until December 1956 and Montgomery would change its policies.
The Little Rock Nine
After the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Brown v Board of Education in Topeka, which declared that all public schools in America be integrated, Arkansas was among the first states to implement this decision. However this was only done in its colleges, they refused to do this in the public schools.
In September of 1957 nine black students would enroll in Little Rock’s Central High. It would take almost a whole month before they would be able to attend their first full day of class. On September 2, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus declared in a televised speech that he would call in the state’s National Guard to block the students entrance into the high school. He claimed that he was afraid there would be an uprising and violence. On September 3, Judge Richard Davies ruled that desegregation would take place on September 4.
Governor Faubus ordered the National Guard to the school and the nine students were prevented from entering. Judge Davies began legal proceedings against the Governor and on September 20 he ordered the National Guard removed from the school and the Little Rock police took over the scene. The nine students would be escorted to school on the 23 of September, but would not stay the whole day. They were removed because a mob of 1000 protestors had shown up.
On September 24, President Eisenhower sent 1200 members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell Kentucky and placed them in charge of the Arkansas National Guard. On September 25, the “Little Rock Nine” would spend their first full day in class. Only one of these nine would graduate in May of 1958. Governor Faubus closed the Little Rock high schools in September 1958 pending a public vote allowing black students to be integrated into the Little Rock schools. The vote was 19,470 to 7,561 against integration and the schools would stay closed until September 1959.
Selma to Montgomery March
In the 1960’s the federal courts ruled that voting polls be open to African Americans. But the majority of black Alabamians still were not allowed to register due to obstacles put in place by the local voter registrars. Selma is located in the middle of what is considered the “Black Belt” part of Alabama, and was the focal point for black registration drives in the early 1960’s. African American Civil Rights leaders decided to use Selma as the launching point for a march on Montgomery.
The Selma to Montgomery march was to take place on March 7, 1965. Governor George Wallace ordered the local and state police to block the Edmund Pittus Bridge that crossed the Alabama River coming out of Selma. The sight of the peaceful demonstrators being beat by the police was broadcast nationwide on the nightly news. News stations labeled it “Bloody Sunday”. The march was rescheduled for March 21, and instead of the few hundred people that were present for the first march, there were now over 3200. Four days later when the group reached Montgomery there would be over 25,000 marching up Dexter Avenue to the state capital.
The events in Selma forced Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and President Lyndon B. Johnson would have no choice but to sign it. The act supplied federal overseers to make sure that African Americans were allowed to register to vote without any problems in the process.
Martin Luther King JR
The Civil Rights movement was by far the most historic movement of the 20th century, spanning from 1950 and 1970 this movement entirely revolved around African Americans in the United States trying to gain social freedom and major rights. Many Civil Right Leaders in this movement dedicated their lives into making sure African Americans in America were able to get equal rights. Many famous names include Martin Luther King Jr., Jessie Jackson, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, and Al Sharpton. The Civil Rights Movement officially ended in 1968, which caused a major change in the United States. Of all the states in America, the south was reviewed as the harshest area in the Civil Rights movement. From social rioting, Bus Boycotting, Segregation in schools, and voting rights; the south was considered the main focus in the Civil Rights Movement. During the early and closing years of the Civil Rights Movement many lives were lost, of all those lives that were lost three names stuck out from all of them; Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and John F. Kennedy. Their deaths in the Civil Rights Movement proved to be very efficient due to the heavy responses heard around the United States. If there had to be anyone who lead all the Civil Right Leaders in the movement and stood out from the rest, Martin Luther King Jr. is the first one to come to mind. He set the standard and became the front runner during this movement. To everyone in the United States he was considered a Hope Symbol during the Civil Rights Movement.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta Georgia to Martin Luther King Sr. and Alberta Williams King; he was the middle child of two other siblings, Alfred Daniel Williams King and Willie Christine King. Graduating from Morehouse College at the age of 19, Martin Luther King was very smart and not only that he was also a great speaker, clergyman, activist. He married Coretta Scott King in 1953 and had three children that consists of Yolanda Denise-King, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott King, and Bernice Albertine King. Martin Luther King has various awards that includes the Nobel Peace Prize (1964), Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977, posthumous), and the Congressional Gold Medal (2004, posthumous). During the Civil Rights Movement Martin Luther King Jr. set many accolades, he provided the open minded with opportunities and hope. He did this by showing America not to judge people by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. He created a life changing speech in 1963 August 28th, at Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. He was a hero for his ''I have a dream '' speech. Also, Martin Luther King, Jr. did many things to bring greater equality to America and to ensure civil rights for all people regardless of race. Two of the major things that Martin Luther King did to progress the civil rights movement were to bring publicity to major civil rights activities and efforts and to emphasize and encourage the importance of non-violent protest and resistance. These two things came to shape the civil rights movement, in large part because of King's contributions. Martin Luther King Jr. has left behind a huge legacy for African Americans around the United States and many books, movies, and historic Sites are honored in his name. Martin Luther King Jr. died on April 4, 1968 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee, he is currently buried in Atlanta Georgia with his wife Coretta Scott King who died on January 30, 2006 in Playas de Rosarito, Mexico.
Civil Rights and Liberties – The Death Penalty
Capital Punishment, or the death penalty, has been a heavily debated issue for many years. Is it an effective deterrent and a way of justly punishing a criminal? Or is it a barbaric act that has no place in an otherwise civilized society? In the United States the death penalty is legal in all but 15 states, with Texas executing the largest number of criminals annually and California having the largest death row population.
Capital punishment has had a long history and been present in the United States since 1608, when George Kendall was the first man to be executed, he was accused of being a spy for Spain. During this time period the crimes that would be punished with the death penalty were very different from those today, steeling grapes, killing chickens and trading with Indians to name a few. In the 1920’s and 30’s capital punishment was seen as a necessary measure in society and was still not being questioned. During the 1950’s and the 1960’s the public first turned against the death penalty and it became a controversial issue.
The main issue with the death penalty is whether or not it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited by the eighth amendment. This is interpreted as a punishment that is more serious than the crime. This lead the Supreme Court to rule that capital punishment is not cruel and unusual if the criminal has killed or attempted to kill someone. As well as capital punishment its self the method of execution is a heavily debated issue. The most widely used method today is lethal injection; however, some argue that this is cruel and unusual punishment, which is prohibited in the eighth amendment. When the lethal injection is not performed correctly it can be very painful, however, the Supreme Court ruled that it is a constitutional method of execution in a Kentucky case in 2007.
