Definition of political culture contains many aspects. It is an establishment of mutual values, views, and customs relating to the ways that political and economic life should be carried out. Also, it explains the connection of citizens to the government, economy, as well as their relation to one another.
Similarly, it is usually consensual because America has an expansive base of mutual political principles and experiences fewer conflicts. The struggles usually take place because Americans differ on the ways of enactment of the shared political values and not on the fundamental beliefs themselves. Numerous essential features have branded the American political culture. These principles comprise of liberty, equality, democracy, and individualism, the rule of law, nationalism, capitalism, unity, diversity, and civic duty.
Liberty is one of the fundamental components describing the American political culture. Fight for freedom was a catalyst for the American Revolution and thus became the reason of the U.S. independence. Liberty is known as a right of the people to do what they want. It refers to the belief of being free as long as other persons’ privileges are not neglected or affected. The United States Constitution outlines the government organization, as the Bill of Rights assures some of the nation explicit liberties.
Individuals should have freedom to control their financial affairs without let or hindrance from the government. This right has had impact on the origin and development of the American economic system. In the 19th century, the American economy was founded on laissez-faire capitalism, a monetary assembly in which the administration played almost no part in creating, dispensing, or regulating the manufacture and supply of goods. It is nevertheless important to note that nowadays people need some governmental involvement in the economy although to be partial in range.
All Americans have the same essential rights regardless of the poverty rate or differences in cultural upbringing. Although no two individuals are same, under the American law they are considered equal. The fundamental beliefs in equality of opportunity and fair handling have significantly influenced the political system. Political equality holds that everybody is treated equally in the political arena. Everyone has the same standing under the law. Every person is eligible to legal representation and gets equal treatment under the law.
People are to follow the rules irrespective of race, religion, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. In return, the laws are effective and functional for every citizen. Political equality is referred to as equality of opportunity in the American political culture. According to it, all the Americans have the same chances to contest and succeed in this sphere. Many Americans trust that a person could prosper and be successful albeit their social or financial status, descent or ethnicity. The actions opposing equality of outcome are considered discriminating.
In the process of offering the same results to the people, many industrious and gifted people do not get the victory they merit, as some people are more endowed and diligent than others. Regardless of the political leaders trying to level the playing field so that everyone has equal prospects to be successful, many open-minded social policy activists believe that Americans do not have equal opportunities to succeed. Women are still underpaid as compared with men despite being engaged in related careers, and the matter of education of the African Americans pose the challenge, too. For this reason, equality does not interpret to total fairness.
As per this notion, humans are considered to have free will to make selections, join or decline to join groups at their wish. People can make choices that they consider right for themselves, irrespective of what other people think. It is declared that the life of a person belongs to no one but to them. Americans value individualism and admire people of liberated minds who make independent choices.
Before the American Revolution, the safeguarding of individual rights was a hallmark of the American politics. The individual’s rights are above those of the state. Personal accountability and inventiveness are intensely encouraged. Below the American system of government and administrative culture, rugged individualism is an epitome of these principles. Individuals have both rights and accountabilities.
This value is related to the faith in the mutual understanding of people and their capacity of caring for themselves and deciding on their government leaders, too. Rugged characters are those who disregard humanity’s desires and act at their wish. It is well-known that conformism is mutual even in social equality as people attempt to be the same. Similarly, it is vital for the American civil society despite clashing with the ideal of independence.
Irrespective of some present undesirable approaches towards the government, most Americans are proud of their past. They incline to de-emphasize difficulties such as intolerance to army impediments. This value lies in the belief that America is more robust and developed as compared with other countries.
Every American knows and respects their right to possess private property and contest without restrictions in open markets where government intrusion is negligible. Before the late 1800s, most individual fortunes were founded on land ownership. Capitalism obligation became an extra shared political value during the Industrial Revolution supplementing autonomy and independence.
Democracy empowers the society to exercise their supremacy over the government. In America, the citizens are accountable for electing their officials under no duress from any source. On the same note, the designated administrators ought to report to the citizens. Most Americans support strategies that endorse democracy because they believe it is the preeminent method of governance. The American administrative culture depends on majority rule as a significant standard of justice. Essentially, the political leaders who win the majority of votes get the opportunity to run the country.
