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GOVT 458- Essay: Policy Theories Assignment

Aug 3, 2023

There are several policy theories that we use to understand extremely complex issues and the impact they may have on many different layers of society. Remember, policy theories are abstract representations of the real world to help us understand the way things work.
You will write an essay where you take your policy from Essay: Policy Topic Assignment and identify the appropriateness of each of the theories to your policy topic: Elite Theory, Group Theory, Institutional Theory, Rational Choice Theory, and Political Systems Theory.
4-6 pages not including the title page or references
APA-7’s “Student Version”
4-5 scholarly sources

Essay: Policy Theories Assignment


The Constitution was written in a revolutionary time frame. The ideas were inspired and constructed by investigating past experiences. The framers learned from the colonial time era and structured the Constitution effectively to run a new civilization. Concerning the First Amendment to the Constitution, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” (2022). The ‘freedom of religion’ is referred to as the right to practice various Protestant denominations. George Mason, who was one of the founding fathers, addressed the following words about the First Amendment, which clearly illustrates the context of their phrasing, “All men have an equal, natural and unalienable right to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular sect or society of Christians ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.” (, 2022). The education policy supports the historical and foundational principles of the American Constitution which should be acknowledged by society.

Elite Theory:

The Elite theory believes that the members of a small minority, holding an elite position or higher position in society, hold power and have a higher influence in the society (Anyebe, 2018). These people are from the “Ruling Class”. As stated by Mustafa, Yaseen, Arslan & Imran (2021), public policy, in reality, is formulated according to the interests of the elite group which is divided into two parts, namely, the governing group and the non-governing group. The domination of the individuals acquiring huge amounts of economic resources, that is, individuals with high income and a huge amount of wealth, over the policymaking process in the United States is a matter of argument. The majority of these elites are quite well and highly educated and have degrees from the best institutions. People attending these institutions have control over Congress. The Presidents of the United States have traditionally graduated from either of these excellent institutions. According to the theorists who believe in the Elite theory, they dominate the economic growth of the country by utilizing their riches to help others below them progress monetarily. Because of their riches, the elites can secure prominent roles in politics and government. This idea may strongly favor the strategy, relying on a recent set of elites. The majority of these elites are supported by faith-based groups that help companies. A system of education that concentrates not just on the Constitution but also on the opinions of the Farmers of the Constitution is consistent with the individualism in the Elite theory.

Group Theory:

The Elite theory is opposed by the Group theory. Public policy, according to the group theory, is the result of a struggle among several groups in society (Anyebe, 2018). The Group theory believes that groups will be formed by people sharing similar interests so that petitions can be formed so that the politicians get to know about that. Nearly 70% to 90% of the people of the United States belong to at least one group as reported (Anyebe, 2018). Their belief regarding the distribution of political power is that it is distributed across society rather than being allocated to the general public. The influence of some groups is higher in some particular issues when compared with other groups. The education policy regarding the principles of Biblical worldview as the foundation of the Constitution of the United States can be supported by several groups which are faith-based so that the students can be taught about the context and history of the Founding Fathers of the Constitution. However, many groups will exist in opposition to this education policy on the ground of the statement of the Constitution regarding no religion dominating any other religions, that is, “Freedom of Religion”.

Institutional Theory:

Government entities exercise control and provide legitimacy to policy, according to the Institutional theory. They investigate how the jurisdictions for decision-making and legal powers are governed by the government. For public policy to become public policy, it must be chosen, enacted, and strengthened by certain government entities. This type of policy theory is regulated by government institutions and the political power structure. Procedural regulations and some characteristics of the structure of government can strengthen or block political objectives according to institutional theory (Kraft & Furlong, 2019). The education theory of the Biblical perspective in the Constitution is most directly or indirectly influenced by institutional theory. This argument is primarily based on politics and traditional domination, as well as the particular type of government now in power, which would claim that this policy still performs a legitimate purpose even when there is some containment of religious messages.

Rational Theory:

The most precise theory among all the theories of public policy is that the figures of the choice and interests of the general public as well as the society are looked at by rationalism. According to Kraft & Furlong (2019), mathematical modeling and economic theory, especially microeconomic theory are the foundation of this theory. The rationality of people is criticized in this theory since wrong decisions can be made due to the availability of unequal and insufficient information regarding any specific issue. A policy based on secular grounds rather than focused on any particular religion and religious views is supported by the rational theory. As an example of rationality, the case regarding the issue of the Biblical worldview of the Constitution of the United States, namely, Court Van Orden v. Perry (2005) can be illustrated. Texas was sued by Thomas Van Orden on the grounds of showcasing the Ten Commandment Monument by which the Texas State Capitol is surrounded. Van Orden argued that monuments on the premises of the state capitol promote religious sanction, which is unlawful. The plea of Orden regarding the removal of the monument was refused by the Federal court. The conclusion was reached that the Ten Commandments monument on the site of the Texas Capitol did not violate the Establishment Clause. Further claims included that rational observers would infer that religion was not advocated by the State, after learning about the history of the monument, setting, and intention (Ravitch, n.d.). The Biblical interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is both accurate and contextually relevant.

Policy Systems Theory:

The most generalized theory among all is the Policy Systems Theory. Inputs, according to this theory, are received from their environment and those are converted into outputs. In other words, the theory through which public policy is conceived as a tool through which the demands from the environment of the political system are responded to is regarded as policy system theory (Anyebe, 2018). This policy proposed by this theory is based on standard and general preferences in the context of culture, economy, and society, and the focus is mainly on the broader depiction of society (Kraft & Furlong, 2019). Hence, the key focus of this theory is on the interest of the society and the way of the response of the government to the demand of the society. The education policy regarding the worldview influence of the Bible on the constitution of the United States is most likely not to be supported by this theory. As mentioned before also, the requirements of the public and responding to the demands of the public are the basis of this theory. The changed actual meaning and context of the Constitution has resulted in people being less informed about the influence of the Biblical principle in the Constitution of the United States.


The constitution was drafted during a revolutionary period. Previous experiences were used to motivate and create the concepts. The architects of the Constitution learned from colonial history and skillfully designed the Constitution to govern a new culture. The promotion of the historical and foundational and historical values of the Constitution of the United States, which society should recognize, is done through the formulation of the education policy.


Anyebe, A. A. (2018). An overview of approaches to the study of public policy. International Journal of Political Science (IJPS), 4(1), 8-17.
Kraft, M. E., & Furlong, S. R. (2019). Public policy: Politics, analysis, and alternatives. Cq Press.
Krutz, G., & Waskiewicz, S. (2019). Who Governs? Elitism, Pluralism, and Tradeoffs. American Government 2e.
Mustafa, G., Yaseen, Z., Arslan, M., & Imran, M. (2021). THEORETICAL APPROACHES TO STUDY PUBLIC POLICY: AN ANALYSIS OF THE CYCLIC/STAGES HEURISTIC MODEL. PalArch’s Journal of Archaeology of Egypt/Egyptology, 18(10), 1307-1321.
Ravitch, F. S. (n.d.). Van Orden v. Perry (2005). THE FIRST AMENDMENT ENCYCLOPEDIA. Retrieved February 18, 2022, from (2022). Constitution of the United States. United States Senate. Retrieved from [Retrieved on February 18, 2022]

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