The main argument for capital punishment is that it is a deterrent against murder; however, this has been proven to be false. There are many studies that show a murderer will not consider the possibility of the death penalty before committing the crime. In other words, the argument that the death penalty is a deterrent does not work. Another argument on capital punishment is on the cost of life imprisonment against the cost of executing the prisoner. It has been shown that it is significantly more expensive to execute the prisoner than it is to let them spend their life in prison. One of the main groups opposed to the death penalty are religious groups, who believe it is unfair and ineffective. One final argument against the death penalty is if the prisoner has been wrongly convicted. Since 1973 over 120 people have been freed from death row as evidence came up to prove they were innocent. This is significant, as if someone is in prison they can be released, if they have been executed there is nothing that can be done and an innocent person would be killed.
The death penalty has been around in the United States for hundreds of years and is still around today. It will remain a heavily debated issue and controversial form of punishment as long as it is still being used. There are many arguments for and against it and it will continue to be a heavily debated issue.
Bardes, Shelley, Schmidt, American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials 2011-2012
Civil Rights & Liberties
The rights of every citizen to freedom of thought, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom to enjoy privacy and autonomy in the management of one's personal affairs, freedom of private individuals to associate voluntarily and to form organizations for pursuing common purposes, and freedom to participate politically in ways that do not infringe upon the similar rights of others. Although the two terms overlap considerably in ordinary usage (and are often difficult to distinguish in concrete instances), the term civil liberties generally refers more specifically to the protection of the individual's rights to form and express his or her own preferences or convictions and to act freely upon them in the private sphere without undue or intrusive interference by the government, while the term civil rights emphasizes more specifically the individual's rights as a citizen to participate freely and equally in politics and public affairs in order actively to promote his/her preferred public policy alternatives through lobbying policy-makers and/or through personal participation in the electoral process. Thus, civil liberties may be seen as the logical correlates of the goal of limited government, while civil rights are the logical correlates of the goal of popular or democratic government.
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.
Civil rights include the ensuring of peoples' physical and mental integrity, life and safety; protection from discrimination on grounds such as race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, color, ethnicity, religion, or disability; and individual rights such as privacy, the freedoms of thought and conscience, speech and expression, religion, the press, assembly and movement.
Political rights include natural justice (procedural fairness) in law, such as the rights of the accused, including the right to a fair trial; due process; the right to seek redress or a legal remedy; and rights of participation in civil society and politics such as freedom of association, the right to assemble, the right to petition, the right of self-defense, and the right to vote.
Civil and political rights form the original and main part of international human rights. They comprise the first portion of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (with economic, social and cultural rights comprising the second portion). The theory of three generations of human rights considers this group of rights to be "first-generation rights", and the theory of negative and positive rights considers them to be generally negative rights.
The phrase "civil rights" is a translation of Latin ius civis (rights of citizens). Roman citizens could be either free (libertas) or servile (servitus), but they all had rights in law. After the Edict of the Milan in 313, these rights included the freedom of religion. Roman legal doctrine was lost during the Middle Ages, but claims of universal rights could still be made based on religious doctrine. According to the leaders of Kett's Rebellion (1549), "all bond men may be made free, for God made all free with his precious blood-shedding."
In the 17th century, English common law judge Sir Edward Coke revived the idea of rights based on citizenship by arguing that Englishmen had historically enjoyed such rights. The English Bill of Rights was adopted in 1689. The Virginia Declaration of Rights, by George Mason and James Madison, was adopted in 1776. The Virginia declaration is the direct ancestor and model for the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789).
In early 19th century Britain, the phrase "civil rights" most commonly referred to the problem of legal discrimination against Catholics. In the House of Commons support for the British civil rights movement was divided, many more largely known politicians supported the discrimination towards Catholics. Independent MPs (such as Lewis Eves and Matthew Mountford) applied pressure on the larger parties to pass the civil rights act of the 1920s.
In the 1860s, Americans adapted this usage to newly freed blacks. Congress enacted civil rights acts in 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, and 1991.
A Look In To Civil Rights: School Integration
By Breanna Emahizer
Segregation and separation in the school system was once a normal occurrence in the U.S., however, we couldn’t imagine going to school without our friends of another race now. However, there were major conflicts that came out as we as a nation tried to equalize our nation. In the south, many of the children of another race were bullied into not wanting to go to school. Beatings, hazing and threats were just a few of the things that were used. Terms that had become well known during this time were; De facto segregation means the racial segregation that occurs because of past social and economic conditions and residential racial patterns, while De Jure Segregation is racial segregation that occurs because of Law or Administration’s decisions by public agencies. To try and cure the segregation problem, the attention was turned to bussing, which led to violence in some northern cities. Although Bussing was intended to draw the public eye away from the integration issues, critics largely overlooked the fact that most students were bussed for desegregation purposes. Some background to begin with would be both Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education.
In 1954 The Supreme Court ruled that in the case of Brown v. The Board of Education, established that the segregation of races in public schools violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment against what was previously ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson. The white south wasn’t about to let the ruling go unchallenged and violence became more and more an everyday occurrence, such as in Little Rock, Arkansas when the Governor at the time, Orval Faubus, ordered his state’s national guard to block the admission of nine Negro students to Little Rock Central High School in 1957. This ordeal lasted about a month, and in response to the National Guard, President Eisenhower sent in U.S. troops to protect all nine of the students. The turmoil continued to be a nagging problem with trying to integrate our nation. The Ku Klux Klan became a well-known and feared name in the south and in parts of the north. By 1976, 45.1 % of the African American students were attending a primarily all white school. Not only has our view on segregation changed today, we can’t imagine life without all of the minorities in school, the work place, or in hang out spots. As much pain as segregation caused, our nation has become accustomed to having all types of minorities in our lives, believing that we are stronger as a nation together than separated.
‘NOT ONLY is desegregation the law of the land, school integration has also shown positive benefits. As William L. Taylor wrote in "The Test of Our Progress", the 1999 report on civil rights enforcement by the Citizens Commission on Civil Rights, "striking evidence of progress in the performance of black children over the years is found in the scores of 13- and 17-year-olds on reading tests conducted by the widely respected National Assessment of Educational Progress," indicating a reduction in the gap between black and white students over the past 20 years of roughly 50 percent; the scores of black and Latino students from 1970 to 1990 increased by about two-thirds more than predicted.’ (Online source (1): http://www.civilrights.org/resources/civilrights101/desegregation.html) desegregation of the races has had an improved effect on schooling, so it can be the same for the nation. We are stronger together, than apart.