Likewise, in order for a bill to pass it necessitates the support of the majority of members of the Congress. Under democracy, protection of minority rights is emphasized. The majority rule must not domineer the rights of the minority without counting on substantial reasons. A democratic system calls for representation of all citizens without discriminating their rights and values. America’s efficacious democracy increases the people’s prospects to make a living and not to hinder others’ determinations.
Rule of Law
According to the American political culture, the government ought to be founded on the body of law equally, fairly, and impartially applicable to all the people. Rule of law is in conflict with individual’s rule, as a ruler should not execute their laws and do whatever they wish without consulting with people. Typically, a leader should not use dictatorship means to run the people.
Unity and Diversity
The American political culture embraces national unity. Even though the politicians and the citizens have different opinions on certain issues, they support the country. For instance, in 2005, the volunteer leaders assembled the country by appealing to common feelings of nationalism after the destructions brought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Extensively, Americans have diverse cultural traditions, views, and creeds, but most of them take pride in their heritage and cultural history. Some groups eventually may feel left out because the majority of the American culture stems from the Western European cultures. Multiculturalism is assisting Americans to appreciate one another’s cultures.
Americans are sure that they ought to take part in local affairs and aid out if possible. In the 19th century, it was realizable because Americans had a strong sense of community and individual accountability to support community efforts. Currently, the meaning of community is not as strong as before. Lack of civic duty contributes to falling of American political culture.
Difficulties Associated with American Political Culture
The American political culture has its own difficulties connected with the distrust of the government, the culture wars, political tolerance, and inequality.
Distrust of the Government
Since mid-1960s, credibility of the government and its officials has significantly declined. Most of the Americans are articulating repugnance for politics and politicians. The distrust of government has contributed decidedly to a drop in political efficacy. Significantly, political efficacy comprises of internal and external efficiency. Internal efficiency is a capability to comprehend and take part in administrative matters. Education level and age predispose internal effectiveness.
External efficiency, in turn, is the confidence of people that the government will react to their private requests. Americans consider that the government is not receptive to the voters. They also believe that the most of the political officials function without much concern for beliefs and opinions of ordinary people. Americans have concluded that the government is too numerous and pervasive to be sensitive to individual citizens. Citizens have distrust to centralization of power and federal system.
Inequality entails discrimination of individual groups in the society. In the American political culture, political fairness is more than the economic impartiality. There is a struggle between liberty connected with entrepreneurship and equality related to democracy. Also, it is important to remember that not al the American society falls under the middle class.
Disparity of proceeds and wealth is a source of political conflicts. Wealth is much more unequally distributed than income. Finally, realization of equality of opportunities to different classes of citizens is becoming a difficulty.
Americans share broad cultural and political values. Culture wars depend on individual and group distinctiveness. According to Florina, Abrams, and Pope (2011), “Two cultural camps have advanced in America since mid-20th century. The two camps were the orthodox and progressive. These two social classes continuously combat with one another over standards.” The conventional trust in that morality is more significant than individualism with static God-given regulations. They are associated with fundamentalist Protestants.
The progressive people believe that individual self-determination is more vital than custom with varying guidelines and clich?s grounded in situations of contemporary life. Putnam and Campbell (2012) state, “The country has hence split on the basis of political matters such as gay rights, violence, and drug abuse. These culture wars occurred both between and within sacred denominations.”
Political tolerance permits the citizens to be open-minded to the beliefs and actions of the others. In most cases, people have to tolerate the laws made by the rulers. American political system demonstrates tolerance to different representatives of the U.S. society in paper, but denies their rights in concrete cases. According to Oxtoby and Segal (2011), “Most are willing to allow expression by those with whom they disagree. In this case, most of the Americans agree with freedoms of speech and religion.”
On the other hand, most people do not like one or another group intensely enough to repudiate their certain political rights. People are enthusiastic to deny human rights to individuals on the conflicting end of the political range. For instance, liberals are mostly expected to deny the rights of right-wing groups.
In conclusion, the American political culture explains political approaches, organizations, and events that are mainly valued in the American society. Countless political debates tend to be related to the popularity of certain political decisions and not by their significance. It is evident that the American political culture has changed over the years, but in many ways it has stayed remarkably the same. These variations are a product of numerous historical, socio-economic, cultural, and ethnic aspects. For this reason, in understanding of the American political culture, the setup of the country’s government and policy choices made by its leaders are clearly explained.