|Reading Questions for Chapter Four
1. What are the elements that the book identifies with our political culture? Do you agree? Think about it, but don’t bother writing anything down unless you enjoy doing so.
2. What is the difference between equality of opportunity and equality of results?
3. What difference does our American political culture have with other countries’ political cultures? (Use bullet points)
4. Summarize (you can use bullet points) what the book says about the “culture war” in America.
5. What is the difference between internal and external efficacy? Look at Figure 4.2 on p. 95 and decide if you agree or disagree with these statements.
6. As you read through the rest of the chapter, think about how you’d answer the questions asked in Figures 4.3 to 4.5.
Reading Questions for Chapter Five
1. What was the Founders’ attitude towards public opinion? Give examples of how we see that attitude reflected in how they wrote the Constitution.
2. Identify three problems in assessing public opinion.
3. The book gives four factors that affect political attitudes. Identify those four factors and summarize the conclusions about how those factors affect people’s political attitudes. Memorize this list.
4. The book gives three factors that divide people’s political beliefs. Identify those three factors and summarize the conclusions about the correlation between these factors and people’s political opinions. Memorize this.
5. What were the meanings of the words “liberal” and “conservative” in the 19th century and how did these meanings change in the 20th century?
6. Summarize the four ideological labels the authors describe on pp. 122-23. Feel free to use a chart or bullet points for your summary.
7 What are the two reasons the book gives why activists or the political elite tend to have more ideological consistency than those who aren’t active? What effect does this ideological consistency have on the difference ideologically between politicians and voters?
8 What does the term “new class” mean? What political ideology to those in the “new class” ascribe to? Why?
9. How do elites influence public opinion? What are the limits to their ability to shape public opinion?
Reading Questions for Chapter Six
1. Why does the book say that it is incorrect to say that Americans don’t vote as a result of apathy?
2. What did Congress pass to increase voter participation and what has been the result of that law?
3. How did states try to keep blacks from voting? Summarize those tactics and how they gradually were changed. Make sure you know what a literacy test, poll tax, grandfather clause, and the white primary were.
4. What political effects have there been since the Nineteenth and Twenty-sixth Amendments?
5. Summarize the arguments as to why voter turnout has declined. (a bullet –list is fine). Read carefully the green box on p. 137.
6. Make a list of the generalizations that the book makes (p. 138-9) about which groups tend to be more or less likely to vote. Memorize this list..
7. Summarize the five reasons the book gives for why Americans register and vote less frequently.