- Who governs?
- What difference
does it make who governs?
- How does government
affect our lives?
The use of Power
- POWER- the ability
of one person to cause another person to act in accordance with the
first persons wishes.
- AUTHORITY- the
right to use power.
- LEGITIMACY- what
makes law a source of right?
What is a democracy?
centralism- Where the "true" interests of the people are served whether
those people affect the decision making process or not.
regimes (China, Cuba, any dictatorship claiming to be democratic.)
- Aristotelian "rule
of the many"
century Greek city-state, New England town meeting
- Community control,
complete self -governing, citizen solutions.
- Acquisition of
power by leaders via competitive elections.
Direct democracy is impractical. People making unwise decisions based
upon fleeting emotions.
Direct versus Representative Democracy
- Constitution does
not contain the word Democracy but "Republican form of government"
Democracy requires leadership competition if the system is going to
- Americans beginning
to become upset with Rep. Democracy. It’s slow, it serves special
interest, it is unresponsive to the majority opinion.
- The Founding
Fathers created a deliberate system. Moving fast is good only when
it’s in the right direction.
- Special interests
can be negative; however there is no evidence that direct democracy
would curb the money spent and influence peddled.
- Do we want a
majority to decide key fundamental questions pertaining to civil
How is power distributed in a
- Majoritarian politics-
leaders constrained to follow the wishes of
the people very closely. Clear issues, simple situations.
rule by an identifiable group that possess
a disproportionate share of political power.
Theories of political elites-
Government a reflection of economic forces two major classes the
capitalists and the workers
- Power Elite Theory-
(C. Wright Mills)
Iron Triangle- corporate leaders, the military, politicians
Interest groups? The Media?
- Bureaucratic Theory-
People with expertise and specialized competencies manage the daily
affairs of government.
- Pluralistic Theory-
No single elite has a monopoly on power.
Too many forms of power widely scattered.
Branches of government
States, local, municipal
Interest groups, the media, corporations
To make policy or to effectively use power takes bargaining and
- Cynical view of politics-
Politics is self seeking, people out for personal gain
Bad motives for making policy and exercising power.
- We must understand
the past in order to make sense out of the present.
- Really no single
theory of how things change.
- There is always
constant variable interaction between competing interests.
- Government will
continue to evolve.