The broadly shared beliefs, values, and norms that citizens share about their government are the basis of political culture. It is determined by a state’s history and preserved through existing political institutions, and is conveyed through public attitudes. Political culture is a unique and patterned way of thinking about how political and economic life should be carried out. Characteristics of political life include liberty, individualism, equality, democracy, civic duty, mistrust of government, political efficacy, political tolerance, pragmatism, ideology, optimism, nationalism, rule of law, and justice. Political culture is one of the numerous aspects which influence how institutions operate how political processes play out. Political culture is the cause of both problems and resources to solve them. Without political culture, establishment of values would cease to exist and there would be no way to govern the nation.
Political culture can be examined in countless ways by many different standpoints. All societies create a culture that is neither right nor wrong. Most Americans believe they need protection from what the government does to them, not for them. One way in particular of looking at political culture is in the eyes of Karl Marx. Societal power relationships are dialectical. Marx believes in superstructure, or tools built to help preserve and implement the presented system of property relations. To Marx there was a society where he evaluated and wrote about his ideas on how to improve that society for the mass, not just for the few. There is no perfect system for everyone everywhere, but the writings and ideas of Marx were very ground-breaking for the time.
Political culture is rarely clean cut-attitudes always change over time. History, religion, and family are among some of the many sources of political culture. Most states have characteristics that reflect more than one political culture. The political culture of a state provides a foundation for the values and beliefs of its citizens about the suitable role of government. State’s political culture is best expressed by citizen’s attitudes toward the government and public representatives. Political participation is a reflection of a state’s dominant culture. Elections are the chief mechanism for expressing attitudes and beliefs about the direction of government. Political opinions are formed from personal beliefs, political knowledge, and cues from leaders.