4.8 Ideology and Policy Making

5 min readfebruary 12, 2023


Isabela Padilha Vilela



AP US Government 👩🏾‍⚖️

240 resources
See Units

Diversity and Policy

The United States is often considered a melting pot of cultures and ideas due to the diverse backgrounds of its citizens. This diversity is reflected in the attitudes and beliefs of individuals who choose to participate in politics. As a result, public policies generated at any given time reflect these attitudes and beliefs. For example, in the early 1900s, the United States underwent significant social and political change. The progressive era, characterized by a push for reform, resulted in implementing of policies that helped improve people's lives. These policies included things like a federal income tax, the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, and laws against child labor. This shows that when people from diverse backgrounds participate in politics, they can positively impact society.
For instance, women, who were pushing for more excellent political representation and rights, played a key role in the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. African Americans, who were fighting for equal rights and against racial discrimination, helped to bring about reforms such as anti-lynching laws and anti-segregation legislation. Workers, who were advocating for better working conditions and fair wages, helped to establish policies such as the eight-hour workday and workplace safety standards. The different communities in the United States have different needs and priorities, and it is important for those communities to be represented in politics, so their needs are taken into account when policies are created. For example, people living in cities may have different needs than those living in rural areas. In cities, policies may focus on affordable housing and transportation, while in rural areas, policies may focus on supporting agriculture and preserving natural resources. Unfortunately, not all groups in the United States are equally represented in politics. Some groups, like people of color and marginalized communities, are underrepresented, and their opinions and needs may not be considered when policies are created. This is why it is important for everyone to participate in politics and make their voices heard. The opinions and needs of the general population may also be influenced by special interest groups, which are organizations that work to advance their own goals and interests. Their success is possible because they are often well-organized, have access to significant resources, have a specific agenda on which they focus these resources, and utilize their connections with politicians. These groups can have a lot of power and influence in the political process, which can result in policies that do not reflect most people's opinions.
However, it is essential to note that special interest groups also provide a valuable role in representing diverse perspectives and advocating for specific interests. They help to ensure that the needs and priorities of different communities are heard and considered in the policymaking process. The key is to ensure that the political process remains inclusive and that the interests of all groups are taken into account, rather than being dominated by the interests of a few powerful special interest groups.

Individual Liberty vs. Stabilty and Order

The balancing dynamic of individual liberty and government efforts to promote stability and order has been a central theme in policy debates and outcomes over time in the United States. This dynamic has shaped the evolution of public policies and has resulted in a complex and ever-changing interplay between individual freedoms and government authority.
Throughout American history, policy debates have often centered on questions about the proper balance between individual liberty and government efforts to promote stability and order. For example, the expansion of voting rights and the protection of civil liberties during times of war are all examples of how this dynamic has played out in policy debates. In the case of voting rights, in the past, they were restricted based on factors such as race, gender, and property ownership. The debates over voting rights centered around whether these restrictions were justifiable in the name of stability and order. The eventual expansion of voting rights, including the granting of suffrage to women and minorities, demonstrates a shift towards greater individual liberty.
This example reflects how in some cases, the outcome of these debates has resulted in the expansion of individual liberties, such as the abolition of slavery and the expansion of voting rights. In other cases, government efforts to promote stability and order have been prioritized, leading to restrictions on individual liberties. During times of war, the protection of civil liberties has often come into conflict with government efforts to promote stability and order. For example, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II was motivated by the government's desire to protect national security. However, this policy was criticized as a violation of individual liberties, and it is now widely viewed as a dark chapter in American history. The Patriot Act, which was passed in the aftermath of 9/11, is another example of how the protection of civil liberties can be curtailed in the name of national security.
This balancing dynamic has also been reflected in the policies related to economic regulation and the role of the government in the economy. The debates over the role of government in providing social services, protecting the environment, and regulating the economy all reflect the tension between individual freedom and government efforts to promote stability and order.
On the one hand, proponents of individual liberty argue that the government should stay out of the economy and allow market forces to operate freely. They believe that this will promote economic growth and prosperity and that individuals should be free to make their own economic decisions. On the other hand, proponents of government efforts to promote stability and order argue that the government has a duty to regulate the economy to ensure that it operates fairly and equitably.
The debate over economic regulation has played out in various policy debates, including debates over the creation of the Federal Reserve System, the New Deal reforms, and the recent financial crisis. In each case, the outcome of these debates reflects the balance between individual liberty and government efforts to promote stability and order.
For example, the creation of the Federal Reserve System was motivated by the desire to promote stability and order in the economy. This policy was seen as a way to prevent the boom-and-bust cycles that had plagued the economy in the past. On the other hand, the New Deal reforms were driven by a desire to promote individual liberty and provide economic security to citizens during the Great Depression.
The recent financial crisis is another example of how the debate over economic regulation has played out. The government's response to the crisis, including the bailouts of financial institutions and the implementation of financial regulation, reflected a shift towards greater government efforts to promote stability and order in the economy. This policy response was seen as necessary to prevent a total collapse of the financial system and to restore stability to the economy.

Stay Connected

© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.