US pressure groups

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 16-01-19 22:30


  • the founding fathers did not talk about pressure groups
  • they weren't contacted by powerful firms
  • talked a lot about factions in the society they were trying to organise and govern
  • Madison thought factions were a threat to a stable and secure democracy, but were also sown in the nature of man
  • Madison worried that groups would be more likely to oppress than liberate
  • believed that the aim of all right-thinking people should be to cure the mischiefs of faction
  • the theoretical basis of pressure group activity is pluralism
  • a theory that political power does not rest simply with the electorate or the governing elite, but is distributed among groups representing widely different interests
  • has been written about and debated by a host of eminent political philosophers through the years
  • David Truman, The Governmental Process, 1951- politics can be understood only by studying the way different groups interacted with one another
  • Robert Dahl, Who Governs?, 1960s
  • C. Wright Mill, The Power Elite, 1956
  • Mills argued that the US was ruled by a small governing elite and that ordinary Americans had little real control over how they were governed or who governed them
  • Dahl claimed that US society was based on pluralism
  • in political party nominations, urban redevelopment and public education, widely differing groups of ordinary Americans were active and influential
  • democracy is a process in which there is a high probability that an active and legitimate group in the population can make itself heard effectively at some crucial stage in the process of making decisions
  • democracy is all about compromise between competing groups

types of pressure group

  • pressure groups seek to influence those who have control of government
  • vary considerably in size, wealth and influence
  • in the US they operate at all levels of government and seek to bring their influence to bear on all three branches of government
  • there are numerous typologies of pressure groups

sectional groups

  • seek to represent their own section or group within society
  • business and trade groups- the American Business Conference, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Automobile Dealers Association
  • the US Chamber of Commerce represents thousands of different businesses across the nation
  • the labour unions represent a particular trade- the United Auto Workers, the Teamsters (truck drivers)
  • The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organisations is the US equivalent to the UK TUC
  • sectional groups representing the interests of America's agriculture- American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmer's Union, Associated Milk Producers Incorporated
  • americans might join a group that represents individuals with a common gender, ethnic, religious or social characteristic
  • National Organisation for Women
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • the Christian Coalition of America
  • American Association of Retired Persons
  • professional group- pressure group organised to promote the interest of a profession or business
  • American Medical Association, National Education Association, American Bar Association
  • intergovernmental pressure groups lobby one level of government on behalf of another- National Governors' Conference

causal groups

  • campaign for a particular cause or issue
  • americans like to join groups…


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