POLITICAL SCIENCE SUMMARY PACKAGE 2011-2012 (SEMESTER 2)
Completed through collective action of your peers. <3
Big thanks to everyone who contributed. This wouldnt have been done without you!
Everything is placed in chronological order for convenience sake, and some readings have multiple
summaries because they were a bit trickier than others. Overall, Sean and Minh both really hope that
this helps you with your studying. Thank you once again and good luck to everyone! (:
January 9 , 2012
Continental Divide: The Values and Institutions of the United States and Canada.
Seymour Martin Lipset
Summarized by: Francisco Gomes
Nationalism and Conflicts
Jan. 9, 2011
Revolution and Counterrevolution
-USA and Canada are opposites. One is proud of overthrowing an oppressive state, and
creating a new government for its citizens. The other is proud of maintaining the legacy
of its mother country.
-Creating a government that allows citizens to make political decisions and stressing
individualism is what makes USA exceptional. Maintaining a monarchy while creating
free institutions made Canada different.
-The core values of each country is what separates them. USA is whig and Canada is
-Whig is libertarian and emphasizes distrust of state, equality and populism. Reinforced
by voluntary and congregational religion. Tory is accepting of strong state, respecting of
authority and obeying. Endorsed by hierarchical organized religion.
-Canada has become more individualistic and less accepting of the elites since the
Revolution. And the USA has allowed its government to deal in economic and social
issues and welfare.
-Charter of Rights and Freedoms also brings Canada closer to USA, although it places
less emphasis on individual and maintains supremacy of parliament.
-Canada is still more respectful of authority, more involved in private life of citizens and
more supportive of group rights.
-USA has strengthened it s government and introduced welfare. It has somewhat
moved away from individualism and placed emphasis on equality for groups. It still has
one of the weakest welfare sets and least number of labour parties.
Free Trade and Cultural Distinctiveness -Free trade treaty between Canada and US has divided Canadians. Some fear it will
eliminate their culture and maybe even their country as a separate state. However
Americans make no sense of such concerns.
-Political union would mean having to deal with the difference between two
governments. Canadas parliament government with disciplined parties and U.S. system
of divided powers and no discipline.
-Canadas value system resembles a british and french value system. Its less
materialistic and culturally superior to US.
- Two countries are different in basic principles. Canada is more class-aware, more
elitist, law-abiding, focused on the collective, statist and more group-oriented than the
- This change was brought by the American Revolution and the split of British North
America. It was then reinforced by the media, politics, religion and socioeconomic
- Americans placed emphasis on individualism and achievements to motivate revolution.
US rejected alliances to Britain, elitism, nobility, etc. It was purely bourgeoise.
- Canada exists because French-speaking and English-speaking Canadians fought
against the liberal revolutions in US and France. They wanted to create a conservative
and monarchical society and wanted to protect minorities.
- US secluded itself from any british influenced and ideologically committed itself to a
weak state with little military power.
Perspectives on American Revolution
- Canada and US according to Louis Hartz were settled mostly by middle-class which
meant they lacked aristocracy and peasantry which twisted their political views.
Original liberal ideas from Europe became the conservative ideas of new countries.
- Canada was formed as a counterrevolutionary monarchical society that valued
hierarchy, religion, authority and deference to leaders.
- All colonies that later became Canada had considerable political autonomy
- Canadians believe unlimited popular rule make it harder for minorities, who are left in
the hand of popular rule. This is the cause for political intolerance in USA. Elitism is
necessary to maintain balance between popular rule and minority rights.
- Differences between USA and Canada can be traced back to American revolution
2. American Ideology
- Being Canadian means being part of a community, but being American means
committing to an ideology.
- USA still does not have a socialist or Tory party. Country is still dominated by
- American government is an example of how founding fathers distrusted the state. The
government is divided and conflicted and has very little power compared to parliament
governments where cabinets have unchecked power.
- USA has checks and balances and different terms of office for both houses of govt.
- In Canada the state is seen as necessary for citizens to survive.
- Due to importance of laws and rights, lawyers have been important instruments in
bring about change because they can maneuver around these laws.
- U.S. political culture is reinforced by its unique class structure and religious system
- Defined by equality of respect and equality of opportunity
- Originated from the fact US is a setter society with revolutionary ideology
- Americans did not believe in elitism, no one had to pay respect to elites
- Meritocracy in US was defined by more market freedom, individual ownership of land,
higher wage structure supported by traditional liberal ecology
- Hard work and ambition were seen as qualities of a moral man
- The american gospel is characterized by four principles: antistatism, individualism,
populism and egalitarianism.
- the antistatism in US is a major source is why socialism is still weak
- the belief of collective is major negative image of socialists. If a revolution is to happen
in the US it will be most likely an anarchist not a socialist revolution
- populism is the belief that the will of the people should dominate elites and that public
choice is superior to professional choice
- populism is much stronger in US than Canada because of the extended use of
referenda in US.
- almost all major figures in law enforcement are elected, not appointed
- americans almost always make a poor showing at the polls compared to Canadians.
50% to 75% in recent years
- This is due to in part to the institutionalization of populism - the frequency in which americans are required to vote, the prolonged campaigns, and
the focus on individuals instead of parties discourage voters
- americans are derisive and critical of their politicians and the government
- In US conservatism is associated with suspicion of government
- conservatism focuses on individual rights and ignores the rights and obligations of the
- Canada and US vary along the lines of their historical traditions although Canada is
now like the US in an economical aspect.
- US continues to disregard welfare and other active roles for government, they prefer
individual efforts to collective efforts in welfare programs. They are world leading in
- Americans focus on non class forms of group rights, while canadians put emphasis on
group rights and concern for equality of results
- Americans focus on individual success and equality of opportunity
- US is an exceptional country. Although one of the most developed it has a huge
disparity of incomes due to its almost non-existent welfare programs. It has a very
large number of people in poverty.
3. Canadian Identity
- Canada still debates its national identity to this day
- Canada developed as the part of British North American that did not want a revolution
- While US developed around a revolutionary ideology, Canada had not developed such
ideologies although they had a strong Tory presence
- They became independent only due to the fact that Britain aimed to give up
responsibility for their territories while maintaining them as part of UK.
- Emphasis on order in Canada and liberty in US has had major consequences
- US still resists authority, demands rights and prefers weak govts
- Canadians complained much less and felt the need for a strong paternal government
- Canadians are law-abiding, deferant, cautious, prudent, elitist, moralistic, tolerant of
- the Canadian link to UK can be seen by its decision to declare war every time UK
- Until recently canadians were ruled by the British North America Act
- Canadians do not chant oath of allegiance to flag or salute it