Paper Sample. The American Government and Civic Engagement

Published: 2023-04-23
Paper Sample. The American Government and Civic Engagement
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Politics Democracy Community
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 563 words
5 min read

From the first chapter of the American government, I learned the definition a lot on what the government entails, who governs it, and the required engagements in practicing democracy. It is the role of the government to ensure the state is stable and also avail essential services such as free public education, mail delivery, police, and fire services (Krutz and Waskiewicz, 2016). It is the role of the government to conduct regulation on access to certain goods like land for the benefit of all. It maintains its democracy by allowing the people to make their opinions and needs known to public officials. I did not like a set up of an oligarchy government which is only dominated by a very small group of people. I liked the existence of a structure that allows the people to elect representatives who make political decisions on their behalf.

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On who governs, I learned about the existence of elitism versus pluralism. I found the two theories to be confusing as they both seem to hold many facts, and it is difficult to comprehend which theory correctly defines the government. The elite theory claims that a specific set of elites is in charge of the U.S. government, and the other citizens have no influence. This is elites from the military, political, and business fields. These persons are educated and graduated from the most prestigious universities. They use their power to control the economy of the nation so that they can deter the economic advancement of those that are below them. They make decisions and allocate resources with their benefits at heart and not that of the other citizens. The pluralist theory contrasts the elite theory claiming that power is in the people who have a competing interest and have a share in how they influence the government. From the pluralist point of view, citizens get involved in government operations because it has a good number of access points. Pluralists argue that power is distributed throughout society.

I found the tradeoffs very interesting. Despite the existing contradiction between the elites and pluralists who control the government, in reality, tradeoffs influence public policy and government action (Krutz and Waskiewicz, 2016). The influence of both the elites and the people lead to changes in the government; therefore, the need for compromises to please both groups.

I learned that democracy is essential; it gives room for all people to participate in government activities. Politicians know about their peoples' needs and want through political and civic engagement. This helps to improve the lives of the people and also build connections amongst them. People can work together to request something or defy the existence of law for the greater good of the public. Concerning the pluralist theory, for the government to function well, it relies on the active participation of the citizens.

Participation in also government matters a lot. People may not achieve 100% of their needs, but they can achieve many things and improve their living standards. However, Putman, a political scientist, has argued that civic engagement is declining. He argues that social capital is declining. Most people are reported to be in groups, but the groups are large and impersonal. This means that they do not interact with all members. The younger generation has little or no interest in political affairs.


Krutz, G. S., & Waskiewicz, D. (2016). American Government. OpenStax College. Rice University.

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