US political system

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QueenFisher
i read a book recently that was based on politics in america (a fiction book), and i wondered if anyone knows of any good sort of general introductory books an american politics? like, the election system, congress, the senate, that kind of thing.
 

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Alexis de Toqueville's Democracy in America
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Add the Federalist Papers to that.
 
  • #5
SOS2008
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After you read the founding papers and how the American system is supposed to work, I'll be glad to refer you to reading on how the system really is now.
 
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SOS2008 said:
After you read the founding papers and how the American system is supposed to work, I'll be glad to refer you to reading on how the system really is now.
You gotta start out with the fairy-tale version of America, otherwise, how are you supposed to understand what everyone's supposedly striving for?

Though, of course, the current U.S. government and population has different ideals than did those who set it up in the late 1700's. But then, even George Washington's administration was accused of violating the Constitution and abandoning American ideals.

One of the main things about our founding documents, however, is that they're made to be flexible, and made to be ambiguous. Our Founders knew there'd be lots of changes in the future, and set up the U.S.A. so that it would be flexible and able to grow into whatever it needed to be.

But besides all that ideological crap, there's also plain illegal and immoral stuff going on, just as there is in any government.
 
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selfAdjoint
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Well, the founding documents were all by, and about, white men. Nothing about their wives, slaves, the native americans who were in their expansionist way, etc.

We've had a Civil War, Women's Lib, and are currently in a scandal involving a lobbyist for some of the tribes. None of this could be deduced from the founding documents, and the idea that reading them will greatly inform anyone about how politics works today is just silly, or idealistic. And the idea that we SHOULD behave the way Madison dreamed we might (absent all those ignored people) in the agrarian pre-industrial world he lived in is even worse!
 
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I'd rather live according to Madison than Madison Avenue.
 
  • #9
SOS2008
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selfAdjoint said:
Well, the founding documents were all by, and about, white men. Nothing about their wives, slaves, the native americans who were in their expansionist way, etc.

We've had a Civil War, Women's Lib, and are currently in a scandal involving a lobbyist for some of the tribes. None of this could be deduced from the founding documents, and the idea that reading them will greatly inform anyone about how politics works today is just silly, or idealistic. And the idea that we SHOULD behave the way Madison dreamed we might (absent all those ignored people) in the agrarian pre-industrial world he lived in is even worse!
True. At the current time I am most concerned about checks and balances as it applies to protection of civil liberties and minority rights:

Constitutionalism is the idea, often associated with the political theories of John Locke and the "founders" of the American republic, and equated with the concept of the "Rule of Law", that government can and should be legally limited in its powers, and that its authority depends on enforcing these limitations.
http://www.constitution.org/constitutionalism.htm
 
  • #10
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WarrenPlatts said:
Alexis de Toqueville's Democracy in America
Ditto on Toqueville. But don't expect an objective description though, it presents a specific viewpoint, that of a 'progressive aristocrat' from the age of emerging (classical) liberalism. This is valuable though because he really raises a lot of questions and thoughts on the US political system and culture.

Tocqueville was one of the first European Academics to take the US seriously. He had some great insights.
 
  • #11
QueenFisher said:
i read a book recently that was based on politics in america (a fiction book), and i wondered if anyone knows of any good sort of general introductory books an american politics? like, the election system, congress, the senate, that kind of thing.
You might try Wikipedia.
 
  • #12
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selfAdjoint said:
Well, the founding documents were all by, and about, white men. Nothing about their wives, slaves, the native americans who were in their expansionist way, etc.

We've had a Civil War, Women's Lib, and are currently in a scandal involving a lobbyist for some of the tribes. None of this could be deduced from the founding documents, and the idea that reading them will greatly inform anyone about how politics works today is just silly, or idealistic. And the idea that we SHOULD behave the way Madison dreamed we might (absent all those ignored people) in the agrarian pre-industrial world he lived in is even worse!
Well, there was something about slaves. 3/5 comprimise, and the thing about no new slaves being imported after 1810 or something.

And of course it's different today than it was then, but those are still the basis of American history, whether you like it or not, whether they were fair/good/proper/racist/evil, they are the basis of everything.
 

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