"The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights." The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 July 2013.
Bardes, Barbara A., Mack C. Shelley, and Steffen W. Schmidt. "Civil Rights and Liberties." American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2010. N. pag. Print.
"IIP Digital | U.S. Department of State." The U.S. Civil Rights Movement. N.p., 19 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 July 2013.**
When it comes to people in politics it’s east to start thinking about the politicians themselves who represent the people. However, what some people don’t realize is the impact of the media in politics, and just how important the ones in the media are to our politics.
It used to be the media only consisted of newspapers, this was effective for the time but limited who could stay informed and what options they had for information. As technology developed the media stretched out into radio, television, and today far beyond. Most people still prefer getting news on television, generally from the main news media sources like Fox, CNN, ABC, or NBC. And while media is still relevant in papers, magazines, and radio, more and more people are getting information from the Internet by searching for articles on news websites or political blogs. According to the Pew research center, just over half of Americans get news from the television, but just as many people read news from online media as they do papers.
The reason media is so very important in politics is because they control what people see and find out. The United States recently had a presidential election, and the media has come to play a part seemingly as big as the candidates themselves. The media controls the agenda by putting out the news and stories they want their viewers or readers to get, and that includes a lot of people. Most people don’t stay directly in touch with their congressmen, but they find out about the politics going on through news media. In a time as important as elections, American people rely on the mass media to find out information about what candidates say, what their agendas are, and other information they want to find out to make a choice on who they will vote for. There is controversy with this however, because with media comes arguments about the media outlets political agenda. There are often arguments about Fox News being a news channel dedicated to the Republican political agenda while the other side is news channels like CNN are dedicated to the liberal side. Whether true or not, it is generally preferred a news channel should be unbiased in reporting even political news, but some aspects of media are not expected at all to be unbiased.
Some forms of media are not meant to be necessarily just reporting the news, but providing a political viewpoint on the news of the day. This kind of media attracts it’s fair share of followers and provides it’s own kind of influence. In the simplest form, this kind of media consists of articles in the opinion pages of newspapers, or blogs on Internet sites. However what more commonly comes to mind would be the media of talk radio and political television programs. Conservative radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and others broadcast over the air every day presenting news stories, then giving their political opinions and takeaways from these stories. On the other side, television hosts like Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow use their time on television to do something similar but provide opinions more towards the liberal side of the political scale. It is widely thought programs like these don’t change or newly form political ideas for people but rather just reinforce people who already think conservative or liberally. These forms of media still reach out to millions of people each day and do play a part in politics of America.
When there is power to the people, the people need to stay informed about politics and what their government is doing. Getting this information is crucial to American politics, and the many different forms of media control it. Especially in such a technological age, the members of the media are some of the most important people in politics.
American Government Book
www.people-press.org (Pew Research Center)
In the United States, politics are the main discussions in all the branches of Government. From president elections to government conferences, Politics is the most talked about topic in the United States. The definition of politics defies as being the activities associated with the governance of a country or area; another good definition of politics defies as being the activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.
The United States political system is some-what above average from the rest of the political systems around the world, that being said because of the everyday situations and conflicts in the United States. The head leader and commanding officer of the political system in the United States is the President, the President’s job is very important in the Political System in the United States due to the commanding power the President has. The definition of the President of the United States defies as the head of state and head of government of the United States.
The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces. When the President makes a huge decision it is heard around the world and every political system in the world gives their opinion of that decision good or bad. Over the years the United States has had many great Presidents; historic names that range from George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Ulysses Grant. These Presidents are responsible for making the United Sates as the best country on the planet. As of January 20, 2008 the title of president of the United States has been assumed by Senator Barack Hussein Obama the second; currently his presidential term is set to be done in the year of January 20, 2017
Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States. He was a civil-rights lawyer and teacher before pursuing a political career. He was elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, serving from 1997 to 2004. He was elected to the U.S. presidency in 2008, and won re-election in 2012 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. President Obama continues to enact policy changes in response to the issues of health care and economic crisis. He is currently married to Michelle Obama and has two daughters Sasha and Malia; as of 1992 the couple of Barack and Michelle Obama have been married for 21 years. President Obama is of mix heritage due to his Father being black and his mother being white.
Ever since Obama arrived in office in 2008 he has made numerous accomplishments; accomplishments that range from Passing the Health Care Reform, Passing the Stimulus, Passing The Wall Street Reform, Ending the War in Iraq, Beginning Drawdown of War in Afghanistan, Eliminating Osama Bin Laden, Turning Around U.S. Auto Industry, Recapitalizing Banks, Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, Toppling Moammar Gaddafi, Reversing Bush Torture Policies, Improving America’s Image Abroad, Kicking Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending, Boosting Fuel Efficiency Standards, Coordinating International Response to Financial Crisis, Increasing Support for Veterans, Tightening Sanctions on Iran, Creating Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants, Passing Credit Card Reforms, Improving Food Safety System, Expanding National Service, Expanding Wilderness and Watershed Protection, Pushing Federal Agencies to Be Green Leaders, Beginning Post-Post-9/11 Military Builddown, Investing Heavily in Renewable Technology, Cracking Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges, Improving School Nutrition, Expanding Hate Crimes Protections, Pushing Broadband Coverage, Expanding Health Coverage for Children, Expanding Stem Cell Research, Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers, and Killing the F-22. All of the accomplishments by Barack Obama I mentioned are incredible and I see it as an amazing feat.
Importance of Young Adults in Politics
Even though the 18-29 age group is frequently stereotyped as mislead, uninformed or even said to not care what happens in politics and has the lowest turnout for voting in national elections, the polls have proven that the young adult involvement is increasing and becoming more important although it’s at a slow rate.
When you think about what young adults do with their time, it usually has something involving technology. Whether it’s listening to the radio, or their newest, greatest, hyped up smart phone, the television, or anything involving a computer, young adults generally have or do at least one, if not all of these devices. Having all these new electronics helps younger people to be informed. It may not be the truth or it’ll be some type of gossip, but we’re getting information somehow. The radio allows people to state their opinion openly and then the listener can gain an opinion based off of what is said, or generally agree with what’s said. Cell phones now allow you to be basically anywhere and have the capability to surf the web, or get on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. and or text your friends. Television allows you to enjoy a show or series of shows but you have to sit through the commercials that seem to be every couple minutes. And a computer or laptop gives you the advantage of not having to leave your house to get the latest dish of what’s going on in the world via the web again. In essence; everything we do is based around some sort of electronic device. This does help inform the public, specifically the teens and people in their twenties because they’ll see an ad on Facebook or a political commercial on TV or a campaign ad on the radio, the things they’re always on, but it also inhibits young adults from gaining their own opinion on politics.
