WE THE PEOPLE OUTLINE
I. American Political Culture: Seeking A More Perfect Union
a. The frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to see that major tendencies in American politics cannot be understood without taking into account the country's core beliefs. “Habits of the heart” was Tocqueville's description of American's ingrained ideals.”
b. The American political culture centers on a set of core ideals-liberty, equality, and self government that serves as the people's common bond.
1. These mythic principles have a substantial influence on what Americans will regard as reasonable and acceptable and on what they will try to achieve.
c. Politics is the process that determines whose values will prevail in society. The play of politics in the U.S. takes place in the context of democratic procedures, constitutionalism, and capitalism and involves elements of majority, pluralist, bureaucratic, and elitist rule.
d. Politics in the United States is characterized by a number of major patterns. These include a division of governing authority, a high degree of pluralism, an extraordinary emphasis on individual rights, and a substantial separation of the political and economic spheres.
II. Political Culture: The Core Principles Of American Government
a. Americans are not linked by a shared ancestry but by allegiance to a common set of ideals. These ideals are habits of mind, a customary way of thinking about the world.
1. They are part of what social scientists call political culture, a term that refers to characteristic and deep seated beliefs of a particular people about government and politics.
b. The settlers were not trying to invent a wholly new way of life, their goals were shaped by their European experiences, which included a centuries old tradition of aristocratic rule. There was in America no hereditary nobility that controlled nearly all the power and land.
c. The American Revolution was the first successful large scale rebellion...