Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  • Understand the nature of politics, government, and citizenship.
  • Differentiate among the types of democracies that exist in the world and identify the qualities that make a government truly democratic.
  • Examine the functions of government as well as some of the challenges and controversies that affect its ability to perform each function effectively.
  • Identify the four basic American values and describe how these values help to define the character of American politics.
  • Explore the primary political ideologies that have helped to inform contemporary political discourse in the United States.
  • Understand how comparison and historical analysis can deepen our understanding of American politics.