Young adults are important in terms of political issues because we make up the majority of the population. So really, our vote does count. In the last four elections, the generation differences have mattered more than ever in the past decades. Younger voters vote Democratic, but older voters vote Republican. Throughout the years that young adults have become more important in elections and polls, some of the main issues young adults have in elections involved the economy, terrorism, health care, war in Iraq, and energy policy. How these young adults are informed have a high impact on what they deem important.
Many reasons could account for the importance of people between the ages of 18-29 to understand what’s going on in politics. One is so we can avoid being mindless “kids” who just agree with the opinions we hear and the things we are told. So we can learn to question things for ourselves and then understand the vital difference between nationalism and patriotism. Another reason we understand politics is so we can understand the importance of citizens. And to understand the process of government and gain an understanding of things we don’t like in the society and inform ourselves on it to help change it.
Young adults will eventually find things as significant as the older generations do now so if they get a good understanding on the topic, they’ll help in the future to make the world more politically sound.
The study of what students think about People and Politics
The question has always been open to criticism whether students should be kept at arms length from politics or they should be allowed to take an active part in politics. In this age of political advancement and awakening, the students' life in itself has been a politics for the last many years. Moreover, every young man has some inspirations and some sentiments. These inspirations and sentiments can only be given a practical shape if they are allowed to enter politics. The question that remains unsettled is the shape and kind of politics. The students must be allowed to understand their problems and they should have a full say in making those problems solved in the right way. If they are debarred from doing so, it would mean nipping in bud the political awakening that is natural in every heart. Students are the backbone of the society and if they are not brought up properly, the future of the society will be darkened.
Orthodox people cite old examples to prove that the students' life was the life of penance and hardships. Students have nothing to do with the politics of the country and they have to devote their full attention to their physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual growth. Their studies and the method of education in that age went ahead in helping them to grow properly as an asset to the society. Such people are also mistaken. The students have full say in their own affairs and the best way of teaching was by discussion. That discussion involved their personal politics and the politics of students' life. Huen Sang, a well known scholar, of China, visited India in the days when Nalanda University was in its prime. That was the oldest of the Universities. He writes that the students in that University had full right to express themselves. They had not to follow the teacher; serving of teacher does not mean captivity of the intellect. Modern critics who are of opinion that students should be kept away from politics forget that our society within organic concepts can only advance. The students are also a part of our society that is our body. Any organ of the body which is undeveloped makes the body cripple and infirm. Thus we can assume that for the betterment of the society, of the welfare of the student community, for the prosperity of the nation and for every lasting peace in the universe, the students should be allowed to have their say in all matters, which concern them. There is also the dark side of it that is being witnessed these days. In the garb of politics, students take to destructive means. They ignore their studies and they think that copying is their right. Attendance should not be a condition for taking an examination. The indiscipline and unrest among the students prove that the modern politics has totally failed to tackle their problems.
The students should not be allowed to take active part in politics. I may be excused if I assert that the fault does not lie with the students who are as delicate as the new branch of a new plant; the fault lies with the politicians who try to use the young blood for the welfare of their own party purposes. Party politics and politics are two separate things. As far as the former is concerned, the politicians should understand that to meet their selfish ends, they should not misuse the young blood. They should remember that the coming generation would never pardon them. The students should be allowed to take an active part in the politics and in all those matters which are concerned with their present and future. They should not follow the slogans and the dogmas of the so-called politicians who proclaim themselves to be their friends, well-wishers and their saviours.
The media is a powerful voice. Americans look to the media for world, national, state, and local news. We depend to a certain extent on the media for vital information. And sadly most Americans take the media’s coverage of important issues at face value. In my opinion, the media is growing ever increasingly liberal in its coverage. For example, the Newtown shooting, an awful tragedy involving our nation’s innocent youth, was exploited to become the backbone needed to pass more anti-firearms laws. But the media failed to cover and report many instances where armed law abiding citizens stopped more potential killings because of their being armed. The media failed to acknowledge these hero’s for protecting their families and complete strangers with the help of a firearm. So in effect, I want to focus this paper on extremely conservative radio show host and his willingness to say what he thinks and cover issues other media ignore Rush Limbaugh.
Rush Limbaugh, born January 12, 1981, at the age of 16 began his radio career with some part time disc jockey jobs. After high school, He attended (to please his parents) Southeast Missouri State University; but after only two semesters, He quit and directed his full attention to radio. He started at small AM stations, steadily becoming known. Working at KFBK in Sacramento, California among other stations he eventually began his national radio show with WABC in New York City. He is still to this day with WABC in New York but hosts from West Palm Beach Florida. Limbaugh became a voice for the Republican Party and in 1994 was awarded an honorary membership in the freshman Republican class caucus. He became a well-known national voice in American Politics particularly as a conservative republican.
Limbaugh has an opinion on many issues including: capital punishment, drug abuse, environmental issues, feminism, and Iraqi prisoner abuse. On capital punishment, Limbaugh is all for it saying, “the only thing cruel about the death penalty is last-minute stays." He also believes that whites get off to easy with drug abuse. On environmental issues, Limbaugh is very critical believing the issue of climate change is just a political agenda. Limbaugh views feminism with contempt offering this opinion "Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream of society." And he compares certain feminist groups to Nazis saying "to whom the most important thing in life is ensuring that as many abortions as possible occur. “Another political area that Limbaugh offers up criticism is prisoner abuse and torture in the military saying "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation … And we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time."
An area that sparked national controversy was Limbaugh’s criticism of a female college student’s opinion on insurance covered contraceptives. In short, Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” and many companies dropped their sponsorship of his show because of his comments. This makes me mad when other political figures including the media can support abortion and the homosexual agenda then bash others who view it as wrong and get away with it. It astounds me. So here’s to Rush Limbaugh, a voice from the Right.
People and Politics
To run for an office position of some sort such as becoming the president has a long stressful process. Like another place, some positions are easier to fill as others. People who decide that being president of the United States has to get nominated. The process for this job is taken care of by state laws and the party’s affiliation. The party’s affiliation can either be republican, democrat, or independent. All parties believe in different things, but agree on many.
Getting nominated as well as elected for president is said to be the most complex process in the journey according to American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials page 288.
