Week Four Journal
Prepare: Prior to beginning work on this week’s journal, read chapters 8, 9, and 10 in American Government, watch the video, Episode II – It’s a Free Country, review the Week Four Instructor Guidance, and review your results from the Political Typology Quiz.
Reflect: Political parties mobilize voters to win elections and implement policy goals. Parties use their stated policy goals (i.e., their platforms) as a way to mobilize voter support. Generally, in order to be successful in a two-party system, parties must have policy goals across a broad range of issue areas to appeal to a broad range of voters.
Write: Think about a specificissue or policy that you are interested in and/or that has impacted you personally. Use the assigned resources that are provided for this journal to gather information about the goals and proposals, in that issue area, of three U.S. political parties – the Democratic and Republican parties and a third party. For the journal, write about the following two ideas: Where do the three political parties (Republican, Democrat, and your choice of a third party) currently stand on this issue? Do they have national support? Explain your rationale.
Thinking about your own Political Ideology that we discussed in the introduction discussion, which party’s stance on the issue you selected is closest to your own? Which is the furthest from your ideals? Why?
For example, if you are a “Steadfast Conservative,” what do the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and a third party have to say about your position on taxation? If you are a “Solid Liberal,” what do Democrats, Republicans, and a third party say about your views on environmental issues? Who is the closest? Furthest away? Why?
Your journal response must be a minimum one page, double-spaced. Justify your conclusions with facts and persuasive reasoning. Fully respond to all parts of the question and write your response in your own words.
I have uploaded my copy of introduction from class with results of the political typology quiz and a link to the website that has more details on the political ideology.
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT: CIVIL RIGHT AND CIVIL LIBERTIES, POLITICAL PARTIES, INTEREST GROUPS, AND ELECTIONS
“If a political party does not have its foundation in the determination to advance a cause that is right and that is moral, then it is not a political party; it is merely a conspiracy to seize power.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower (Political Parties Quotes, 2015)
Week Four Instructor Guidance
Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
This week we will focus on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Civil Rights and Civil Liberties are actually two different things. Civil rights are protections BY government power. This requires the government to act in your interest. For example, when the government stepped in to force schools to desegregate (the idea that separate is not equal) – they were acting on behalf of African Americans and protecting their civil rights. Civil liberties are protections FROM government power. These require the government to do nothing. For example, our first amendment protects our right to free speech. This means the government cannot imprison you (or otherwise punish you) for what you say. It does not apply to anyone else – so, if you work at a restaurant and scream at your customers, you can be fired. Free speech does not mean anything there. But, if you are saying negative things about an elected official your right to do that is protected.
Additionally, as you read through Chapter 8, think about what you learned in Chapter 7, and how the Court has stepped in to protect both the rights and liberties of people in the United States.
It is important to note that there are no mentions of political parties in the Constitution. In fact, the framers actively sought to avoid political parties. However, parties emerged almost immediately – even while the framers were still involved in the government. Think about why parties emerged and what purpose they serve. Are these factors still true today?
Another important concept this week has to do with why the U.S. only has two main parties. The answer can be found in the idea of Duverger’s law (section 9.3 of your text). Duverger’s law is the idea that a plurality system tends to favor two parties. Here is an interesting video that uses animals to explain how we end up with only two parties.
What is the role of interest groups in our political system? How do interest groups differ from political parties? What is the role of interest groups in American elections? What is the role of interest groups in American politics? How do interest groups impact policy formation? Take a look at the tables in Section 9.5 and ask yourself how this amount of money impacts democracy. Is American democracy something that is for sale?
Chapter 10 takes the information from Chapter 9 and applies it to the study of elections. What is the purpose of an election? What makes people turn out to vote? How do we increase voter participation (if this is something we even want to do)? In particular, you will want to pay attention the role of public opinion and the media in elections (sections 10.4 and 10.5). With the media, your text discusses the role of framing and priming in the news. Can you think of any examples where the media has framed or primed a particular story?
For example, if you are watching a news story about the war in Iraq and the news story starts with a picture of President Bush standing in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner, it is framing the story in a particular way. An example of priming the issue would be a story about war casualties in Iraq, and then coverage of the war. Here you would be primed to evaluate the situation in light of the dangers of war.
It’s a Free Country: Constitution USA with Peter Sagal