Define political culture and discuss the central elements

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Define political culture and discuss the central elements

The political culture refers to a nation’s fundamental, deeply-rooted beliefs and values about politics and the role of government in society. In the U.S., the nation’s political culture is quite distinct from other countries of the world, to the extent that America is frequently viewed as the “exceptional” country. Hence, the term “exceptionalism” is often used to describe the American national identity. The political culture is the glue that binds a diverse people under one set of common ideals.

However, American political culture is in crisis. Recall from the class syllabus, “America today is in a very unusual period, one that’s placing significant stress on the ideals of mutual respect, toleration, and also shared community and national identity (e pluribus unum). Cultural breakdown and also political polarization are key phenomena creating a politics of division as significant as other crisis periods of American history…”

The sources for your discussion are Ginsberg, et al., We the People
(Links to an external site.)
, chapter 1 (pages 16 to 24), “America Is Built on the Ideas of Liberty, Equality, Democracy,” and also the class handout on “Individualism

” (in PDF). You may reference this video as well, “What Makes America Different?”

What Makes America Different?
(Links to an external site.)

Use only the sources provided here.


Your essay should respond to each of the following three discussion prompts:

1. Firstly, define political culture and discuss the central elements (“fundamental values”) of the American political system as identified in the textbook, in the section headlined, “America Is Built on the Ideas of Liberty, Equality, Democracy
(Links to an external site.)
,” on pages 16-24. There are eight (8) key elements highlight in bold, for example, “liberty.” Define terms and concepts and compare and contrast those that may seem contradictory. (Worth 25 percent of the essay.*)

2.  Secondly, define “individualism
” and explain how individualism relates to liberty and why it is central to understanding Americans’ views on the outcomes of public policies like education and also welfare (Worth 25 percent of the essay.*)

3. Thirdly, provide your own analysis of the political culture today, and especially your own analysis of the challenges to our unity as a people.  WHY has national unity collapsed? Explain why. Be specific. List and discuss factors leading to cultural breakdown, for example, anger at the political establishment

(especially among activist Democrats, who hate America),  and the rejection of religious faith among younger people
These examples aren’t exclusive. Lastly, what else might explain our divisions over core values? What does it mean to be American today? (Worth 50 percent of the essay.*)