Advantages and Disadvantages of Pressure Groups in America

  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 26-05-13 11:37

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pressure Groups in America


  • Provide legislators and bureaucrats with important info and act as a sounding board for legislators
  • Bring some order to the political debate - aggregate views and channel interests of members
  • Broaden opportunities for participation in democracy
  • Increase levels of accountability
  • Increase opportunities for representation between elections
  • Offer opportunities for minorities views to be heard which might otherwise have been lost
  • Enhance freedom of speech and association
  • US political process is conduction to PGs and there are many access points


  • Revolving Door Syndrome - 43% of retiring congress members between 1998 and 2000 became lobbyists
  • Iron Triangle Syndrome = strong relationship between pressure groups, committees and government departments
  • Inequality of groups e.g. Environment = Big business resources vs. protectionist groups
  • Special Interests vs. Public Interests
  • Buying political influence = Senator Edward Kennedy - America has 'the finest Congress that money can buy'
  • Use of direct action


Pressure groups enhance democracy and encourage participation in politics, particularly in America where there are so many access points, most notably in Congress. However Revolving Door Syndrome and Iron Triangle syndrome are becoming big issues in America and making the pressure group system unfair. Therefore when judging the importance of pressure groups in America, these disadvantages are important, even though they do enhance democracy and participation.


Old Sir


A good example of succinct organisation of the factors affecting an issue which has already been revised in detail. This method might suit students coming to the end of their revision of a topic and beginning to concentrate of questions which might come up.