The next thing that is decided is the party’s eligibility. These are the restrictions that follow the position. Such as the presidential candidate has to be: born in the United States, at least 35 years of age, and by the time of taking the position the party has to have lived in the United States for the last fourteen years. The vice presidential candidate must be: born in the United States, be at least 35 years of age, and do not obtain residency in the same state as the presidential candidate.
Many people who are willing and able to run for this same position are said to be members of the United States House of Representatives.
In the last several elections there has been woman trying to be the first to the top spots such as: Hilary Clinton who was trying to run for president in 2008 and became very close but did not succeed. Also in 2008 with Sarah Palin ran for vice president with the candidate John McCain, Palin also did not get the position.
This is not the easiest position to fill, or the fastest. The parties then have to go through many elections and debates to get to the general election such as the primary election which is an election in which political parties choose their candidates for the general election. Debates that are aired on television are usually around October for the two presidential candidates, who get asked political questions and answer the question as best as they can. Then there are state and local presentations where the parties travel state to state trying to persuade locals and official why they are the right man for the job.
Then judgment day comes, that is known as the general election. In the general election, people eligible to vote head to the polls to choose the next president of the United States. This date is usually the first Tuesday of November.
Once the election is over the overall winner will take over the oval office in January after the Inauguration. The inauguration is when the new president is sworn in front of the white house and gives a speech.
We see first hand these situations take place every three years. We watch as the candidates work their way to the top. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s all worth it.
American Government and Politics Today: The Essentials 2011-2012
Political Parties in the United States
Ever since the beginning of the American political system, there have been political parties. But what exactly is a political party? A political party is a group of people that share common goals and ideals, and they work together to help elect people that share their goals to get offices and represent them. Each political party’s main goal is to win elections and gain as many offices as they can.
The first two political parties in the United States were the Federalists, who supported the Constitution, and the Anti-Federalists, who opposed the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists didn’t want to ratify the Constitution for several reasons, such as: they thought it gave too much power to the national government, congress and the executive branch held too much power, and the fact that there was no bill of rights. But the Federalists came back with the argument that the separation of powers protected the rights of people by making all the branches equal so that no group can gain control over another. After New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, it was agreed that the government would be ran under the United States Constitution starting on March 4, 1789. After the Constitution was ratified, the beginning of different political parties began. The Anti-Federalists were led by Andrew Jackson and became known as the Democratic Republicans. After the War of 1812, the Federalist Party came to an end. Like most people involved in politics, the Democratic Republicans began to fight over issues and the party split. The people who supported Andrew Jackson’s policies became known as Democrats, and those who didn’t agree with Andrew Jackson’s policies were known as Whigs. This Whig Party wouldn’t last due to the issue of slavery. But because of the anti-slavery issue, the Republican Party arose. This is how the two most popular political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, developed.
Since the Democratic Party is the oldest of the most used parties that are used today, created in 1792, it’s not surprising that it has the most registered voters, actually just a little over 43,100,000 of them. Some of the issues that the Democratic Party focusses on are: healthcare for everyone, national security, energy independence, immigration, and secure retirement. The second most popular party is the Republican Party which was created in 1854 and has around 30,700,000 registered voters. Some of the issues that the Republican Party supports are: economy, a constitutional government, agriculture, reforming the government, and American values.
If you don’t agree with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party views on the current issues, you can register to become an Independent voter. The Independent Party now has around 24 million registered voters and growing. There are also a few other political parties that are still on the ballot today, some of which include: the Constitution Party, the Libertarian Party, and the Green Party. The Constitution Party, around 367,000 registered voters, is one of the newer parties that was created in 1992. One of their major issues is improving education. The Libertarian Party has around 280,000 and was created in 1971. Some of the major issues they focus on are: personal liberty, abortion, government spending, national defense, and international affairs. The Green Party has around 247,000 registered voters and was created in 1996. This party mainly focusses on the following: having a grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, non-violence, and respect for diversity. But these are not the only political parties that you can register to vote for. There are MANY more out there!
“….. a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham. The segregated city of the south where her parents cannot take her to a movie theater or to restaurants, but they have convinced her that even if she cannot have a hamburger at Woolworths, she can be the president of the United States if she wanted to be, and she becomes the secretary of state.” (Condoleezza Rice speech at the RNC August 29, 2012)
In American government, the National Security Advisor and Secretary of State are two important positions. Unlike many government official positions, the National Security Advisor is not an elected position, but rather appointed by the President without the Senate’s consent. The NSA gives advice to the President on national security issues. They have to identify and solve potential problems of the country’s defense apparatus. On the other hand, the Secretary of State has to have the Senate’s approval. It is the highest ranking official in the executive branch other than the President and Vice-President. As one of the most important cabinet members, they have to give advice to the President on matters relating to U.S. foreign policy. They negotiate with other countries on treaties and other agreements.
Condoleezza Rice was born on November 24, 1954 in a segregated Birmingham, AL. As the only child, her parents tried to give her everything for her to achieve to be the best. Despite the prejudice around her, she refused to let the boundaries in society block her way. Her hard work and perseverance paid off to make her one of the most influential people in the world. Rice attended the University of Denver after high school, hoping to become a professional pianist. After taking the class called Introduction to International Politics, it inspired her to change her major to political science. She earned her B.A. in Political Science at age 19 and got her Master's degree in Government and International Studies at Notre Dame University one year later. She had received her Ph.D. from the University of Denver in 1981. In 1993, Rice became the first woman and first African American to be as provost of Stanford University.
Rice developed a sharp political mind. In 2001, Rice was appointed National Security Adviser by President George W. Bush, becoming the first African American woman to hold the title. She became an influential person after the 9/11 attack during Bush’s presidency. After the re-election of Bush in 2004, he nominated her to be the first African American woman to be the Secretary of State. As Secretary of State, Rice supported the philosophy of "transformational diplomacy," which redistributed U.S. diplomats to areas that are in political trouble. She argued that U.S. interests would be achieved if handled by democratic measures. She also successfully helped negotiate several agreements in the Middle East, such as making Israeli withdraw from the Gaza Strip. Rice also worked tirelessly to improve human rights issues in Iran.
Rice has appeared in Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People,” and Forbes as “Most Powerful Woman in the World.” Condoleezza Rice fought racism and obstacles to become an important figure of modern politics. Not matter what party we are, we admire her for her contributions in women’s history.
Here in America where democracy roams supreme like a patriotic dinosaur, we as Americans get to choose how the country runs with the people we elect. Normally, nay, every one of the electees we elect with our elections belongs to some political party. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and in a recent election Jedis, all of these are political parties. These parties are solidified by the ideas and values of the people who make up their membership.
