Interest Groups and Lobbyists perform many of the
same functions in politics. Lobbyists act privately,
Interest Groups act publicly.
Jot down the names of three interest groups
you have heard of or might know of.
Their Impact on
Private organizations that try to persuade public
officials to respond to the shared attitudes of
What might be some of the “positions”
of the groups you named?
Snowmen Against Spring
Goals of Interest Groups
• Increase awareness about social problems
• Collect and mobilize public opinion
• Attract the interest of politicians to cause
• Become active at several levels of government.
• Generate some sort of change
“Pluralism” Rules Society
• Majority rarely rules – not enough agreement
• “Factions” (James Madison) dominate politics
• The more people the more factions
• Factions of yesterday are today’s interest groups
Interest Groups and
• Who belongs to a club or other
organization outside of school?
• How are interest groups and minor
political parties similar?
• How are they different?
Effect of Interest Groups
• Generate interest in “Public Affairs” &
promote participation in government.
• Unite people with common interests
• Supply information with which government
can make policy decisions.
• Participate in Checks and Balances – “keep
politicians honest” by watching them.
‘Dark Side’ of Interest Groups
• Influence out of proportion to importance
• Tactics intimidate society into concessions
• Minority of insiders control groups’ agendas
& cease to represent the group they claim
• Can hide the real purpose of their mission
EPIC is a public interest research center in Washington, D.C.
EPIC was established in 1994 to focus public attention on
emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First
Amendment, and constitutional values.
Common Dreams is a national non-profit citizens'
organization working to bring progressive Americans
together to promote progressive visions for America's
We are committed to being on the cutting-edge of using the
internet as a political organizing tool - and creating new
models for internet activism.
Preserving Family Values in a Media Driven
Providing parental control solutions for families concerned about
the profanity, promiscuity and violence in today's media and
We're fighting to maintain and expand 50 years of legal
and social justice progress that right-wing leaders are
trying to dismantle. We won't let them turn back the
clock on our rights and freedoms."
Some Common Examples
• Business and Industry
US Chamber of Commerce
National Association of Manufacturers
AFL-CIO - Labor Unions
National Farmers Union
American Medical Association
American Bar Association
National Education Association
Groups for ‘Causes’
American Civil Liberties Union
National Rifle Association
Groups for Specific Groups
National Assn. for the Advancement of
American Association of Retired Persons
National Council of Churches
1. Create and name a new Interest Group, that you think needs to be in existence, using
groups we examined today as a guide to your thinking.
2. Write a 2 sentence “Mission Statement” explaining the reason for its existence.
3. List three types of people that would be interested in joining your group. Who
would you solicit as members?
4. Identify at least 2 kinds of public officials (politicians, school officials, etc…) who could
help you accomplish your goals
5. Identify and describe 2 ‘tactics’ you would use to get your message out and recruit
6. Due Monday 12/10 in class. Two pages double spaced, 12 pt. New Times Roman