INTRO TO AMERICAN POLITICS: WEEK ONE
ALL ABOUT GOVERNMENT:
Good government isn’t just about following the constitution; it’s about providing
safety, security and allowing freedom as well as coming in and supporting
citizens and states in a state of crisis.
I. STRESSED FUNDEMENTALS:
It is the government’s duty to establish order, laws and safety.
• Keeping our money safe
• Preventing monopolies (EX: AA merger with US Airways)
• Setting and enforcing the rules
• Keeping environment safe (global warming etc.)
• Power of defense – Keeping people safe, America safe
• Education (NCLB)
• Protection of minorities
• Roads and other public works
• Diplomacy; working w/ other countries (War and peace, trade)
• Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security (ObamaCare)
Used as safety net to prevent extreme poverty and
Where the government spends its money, time and energy changes throughout
the years and under certain presidencies. “To govern is to choose” – More so,
choose to where we spend our energy and the balance between policy areas.
II. NSA : NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCES
• Monitoring us (the people) – our calls, email etc.
• The extent – Unknown
• The reason – Preventative measures – prevent terrorism.
• Invasion of privacy
• Being deprived of our freedom
Protection comes at a price:
• How far will we go and how many freedoms will we give up for
• Surveillance: Safe, useful, however do we really want to be
monitored with every move?
III. HISTORY: Controversial Issues
• Progressive era – 20’s -30’s – Food safety INTRO TO AMERICAN POLITICS: WEEK ONE
• New Deal (30’s) – Welfare System
• Great Society Theory (60’s) – Food stamps and Medicare
• ObamaCare (2013)
- Should we cut back on food stamps?
- Should we smack down on Wall street matters?
Presidents can be surprising:
Nixon and the EPA
Bush and NCLB
IV. GROWING GOVERNMENT :
• Medical Marijuana
• Gay Relationships
• Growth of intl trade
• Aging population
• Terrorism – increase in homeland security
• Big business increase
• Prison issues
ORIGINS: CITY ON A HILL
The United States isn’t just a country; it’s a way of life. The American Creed is an
example for other countries.
I. IDEAS BEHIND THE US:
• Rights: Freedom to pursue your own religion, freedom of the press,
• Democracy: Holding elections not only for presidency but also for
congress, judges, mayor and sheriff. (Americans are asked to cote in
more elections than any other democracy.)
• Equality: Allowing everyone – regardless of race, religion and wealth to
do all things.
• British Heritage: Brought over and colonized by the first Americans – as
well as fighting for independence.
• Failure of socialism: Socialism is a huge point of contrast – most all
democracy’s used to be socialist. America was never like that, it never had
an aristocracy and people disagree racially. INTRO TO AMERICAN POLITICS: WEEK ONE
• Immigration: A country defined by a creed and with emphasis on support
for rights and individual rights and democracy.
• Slavery: Example of glaring contrasts between the American dream and
reality. Thomas Jefferson was a profound promoter of revolutions and
liberty, yet he was a slaveman.
“Those who yelp for liberty are the ones who drive the slaves…”
II. America’s definition of equality and values
• Equality before the government
• Equality of opportunity
Not in outcome: Everyone has the opportunity to be wealthy
however the outcome is unequal in terms of wealth and
• In regards to race, we did not have equality before the government and in
opportunity until after the civil war, technically.
• Basic Test of whether or not a country is a democracy: When all adult can
vote. America was not a real democracy until the voter’s right act --- 50
some years ago.
• Between blacks and women – equality in America was basically a joke.
• West coast – Japanese Americans were put into