Democrats tend to be more flaming and liberal in their views. By that I mean they are more civilly minded towards everything. Marriage for homosexuals, they deserve to be unhappy like the rest of us. Supporting the women who want to kill their little bundle of mistake in their womb. Democrats are the main proponents of gun control, the dirty communists. Currently the Democrats have the White House with President Obama and Vice President Biden in the executive positions, and have control of the house. Though the Speaker of the House is a Republican, and the interaction between the two parties lead to the Government Shutdown of 2013 over the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act is positive step towards health care for all, although the Democrats totally dropped the ball on implementing it.
The Grand Old Party, otherwise now known to us as the Republicans are the right wing of the eagle that is the United States. Their views are pretty much the opposite of the Democrats. Gay people shouldn’t get married, because for some reason an issue like that still exists. Everyone can have guns even if you probably shouldn’t have one, because hey it’s your god given right to kill people. The last Republican president was George W. Bush who liked to make up words, who lead with Vice President Dick Cheney who liked to shoot people in the face. The Republican Party tends to appeal to middle age white males, and absolutely no one else. The GOP also house the extremists known as the Tea Party, the group so far right they’ve cut off their left hands.
Now the party for level headed smart people is the Libertarian Party. This party takes all the good from both parties and leaves the bad in the sock drawer. Their prime directive is less government and more liberty or freedom or whatever. They think that health care should be affordable without the need of insurance. They see that ownership of guns should not be a crime, and that the criminal who uses one should be held responsible, crazy. I don’t know their stance on gay rights cause it wasn’t listed on their website, but I’m sure its amazing. Speaking of websites, the Libertarian website was the easiest to navigate so they have that going for them.
There are other parties in the system other that just these three, but these are the big three that most people will claim to be a part of. Although some one could point out that having a party system is kind of silly and that we should base our choice of candidate through their stance on the issues and not just because they belong to a political party. Not me, I wouldn’t do something silly like that.
Roles of the President
The President of the United States has many duties and obligations that they must fulfill. The job “has grown into a very complicated job that requires balancing at least five constitutional roles.” (Schmidt, American Government and Politics Today) These roles include head of state, chief executive, commander in chief of the armed forces, chief diplomat and chief legislator of the United States. All of these roles are handled by one person, the President, which makes it an extremely important job. This is reflected in the salary, as the President earns $400 000 annually, as well as receiving $169 000 in expenses and receives many free benefits and services.
The President is the head of state, which is a role not usually given to the chief executive, which means the president has to do many ceremonial or symbolic activities. In many other countries this role might be held by a King or Queen. These activities include things such as decorating war heroes, dedicating parks and post offices, going on official visits to other countries and representing the nation at times of national mourning. Being head of state mean that the president has a significant amount of public exposure, however, it can also take time away from doing more important work.
The next role the president has is the chief executive. This means the president is “constitutionally bound to enforce the acts of congress, the judgments of the federal courts and treaties signed by the United States.” (Schmidt, American Government and Politics Today) This position gives the president power to do many things. One is a signing statement, which allows the president to point out sections of the law that are unconstitutional. The president can also grant reprieves and pardons. This means that the president has the power to release a person from punishment of a crime that they have committed.
The commander in chief is another responsibility of the president. The commander of chief is in charge of the military and the National Guard. The president makes the final decisions in all military matters, and can decide on things as important as nuclear attacks. This role maybe one of the most significant roles the president has and is where presidents exercise the most authority. Handling the National Guard means the president is responsible for natural disasters or other significant social events.
The chief diplomat is the fourth major role the president has. This position mean the president has a large role in foreign policy. This position gives the president the power of diplomatic recognition, which lets the president decide or acknowledge a foreign government’s legitimacy. The president also has to negotiate treaties with other nations. The use of executive agreements increases the president’s power greatly because the senate is not required to approve these decisions.
The chief legislator is another responsibility of the president. This gives the president influence in making laws. The president gives an annual State of the Union message, which is an address to Congress and the American people, where the president proposes a legislative program. The president can propose legislation, however, Congress is not required to pass it.
As well as these constitutional powers the president also has statutory powers and inherent powers. Statutory powers are powers created for the president through laws enacted by Congress and inherent powers come from the statement in the constitution that says “the executive powers shall be invested in the president.”
Bardes, Shelley, Schmidt American Government and Politics Today: 2011-2012,
Wikipedia defines a political institution as the following: A political system is a system of politics and government. It is usually compared to the legal system, economic system, cultural system, and other social systems. However, this is a very simplified view of a much more complex system of categories involving the views: who should have authority, how religious questions should be handled, and what the government's influence on its people and economy should be.
So some examples of political institutions include but are not limited to congress, the senate, the supreme court, and of course the President of the United States. These bodies of our government make decisions that affect our lives every day whether we choose to accept it or not. Other political systems are like the Department of Education. This part of the government helps the rest of the government set regulations that directly relate to education and the standards that schools must follow to receive federal funding. Recently this department and many other departments have taken hits in funding. With the current recession that we have come out of we have had to cut spending all over the government. I personally believe that education should be one of the last budget items to receive cuts. It provides us the future, and if we cannot get educated how can we effectively run a government and on a larger scale run a nation effectively. Education is the backbone to a nation, and are already far behind European countries, Japan, and China.
While these institutions set forth the laws of our nation, the citizens and ultimately the people who vote push the items that are sent to our legislators. This does not happen all the time, but is certainly a way that potential legislation gets to congress.
Parties as Institutions
Political institutions can be defined as organizations that create, apply, or enforce laws. They try to provide representation and have a working function in government. Some of the most understandable examples of this would be what we think of as government itself, meaning congress or the executive branch (President). However, some of the most important political institutions are the political parties themselves.
Since the very early days of the United States there has often been a two-party system in our politics, started with the federalist and anti-federalists of the time just after the Revolutionary War. Parties evolved, disappeared, and came about since the late 1700s but for over a century American politics have been mostly dominated by two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans. This isn’t to say however that the United States is strictly a two party system and always has been. So called “Third Parties” like the Bull-Moose party have come and gone but today institutions like the Green Party and Libertarian Party still exist. It’s common to simply see these names as brands on elected politicians, but parties are much bigger than that.
