About This Chapter
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How it works:
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Students will review:
This chapter helps students review the concepts in an American political culture, opinion and behavior unit of a standard American government course. Topics covered include:
- American political culture characteristics
- Public opinion factors and measurement
- American views of the political system
- Political socialization
- Costs and benefits of voting
- Political participation in the United States
- Alternative forms of political participation
1. What is American Political Culture?
The American political culture is a system of shared political traditions, customs, beliefs and values. This lesson discusses the characteristics of America's political culture and the factors that help shape it.
2. What is Public Opinion?
Public opinion is an expression of the general population's thoughts on a particular political issue. This lesson discusses the concept of public opinion and explores influences on public opinion.
3. The Measurement of Public Opinion
Public opinion is an expression of the general population's thoughts on a particular political issue. This lesson discusses the measurement of public opinion, including the development and use of opinion polling.
4. Frames of Reference: How America Views the Political System
Americans use a unique frame of reference to perceive and evaluate our political system. This lesson explores five common beliefs Americans hold about the American political system.
5. What is Political Socialization?
Political socialization is the process by which people form their ideas about politics. This lesson explains political socialization and discusses the means through which Americans form their political values.
6. Voting: Costs and Benefits
In a country as large as the United States, it's highly unlikely that one person's vote will decide the outcome of a presidential election. Does this mean the costs of voting outweigh the benefits? This lesson explores this question.
7. Political Participation in the United States: Influences & Voter Turnout
Despite an increase in the number of eligible voters, political participation in the United States seems to be on the decline. This lesson discusses influences on political participation and voter turnout.
8. Alternative Forms of Political Participation: Role & Types
Americans participate in government by voting, but they also participate in many other ways. This lesson discusses the role alternative forms of political participation play in our political involvement.
9. Brinkmanship: Definition & Policy
Through this lesson, you will learn about the controversial style of negotiation known as brinksmanship, and gain insight into how the tactic has been used as a form of governmental foreign policy.
10. Chief Diplomat: Definition, Role & Examples
Can you name the chief diplomat of the United States? Do you know what role this official plays on the world stage? In this lesson, you'll discover the identity of the chief diplomat, as well his or her importance and responsibilities.
11. Chief Legislator: Definition, Duties & Examples
The President of the United States has many official roles, and this lesson will cover one of these -- that of Chief Legislator. You will learn what that role is, the duties that it entails, and examples of how presidents have exercised this role.
12. Chief of State: Definition, Role & Examples
Learn about a government's chief of state and how the role varies from country to country depending on the type of government. When you are finished, take the quiz and see what you've learned.
13. Conference Committee: Definition & Examples
A conference committee is where the two houses of Congress come to an agreement on different versions of the same law that they have passed. We look at its processes and some examples.
14. Cooperative Federalism: Definition & Examples
Learn about cooperative federalism, a special relationship between the national government and state and local governments. Discover how this relationship works and what advantages and disadvantages it provides.
15. Gerrymandering: Definition, History, Types & Examples
Gerrymandering is the process of drawing congressional districts in a way that favors one political party or interest group. In this lesson, we'll consider examples of gerrymandering, some typical strategies, and gerrymandering's effect on elections.
16. Grassroots Lobbying: Definition and Mass Mobilization
Grassroots lobbying differs from other forms of lobbying in that it involves the mass mobilization of the public around a particular legislative issue. In this lesson, we'll explore the basics of grassroots organizing and some notable examples, after which you can test your knowledge of the subject with a brief quiz.
17. Isolationism: Definition, Policy & Examples
Isolationism can be found in many countries' histories, including the United States. There are many motives and methods for steering clear of entangling alliances, both military and commercial, even in a modern and interconnected age.
18. Political Action Committee (PAC): Definition, Laws & Examples
This lesson will define a political action committee, or PAC for short. Additionally, it will discuss the federal laws that govern how PACs operate and give examples of PACs.
19. Political Culture: Definition, Theory, Types & Examples
In this lesson, we'll be looking at political culture, including its basic definition and different theories and types. We'll also compare America's political culture with the political cultures of other countries, after which you'll have the chance to test your understanding of the topic with a short quiz.
20. Political Machine: Definition & History
The urban political machine dominated the American cityscape around the turn of the 20th century. In exchange for votes and support, the machine allied with both rich and poor in major urban areas. Learn more about it in this lesson.
21. States' Rights: Definition, Theory & Examples
The 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states that individual states have a mutually exclusive right to create and pass laws as long as there is no violation of a constitutional right. In this lesson, we will learn what states' rights are and how they came to be.
22. What Is Gun Control? - Facts, Laws, Pros & Cons
The topic of gun control often sparks furious debate, even among the closest of friends. This lesson explores the concept of gun control, the history of gun control legislation, and the arguments for and against restrictive gun laws.
23. What Is Homelessness? - Definition, Causes & Effects
Homelessness is explained in this lesson. We will cover the definition, as well as the causes and effects, of homelessness. A short quiz will follow the lesson.
24. What Is the Patriot Act? - Definition, Summary, Pros & Cons
Learn about the U.S. Patriot Act in this lesson. Review a summary of the Patriot Act and the key components of the law. Examine the pros and cons of the act to gain a thorough understanding of the law.
25. Thomas Nast: Cartoons, Biography & Quotes
Thomas Nast was a popular German-American artist, cartoonist, book illustrator, and caricaturist. He is known as the 'Father of the American Political Cartoon.'
26. What is a Caucus? - Definition & System
In this lesson, you will learn the meaning of the word ''caucus'' as it applies to legislative and electoral politics, as well as some details on the way caucuses function.
27. Political Satire: Definition & Examples
This lesson explores varieties of political satire throughout American history. We will look at film and television, illustrations, and print media in their historical and political context. We will examine Colonial, Progressive-era, and contemporary examples.
28. U.S. Wars: Timeline & History
In this lesson, we will learn about the major wars the United States has been involved in. We will identify the causes and highlight the central themes surrounding them.
29. Staggered Elections: Definition & Examples
In this lesson you will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of staggered elections. You will also learn about the shift towards declassified elections and current trends among company boards of directors.
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Other chapters within the American Government: Help and Review course
- Introduction to the Study of American Government: Help and Review
- The Study of American Government
- Different Forms of Government
- Constitutional Democracy: Help and Review
- Federalism in the United States: Help and Review
- Civil Liberties: Help and Review
- Civil Rights: Help and Review
- Comparative Law
- Political Parties in the United States Government: Help and Review
- Interest Groups and American Democracy: Help and Review
- The Media and American Democracy: Help and Review
- The Federal Bureaucracy in the United States: Help and Review
- The Presidency: Election, Powers, and Practice: Help and Review
- The Congress: Election, Powers, and Representation: Help and Review
- The Federal Judicial System: Help and Review
- The U.S. Federal Judicial System
- Public, Social, and Environmental Policy: Help and Review
- Economic and Fiscal Policy: Help and Review
- Foreign and Defense Policy: Help and Review