The United States of America The United States of America

The United States of America - PowerPoint Presentation

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Uploaded On 2019-02-25

The United States of America - PPT Presentation

Case Study Sample United States Government Basics Republican government with 3 coequal branches Legislative Executive Judicial Branches Power shared between central government United States of America based in Washington DC and 50 subnational governments or states dividing the ID: 753830

united states policy amp states united amp policy economy international state political groups parties government govt national control congress




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The United States of America

Case Study SampleSlide2

United States

Government Basics

Republican government with 3 coequal branches: Legislative, Executive, Judicial


Power shared between central government: “United States of America” based in Washington DC and 50 subnational governments or “states” dividing the territory and population unequally


United States




largest country by land mass

Land mass

Vast resources including: farmland, oil, coal,


Covers half of North America, low population density

Stretches from Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean

2 states isolated and several “territories” controlled overseasSlide4

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United States



United States



Development of the State

United States Slide8

United States

Critical Junctures

English colonies fight war to break away from British control

American Revolution

Initial experiments with confederation prevent govt from implementing foreign or economic policy

US Constitution in 1788 gives commercial & foreign policy powers to a national govt while protecting states sovereignty for local policies

Created independent executive, independent judiciary, & elected legislature, with limits on citizen controlSlide9

United States

Critical Junctures

Fought over question of whether states or national govt was dominant

Civil War

States thought they could reject laws,

Results established national citizenship that was enforceable in states through 14



Extended the protections of civil liberties to the states as well as national govt & granted suffrage to African AmericansSlide10

United States

Critical Junctures

Response to Great Depression was to expand regulation of business

New Deal

Established several social expenditures

Includes Social Security to benefit elderly, several programs to benefit the poor and working classes

Established dominance of national government in provided services to people over the statesSlide11

United States

Critical Junctures

From 1968 national govt power routinely divided between 2 parties

Divided Govt.

Increases inefficiency and public distrust

Only 5 times since ‘68 has one party controlled presidency and both houses of Congress

Correlated to increased polarization of public political beliefs

Increased focus by interest groups and parties on the few seats that switch from one party to the otherSlide12

United States

Critical Junctures

After 2001 attacks, public support led to increased law enforcement powers

Sept 11 Attacks

Expanded ability to conduct surveillance

Initial international response got widespread global support

As responses expanded, US began to face opposition from its allies Slide13

Governing & Administration

United States Slide14

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State Organization


A central government operates independently of the states

US Constitution sets up 3 branches & is difficult to amend

Constitution designed a government with clear limits

Designed to be inefficient in policy making – each branch against othersSlide15

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Indirectly elected executive

Both head of state and head of govt

Relies on Congress to implement his agenda, cannot control Congress



Century presidents made use of “bully pulpit” – ability to address nation directly through media

Heads a growing federal bureaucracySlide16

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Senior administrators appointed by the president

Has no actual legal standing

Oversees 15 departments of bureaucracy of 2 million civil servantsSlide17

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Day to day operations of executive branch

Independent – not directly controlled by president or Congress

Indirectly controlled by Congress who approves their budgets

Often characterized by iron triangle relationships with interest groups and CongressSlide18

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Other Institutions


1.4 million active duty personnel

President is commander in chief

Commanded by non political officer corps

Many of its roles have been transferred to private firms who work under Department of Defense contractsSlide19

United States

Other Institutions

National Security

Department of Homeland Security coordinates domestic security agencies

Director of National Intelligence – oversees collaboration among intelligence gathering agenciesSlide20

United States

Other Institutions


Review the constitutionality of the acts of government

Relies on the other branches to implement its decisions

Limits standing – right to bring a suit – to those directly involved in action

Serve as venue for groups neglected by democratically elected institutionsSlide21

United States

Other Institutions

Subnational Units

State governments provide services to people more directly

Have ability to experiment with new policies

Local governments are created by the states & can be eliminated

States & local govts have different resources (often based on property taxes)

Leads to vastly different versions of the same services in different statesSlide22

Policy Making

United States Slide23

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Making Process


Congress has ability to pass policy into law

President plays a role in proposing policies in his annual report

Courts play a role in some policy creation, but are more likely to block policies

Political parties and interest groups developed to formulate and suggest policies Slide24

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Making Process


Politicians identify policy problems

President attempts to control agenda

Congress drafts policy – often with input from interest groups

Policy passed by Congress and approved by president

Ongoing policy evaluation by groups and mediaSlide25


United States Slide26

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House of Representatives allocated by population

Senate gives equal representation for each state

Most commonly made up of highly educated lawyers

House has shorter terms and is more responsive to the peopleSlide27

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Main powers are legislation and oversight

Control the appropriation of funds for programs each year

Crafts policy through complicated processes

Monitors the implementation of policy by bureaucracySlide28

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Led by Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader

Both have control over deciding which bills receive hearings

Have more control over design and oversight of policy than members of European parliamentsSlide29