A key aspect of political parties is the elected officials that are under one political side, but the parties extend beyond Washington. These parties are in literal sense institutions with people working leadership positions. For example, the Republican Party is chaired by Reince Priebus and co-chaired by Sharon Day, while Tony Parker and Demetra DeMonte serve as Treasurer and Secretary. While this is on a national scale, the parties also extend to local levels with people working for the party on state and county levels. These institutions speak for not only politicians, but the millions of United States citizens that carry their name. There are about 55 million people registered in the Republican Party and 72 million as Democrats. This is why these parties have to be so large and spread out in their organization.
While it’s good to know the importance of political parties, it’s important to know what the function of these political institutions is. One of the first key roles of political parties is a platform. A party’s platform is the true base of the party. It is the stance the party decides to take on issues. For example a Republican platform on abortion would be pro-life, whereas a Democratic platform takes a pro-choice side on the issue. The platform is a party’s way of showing their members what the party is going to be about, and guides it’s political candidates on where they should stand. This is important because when parties have clear-cut stances it provides for debate or agreement on legislation and effects laws. Another big way party’s effect politics is the politicians themselves. Parties will choose possible candidates on local levels, national levels, and even the highest levels when every four years a party officially nominates their presidential candidate. Having the strong backing of a party can get candidates elected so they become representatives of not just their own party, but also all the people in their representative area. Parties also find other ways to effect government like putting forth legislation and pushing ideas that are consistent with their platform. By getting out a platform, helping elect people that are with their party, and working to get their legislation passed to law, the parties of America are always at work.
Political institutions are key parts in the system of American politics. They directly effect what happens in the process of government and in turn that affects the American people. Political parties may not always see eye to eye, and in the case of Democrats and Republicans it’s almost never, but they are still important political institutions in America.
American Government and Politics Today, By:Bardes,Shelley, and Schmidt
http://www.people-press.org/2012/08/23/a-closer-look-at-the-parties-in-2012/ (PEW Research Center)
Dr. Mike Thompson
Public policy is the principled guide to action taken by the administrative executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. In general, the foundation is the pertinent national and substantial constitutional law and implementing legislation such as the US Federal code. Further substrates include both judicial interpretations and regulations which are generally authorized by legislation.
Other scholars define it as a system of "courses of action, regulatory measures, laws, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives." Public policy is commonly embodied "in constitutions, legislative acts, and judicial decisions."
In the United States, this concept refers not only to the result of policies, but more broadly to the decision-making and analysis of governmental decisions. As an academic discipline, public policy is studied by professors and students at public policy schools of major universities throughout the country. The U.S. professional association of public policy practitioners, researchers, scholars, and students is the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.
In any society, governmental entities enact laws, make policies, and allocate resources. This is true at all levels. Public policy can be generally defined as a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives.
Individuals and groups often attempt to shape public policy through education, advocacy, or mobilization of interest groups. Shaping public policy is obviously different in Western-style democracies than in other forms of government. But it is reasonable to assume that the process always involves efforts by competing interest groups to influence policy makers in their favor.
A major aspect of public policy is law. In a general sense, the law includes specific legislation and more broadly defined provisions of constitutional or international law. There are many ways that the law can influence how survivors of violence against women are treated and the types of services they receive. Likewise, legislation identifies areas in which research grants can be funded and often determines the amount of funding allocated. Thus, it is not surprising that public policy debates occur over proposed legislation and funding.
In this context, advocacy can be defined as attempting to influence public policy through education, lobbying, or political pressure. Advocacy groups often attempt to educate the general public as well as public policy makers about the nature of problems, what legislation is needed to address problems, and the funding required to provide services or conduct research. Although advocacy is viewed as unseemly by some in the professional and research community, it is clear that public policy priorities are influenced by advocacy. Sound research data can be used to educate the public as well as policy makers, thereby improving the public policy process.
By: Mishelle Reeder
What is the term public policy mean? Well, according to www.wisegeek.com, the term means is an attempt by the government to address a public issue by instituting laws, regulations, decisions, or actions protaining to the problems at hand. So, under all the catagories of public policy I found an interesting one. I chose to do education. What is the term education really mean? According to www.modivation-tools.com, it’s the knowledge in basic skills, acedemics, technical disiplines, and citizenship. An education is offered to everyone from big to small. With federal funding to help out schools all around the United States, the schools then have certain programs and regulations to follow.
In 2002 there was a law past all through the United States for all schools that is called the No Child Left Behind Law. According to www.edweek.org This, law states that it is designed and measured to drive broad gains in student achievement and to hold states and schools more accountable for student progress. So they design how students should be taught, the tests they take, the trainging of the teacher, and most important school funding. If a student is having a hard with their work and they just don’t understand the school can provide tutoring help to make sure the child understands and can be caught up.
Every year in the second semester each school across the United States is to take a test based on math and reading from 1st grade to a sophomore in high school. Students in the even grade numbers have to take the science test. The school is then scored and funded based on the academic results of the states performance. With this law students can have a better chance of succeeding in school and has a better chance of graduating. Then when the child becomes a junior in high school they have to take the ACT to be scored on the same things, to see what college they can get into based on the test scores.
Schools even now offer each child a free reduced lunch so the children of the lower income families living pay check to pay check can receive some help when feeding their children. This is a Federal assisted meal program offered to over 100,000 public and nonprofit schools. Some children the meals in which they receive are the only ones provided by the school systems. This program helps around 31 million children under the age of 18 each day. Schools around the United States are also now offereing breakfast and this federal program covers this as well. With these programs the school has strict nutrition and protein requires to meet and make sure students get the amount they need. Depending on the school a free summer lunch and breakfasts program can also be provided, making some situations easier.
With the help of free reduced lunch funding and the no child left behind law I believe makes the school system a bit better. With the graduation rate rising and the free reduced lunches and breakfast programs to help these kids out so they can focus on their school work, makes things just a bit easier in the long run. The state wide tests are only measured to make sure the school is providing the right teaching to students to help further an education .Schools may have a bunch of regulations provided by the government but, it is only because they want to make sure students get an education. It’s never too late to go back to school to receive a better education. Many people do it everyday.
www.greatschools.org article by: Great Schools Staff
Public policy can be defined as government objectives on public issues that relate to the health, morals, and the overall well-being of the citizens. Local, state, federal, and international government organizations implement public policies for benefits and protection of their citizens. Creating a public policy starts with identifying a problem and then formulating a policy. After a policy is formulated you have to put into action the policy change, and then evaluate the end result. After evaluating the end result, there will often be new problems that arise that will also need to try and be resolved.
