Thursday, February 3, 2011

The American Political Culture

By studying the American political culture we can learn how democratic revolutions can end well. Democracy is sustained not by its institutions but by culture.

Check out the video and tell us what you think about the American political culture and the likelihood that these democratic revolutions around the world today will end well.


  1. American political culture is a unique one considering that it encompasses every culture around the world allowing freedom of expression. Like Madison said in Federalist 10, factions are inevitable but with institutions they can be controlled. In today's society I feel the very institutions we have created are starting to wither just like the grassroots of America. Society is no longer about what we can do for this great country and instead about what can this country do for me. This new "me" generation has to change before it's too late.

  2. I definitely agree with the video about our political culture is being challenged from within. However, I think that our political culture has always been challenged from within, it's just becoming more apparent. We have been able to endure this challenge from within because we have a strong and developed political culture and government. In these revolutions, take Egypt, for example, I believe they lack a well rounded political culture. While I only know the basics of the revolution in Egypt, I think the simple fact that they have had the same leader for 30 years is the reason they lack a well rounded political culture. It seems as though it will definitely take a lot of foreign support for a new democratic government to remain in power. I don't mean economically, but more the backing of the new government by other countries. It also seems that for Egypt to get stable footing when a new government or leader comes to power, they need to stumble first and in the end, their political culture will become more developed.

    Erica Loken
    Conneen Period 1

  3. In terms of the American political culture, I think that many citizens do a very good job of upholding the five components of political culture. An iconic American today is an individual who upholds his rights and participates in expressing his political opinions and discussing ideas with others. This is evident just by listening to many conversations around school.
    As for the democratic revolutions happening around the world, I believe that it is still too early to tell how they will turn out. For history, we know that more revolutions fail than succeed. Those that do succeed often end up creating weak and corrupt governments that fail to uphold the original ideals of the revolutionists. Egypt, being in a politically volatile place like the Middle East, is in extreme danger of falling into chaos that could add to the problems already faced in the area.

    Ken Kancharla
    Conneen Period 1

  4. Sometimes I feel as if the majority of the American Public overlooks and takes for granted the political culture in the United States. Although at times, the video reinforced this belief, it also commented on how America is divided on political culture. It is my opinion that these culture wars, although costly and at time very wasteful, promote the very tenets of democracy. It allows the average citizen to participate, and further allows for all sides of the argument to be heard and ensures the best possible solution.
    It is the very fact that Americans have the comfort to speak out that is impressive. The right of free speech has been instilled in American citizens for 2 and a half centuries and thus no one thinks otherwise. However, in Egypt it is a different situation. They have gone from Colonial rule, to Nasser, to Sadat and then Mubarak. None of the former leaders of Egypt have fostered a sense of political culture that represents the individual or even liberty. For too long the Egyptians have experienced totalitarian regimes, and thus a democracy without a smoothe transition (especially a direct democracy) can lead to waves of fanaticism, fleeting passion, and eventually another totalitarian faction coming to power.
    Now with Mubarak out of power I personally believe that due to the lackluster political efficacy and non democratic political culture, the people of Egypt will either choose the path of religion or socialism. Too many people were too poor under the old regimes, and similar to the french revolution the oppressed many will fall into the trap of false promises of wealth and equality.

  5. i believe the statement of how the root of our culture is maintained by solidarity is a crucial and true statement. in a society were everyone judges everyone, no one wants to be the outcast let alone be alienated from the majority. on behalf of this statement, there are two type of people in the world. there are those who ride the waves and flow with the flow and there are those that fight the currents and break the barriers. most people are the surfers cruising with the flow. therefore, our culture is embedded in solidarity.

    brian m. kim
    period 1