Definition of Political Culture a set of norms, beliefs, traditions, and values oriented toward the political system that are for the most part shared by the society and are relatively unique to a political system
Declaration of Independence All men are created equal Endowed with certain inalienable rights, life liberty pursuit of happiness Government derives “their just powers from the consent of the governed “
1. 2. 3. Government should reduce income inequality. Government should provide all Americans with a guaranteed income. Luck is more important than hard work in getting ahead. What would those making less than $12k think?
Equality Americans have a strong commitment to legal, social and political equality. Not equality of outcomes or economic equality Public Support for Affirmative Action Equality more of a “contested” concept
Values Shape Policy Outcomes Policies are suspect if they conflict with dominant political culture. large government operation remove control from the market restrict the choices of individuals Promote equality of outcomes Universal health care; living wage policies;
Tocqueville Vision Frontier and widespread property ownership Life characterized by atomistic social freedom Do not need strong state or class movement to create upward mobility New world creates faith in individualism
Traditional Explanations Louis Hartz, The Liberal Consensus no feudal aristocracy—no landed aristocracy to provide a conservative view minimal taxes few legal restraints frontier provides opportunities—easy for ambitious individuals to succeed nation of small independent farmers
Is the American polity characterized by hegemonic liberal democratic values? All men are created equal Endowed with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness Government derives “their just powers from the consent of the governed “
“Multiple Traditions” Critique Rogers Smith --> American political culture is the “complex patterns of apparently inconsistent combinations of traditions, accompanied by recurring conflicts.” Complex Mix of liberal and ascriptive forms of Americanism at the same time
Smith- Multiple Traditions (cont) "fail[s] to give due weight to inegalitarian ideologies and conditions that have shaped the participants and the substance of American politics just as deeply" as liberalism has At the republic’s founding, the “comparative moral, material, and political egalitarianism that prevailed . . . among moderately propertied white men was surrounded by an array of other fixed, ascriptive systems of unequal status, all largely unchallenged by the American revolutionaries (549). for “at least two-thirds of American history, the majority of the domestic adult population was . . . ineligible for full American citizenship solely because of their race, original nationality, or gender” Reconstruction period- example of liberal and ascriptive traditions
Darwinism and Spencerism “Intellectual and political elites develop the most elaborate theories of racial and gender hierarchy in US history and embody them in staggering array of laws governing naturalization, immigration, deportation, voting rights, electoral institutions. ”
Intellectual Credibility – Racial Hierarchies “black, brown, and red races … (had) a peculiar mental temperament which has become hereditary. Leaving them constitutionally recreant to the cues of civilization ” 1895 Daniel Brinton, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science
CA Senator, John MIller 40 centuries of Chinese life had “ground into” the Chinese race characteristics that made them unbeatable competitors against the free white man. They were “automatic engines of flesh and blood” far below the Anglo-Saxon- such that immigration of Chinese laborers must be banned.
Are you smart enough to be a US Citizen? What is the supreme law of the land? What is the economic system in the United States? Name one branch or part of the government.* We elect a U.S. Representative for how many years? Who vetoes bills? What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy? Name one American Indian tribe in the United States.