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Friday, September 18, 2015

American Government and History for International Students

Ways in which America is different 


US stands out as rich nation highly religious

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." -- George Washington, 1796  Farewell Address

Similarly, see percentage who think that belief in God is necessary for morality:

Wealth and Attitudes Toward Morality

Being "truly American:


"Nothing is more annoying ... than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A foreigner will gladly agree to praise much in their country, but he would like to be allowed to criticize something, and that he is absolutely refused."  -- Tocqueville, Democracy in America

More than six in ten (62%) Americans believe that God has granted America a special role in human history, while roughly one-third (33%) disagree. Views have not shifted significantly in recent years. In 2012, an identical number of Americans (62%) agreed that the U.S. was granted a special role in human history. There are sharp differences on this question by political ideology and religious affiliation.
Conservatives are nearly twice as likely as liberals to agree that God has granted the U.S. a special role in human history—80% of conservatives and only 45% of liberals agree with this statement. Half (50%) of liberals reject the notion that the country has a divinely sanctioned role in human history.
White evangelical Protestants are unique among religious Americans in their affirmation of American exceptionalism. More than eight in ten (83%) white evangelical Protestants agree that God has granted the country a special role in human history. Seven in ten non-white Protestants (73%) and Catholics (70%) and a majority (56%) of white mainline Protestants also believe in a divinely chosen role for the U.S. In contrast, a majority (53%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans disagree that God granted the U.S. a special role, compared to fewer than four in ten (39%) who agree.
More than eight in ten (83%) Americans say that it is important to publicly show support for the U.S. by doing things such as displaying the American flag; only 14% of the public disagree. Across political and religious spectrums, Americans embrace the importance of public demonstrations of patriotism.

Americans Stand Out on Individualism

Self-described socialists should beware:

Between now and the 2016 political conventions, there will be discussion about the qualifications of presidential candidates -- their education, age, religion, race and so on. If your party nominated a generally well-qualified person for president who happened to be _____, would you vote for that person? June 2015 results

The self-made man:  Alexander Hamilton as immigrant and American hero.


Ranking Presidents

The Separation of Powers:

Congress and Bicameralism:


Federalism:  about 89,000 governments and about 513,000 elected officials

Federalism and ballot complexity

Partisan Polarization

Parties and Campaigns:

"Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters." --Frederick Douglass

Free Speech:  the Unusual First Amendment