Lesson 2: Populism

The United States was, arguably, founded on the idea of populism.  But what is populism? The term gets thrown around modern politics with such frequency that you could assume populism is synonymous with the modern Republican “Tea Party”, or the Democratic “Resistance” movements.

Before we continue, conduct an online search for the term Populism.  Write the definition in your Cornell Notes Template.

Now that you have a good definition of populism, let’s discuss what the term is not.  For the duration of this course it is imperative for you to remember that populism is not specific to a single political party, movement, or ideology.  Populism is simply a group of everyday citizens banded together by a common idea choosing to use the power of their collective vote to affect political change, as such change would benefit the group’s interests.  Different portions of society embody the definition of populism throughout the 20th century.

It is important to note that while populism can, and often does, include portions of society that have not yet gained the right to vote, politicians rarely concern themselves with the needs and aspirations of the non-voting populace.

Write this questions in the Objective portion of your Cornell Notes Template:

  • Is it morally correct for a politician to only concern himself or herself with needs of the voting public?
  • What risks would a politician be taking by ignoring or embracing one portion of society over another?

Click here to watch a brief video from Seeker Daily about the definition of populism.

After you have watched the video, return to Google Classroom to complete the assignments associated with this lesson. Or click here to download the lesson files if you are not in my classroom.

Once you have completed and turned in the assignments for this lesson, answer the above question in the “summary” portion of your Cornell Notes.


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