If American constitutional democracy is to continue, its citizens must realize that it is not “a machine that would work on its own.” They must also be aware of the difficulty of creating free institutions, as evidenced by the experience of the founders and the events in today`s world. American constitutional democracy requires the continued and committed participation of an attentive, competent and reflective citizenship. Finally, participation rates in older age groups tend to decline under the influence, for example, of health problems, loss of a politically active spouse, retirement and declining family incomes. In summary, the more general withdrawal from social life leads to a less close connection with political life (Cutler and Bengtson, 1974, 163). Figure 1 illustrates the interaction between periodic effects and cohort effects, By recording annual averages of attitudes against inter-national marriage for four different birth cohorts in the United States between 1972 and 2004.2 While same-sex marriage may have replaced interracial marriage as a prominent political theme, the example illustrates the idea of generational change by focusing on a concrete political attitude. Figure 1 allows us to examine whether birth cohorts differ in their racial attitude. The oldest cohort – born before 1930 – was still socialized in a racially divided country, considering that the cohort, born after 1970, grew up after the turbulent periods of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, when racial discrimination was legally abolished3. As Jennings said, each group in a different way. A cohort is broadly defined as “a number of people with common characteristics” (Glenn 2005, 2). This common characteristic is often the year of birth. Cohorts are generally subdivided into equal periods (for example. B of five or ten years of birth), the annual margin can be dictated for each cohort by theoretical concerns or data restrictions.
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