Public policy decisions may be made by the government, but a good majority of the public policy ideas are brought to attention by the citizens. Public policy is often shaped by groups and individuals through education, political pressure, and lobbying. Lobbyists play a big role in promoting public policies by working for specific companies, being members of unions, and by petitioning. In order to get the policy that they would like to be passed, competing interest groups have to influence the policy makers to take their side.
There are a lot of different public policy issues, some of which include: immigration, social security, unemployment, welfare, abortion, gun rights, smoking in public places, and religion. But some of these public policy issues are being highly conversed today, such as the issues of housing, income, and health. The number of homeless men, women, and children are growing in population, which in return leads to them becoming vulnerable to disease and premature death. Also, the number of people living in poverty is rapidly increasing, which is linked to the increase in the number of homeless people. But in order to have an effect in preventing disease, there needs to be programs and policies that prevent the homeless. According to a survey in 2010, there are nearly 700,000 at-risk homeless people in the United States. Even though homelessness affects people of all races, ages and ethnicities, some groups of people are at an increased risk. According to the survey, 43% of men are homeless, while 33% of families with children are homeless as well. It is important for health systems to change public policies to assist the homeless or the people that are on the brink of becoming homeless. The State of Homelessness 2012 was created to help the homeless, such as veterans with disabilities, to get them into a house and back on their feet.
What is public policy? One of the many definitions is “in any society, governmental entities enact laws, make policies, and allocate resources. This is true at all levels. Public policy can be generally defined as a system of laws, regulatory measures, courses of action, and funding priorities concerning a given topic promulgated by a governmental entity or its representatives.” Or another one is collective actions through government, results from government decision-making process. When people try to shape or change public policy, it’s reasonable to assume that the changes trying to be made are coming from the people who oppose the policy and they try to sway it in their favor. People try to shape public policy through many ways; education, mobilization of interest groups, advocacy, political pressure, lobbying and many others.
Public policy refers to the actions taken by our government. All of the governments decisions are based off of what the government thinks are best for its citizens. The public policy goes through a series of stages for the laws or whatever to be set in stone or set in place for policymaking. First is agenda building, second is formulation and adoption, next is implementation, and the last one is evaluation and termination.
The agenda building process involves a problem being brought up that supposedly is going on. That problem has to be called to attention before a policy can even be created. Many things can be considered a “problem” and be put on the agenda. For one example, illegal immigration had been going on far far before it was brought up as a problem, but it wasn’t until about the 1990s that enough people had a problem with it that made the laws be made.
The next process is the formulation and adoption. “Policy formulation means coming up with an approach to solving a problem.” Many people are involved in this stage of the policymaking process; Congress, the executive branch, the courts and other interest groups. These groups of people will contradict each other with their side of the proposal. Once they come to a conclusion then the process continues with adoption. The policy could be adopted when Congress passes legislation, the regulations become final, or the Supreme Court renders a decision in a case.
Implementation or execution of the policy is often completed by institutions rather than the ones that formulated and adopted the policy. An act usually provides a broad outline of a policy. For example, the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown c. Board of Education, they realized that desegregation was a complex issue but they didn’t add any guidance on how to execute the rule.
The last step is the evaluation and termination stage. The evaluation step of this is when someone or people determine how well a policy is working. People in government and outside of government use many ways to find the answer to find if the policy is effective or not. Once they figure out if the policy is worth it or not, then they might terminate, or quit the policy.
Through the series of these four steps a policy is made whether it’s kept or not, this is how the government makes a policy.
How Public Opinion Affects Public Policy
Louisiana’s Republican Governor, Bobby Jindal, made a serious mistake this year by trying to reform the state’s tax system. This mistake could dash any hopes that Jindal may have had concerning the Republican Presidential nomination in 2016. And according to Bruce Bartlett, of the Fiscal Times, it has completely destroyed the Republican party’s chance of getting a tax reform bill passed in Washington. He write “It is inevitable that if Republicans propose a plan anything like it, it will be compared to Jindal’s and it will be declared dead on arrival.”
The Pelican Institute for Public Policy, a nonpartisan research and educational organization, along with the Beacon Hill Institute from Massachusetts did a study of Governor Jindal’s tax reform plan and came to the conclusion that it was a great plan. The plan would supposedly create 11,810 new jobs by 2017, almost 3000 jobs a year; it would increase the state’s disposable income by $1.749 billion, around $910 per household in the state and boost investment in the state by $183 million. It would also do away with individual and corporate income taxes, but it would raise the state sales tax from 4 percent to 7 percent.
A liberal think tank, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy claims that the plan would greatly affect the bottom 80 percent of the state’s residents by raising their taxes. On the conservative side Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform called the plan “the gold standard for pro-growth reform.”
In conservative Louisiana Jindal’s plan should have had no problem passing, but that would not be the case. The Southern Media and Opinion Research, released a poll on April 2, that showed Jindal’s popularity had dropped from 51 percent in October to 38 percent in April. Fewer than half of the state’s Republicans had supported the plan and 63 percent of Louisianans had opposed it.
On April 8, 2013 in his address to the opening of the 2013 Regular Legislative Session he announced that he was withdrawing his tax reform plan. He stated “I’ve been all over the place selling my tax plan like a one armed paperhanger. I’ve learned some things along the way. I realize that some of you think I haven’t been listening. But you will be surprised to learn that I have been listening. And here is what I’ve heard from you, and from the people of Louisiana-yes we do want to get rid of the income tax, but Governor you are moving too fast and we aren’t sure that your paln is the best way…Here is my response- OK, I hear you. So I am now going to park my tax plan.”
Governor Jindal went on to say that he still likes his plan, but he realizes that there must be giving and taking in order to be successful. And in this instance he will be the one giving. He ended his speech by asking the Legislature to send him a plan that would get rid of income tax, create jobs and careers, and move Louisiana to the “top of the heap.”
This situation leads one to speculate not only whether Jindal’s ideology was to radical, but also whether the state’s Republicans are really dyed in the wool Republicans. Or are they Democrats registered as Republicans. Either way it goes, public opinion has spoken and public policy, and the people of the state will suffer for it.
Basic Government Functions
Running the economics system
Public Opinion and Public Policy
The Three Branches of Government
Federal government of the United States
3 Branches of U.S. Government
3 Branches of Government
Our Federal Government
The Basic Functions of the U.S Federal Government**
Where do we get Right and Wrong from?
Thinking in Politics
Politics and Prophesy
My Interest in American Government
Alex Harris, Kathy Brooks and Randi Cressler
Federal Policy and Our Quality of Life
Government in Baseball
Government and Guns