United States Slide30

United States

State & Economy

Free market

Laissez faire

The private sector drives economic growth

The absence of government regulation gives entrepreneurs more opportunity to build the nation’s economy

State management of the economy is limited to protecting property rights and enforcement of contractsSlide31

United States

State & Economy

Regulate interstate commerce

Federal govt has this authority, state & local govts are limited in their ability to regulate the economy

Tries to encourage growth in new industries

Guarantees minimum prices for agricultural commoditiesSlide32

United States

State & Economy

Central Banking

The Federal Reserve Board – removed control of the money supply from elected leaders

Control the amount of money in circulation and interest rates

Can buy/sell bonds or alter interest rates to stimulate or discourage consumer demand in economySlide33

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State & Economy

Promotion of industries

Govt promoted agriculture & industry

Used tariffs to help US products

Built roads and canals to move goods efficiently

More recently, used military force to establish & maintain markets for US produced commodities Slide34

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State & Economy

International economics

Runs large trade deficits – imports way more than it exports

In most states this would cause the dollar to lose some value

The US dollar is the international reserve currency

This increases demand for the dollarSlide35

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Society & Economy

Wealth Distribution

Distribution of wealth & income more unequal in US than other advanced democracies

US tolerates this and politically, gap is used as “incentive” for people at low end

Tax cuts in early 2000s were put in place by Republicans but reauthorized by Democrats – benefitted richest Americans mostly Slide36

United States

Society & Economy


Taxing is progressive – higher incomes pay a higher percentage

Rates range from 0% to 35%

Each worker pays regressive Social Security taxes (Higher % of low incomes)

State & local taxes funded by regressive sales taxes & property taxesSlide37

United States

Society & Economy

Distributive Policies

Redistributive Policies

Allocate resources to an area that needs to be promoted without impact on income or wealth distribution

Take resources from one group in society and allocate them to a more disadvantaged group in society

Building schools

Health insurance for the poorSlide38

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Society & Economy

Worker protections

Social Security – income for elderly

Medicare – health care for elderly

Minimum wage laws

Unemployment insurance

Insurance against workplace injuries

Social welfare programs Slide39

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Global Economy

International organizations

After WW2, shifted from isolationism to leading role in regulating international economy

Bretton Woods Agreement – set up World Bank & International

Monetary Fund

Regional trade networks – NAFTA

Dominates the international lending agencies, regional defense agencies, and trade organizations – allowing it to play large role in international political economySlide40


United States Slide41

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Political Parties

@Two Party System

Result of nation’s political culture and structure of its election systems

Coalitions of groups fall into two groups

Plurality elections reward large coalition parties and hurt single issue parties

Parties must have national presence and infrastructure to compete in more than 600,000 electionsSlide42

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Political Parties



A coalition of upper income voters, social conservatives, business owners, rural residents, and evangelical Christians

A coalition of urban populations, the elderly, racial & ethnic minorities, unionized labor, and women

Have been unsuccessful increasing support among minority communities

Have been unsuccessful in turning out the vote among their coalition

Coalition more fragile because fiscal conservatives and moral conservatives battle for direction of partySlide43

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How they work

Follow a regular schedule

States make rules for how elections are conducted and who can participate

States handle voter registration – registration requirement decreases participation

Federal govt forced states to expand the electorate over time

Significantly less turnout in local electionsSlide44

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Political Culture



Focus on freedom from restrictions imposed by the government

Emphasis on economic liberty and free enterprise

Equality of opportunity, not equality of result

Even excluded groups over time used equality to organize and demand policy changesSlide45

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Interest Groups

What they do


Citizens organize into groups that can advocate for policy changes

They use money and professional staff instead of volunteers

Make financial contributions to candidates and political parties

Want to get like minded individuals in office, or make those in office more willing to adopt their policy stancesSlide46


Political Issues

United States Slide47

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Current Challenges

Minority participation

Much lower share of minority participants in election than the population

“regular voter pool” dominated by older white voters

Latinos are 15% of electorate but 7% of the voters in 2008

African Americans 13% of electorate but 12% of vote in 2008 – which was exception to normal patternSlide48

United States

Current Challenges

Changing international role

Must balance their objectives with obligations to international organizations

Domestic institutions hamper quick responses by US, & citizenry doesn’t care much about foreign policySlide49

United States

Current Challenges

Commitment to helping poor

Much reduced in era of divided government

Cost of maintaining programs including Social Security are putting long term burden on federal budgetSlide50

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Political Parties

Community level politics has been in decline since 1950s

Parties which help unify popular opinion and force compromise

are in decline

Being replaced by interest groups who do not seek compromise and promote narrow interests

Citizen participation is becoming more selective & linkages are becoming less broadly basedSlide51

Wrap Up

States Slide52

Main Ideas

United States

Domestic Political Institutions

Remember this… PLEASE

Transitioning Mediating Institutions

Domestic policy making structure

Vs. international role