Political Science paper for 2 page

Introduction to US Politics Political Science 21A

Matthew N. Beckmann

UC Irvine


Professor Matthew N. Beckmann

Department of Political Science

2253 Social Science Bldg B

(949) 824-6219

[email protected]

Office Hours:

Tues 11:15-12:15 at Starbucks (just behind Bio Sci III)

First Things First

Teaching Assistants

Nathanial Deken

Mirette Marcos

Melina Much

Judney Pierre




Course Expectations

III. The American Dream

4 Elements of the American Dream

Synopsis of the American Dream

IV. Looking Forward


Website: beckmann.rocketmix.com

Password: vote20

Section Attendance Required – starting next week.


Can you summarize the main points?

How does this fit with the corresponding lecture?



“Science and common sense are both pretty clear here. If you want to learn something from a class or lecture — or, from that matter, a meeting, conference, or any other situation where you're basically sitting and listening — you're best off taking notes with pen and paper.”

Research Day (Still Thinking)



Introduction: The American Dream

“The American dream that we were all raised on is a simple but powerful one – if you work hard and play by the rules you should be given a chance to go as far as your God-given ability will take you.”

- President Clinton, 1993


Introduction: The American Dream

“We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.”

– President Obama, 2013


Four Elements of the American Dream

Who Can Have the Dream?

How Do You Achieve It?

What Are Your Chances?

Why Is It Always Good?


Who Can Have the Dream?


Regardless of class, race, gender, religion, or anything else, everyone can be part of the American Dream.


How Do You Achieve It?

Hard work.

Survey after survey shows Americans agree with the statement that “there is plenty of opportunity and anyone who works hard can go as far as he wants.”


What Are Your Chances?

Good, but no guarantees.

Americans believe deeply that all people should (and do) have a chance to succeed, but that success should not simply be given to those who don’t work for it.


Why is it Always Good?

What is good for you is good for society.

The idea is that one person’s success does not come at the expense of anyone else’s, and in fact may help everyone (e.g., cure cancer).


Synopsis of the American Dream

The American Dream is a nice ideal:

Success is possible for everyone, and achieving it depends on hard work and merit.


Looking Forward


What if not everyone has an equal shot?

What if one person’s success comes at the expense of another person?

What do we do with “failures?”


Looking Forward, cont.

This is where politics comes into play!

The remainder of this course is aimed at analyzing the theory and practice of politics in the United States of America.