Models of individual-level politics generally lack an adequate explanation of the origins of people's predispositions. In this dissertation, I provide a theoretical framework for thinking about pre-political dispositions -- stable individual differences that explain variation in the ways individuals approach political issiues and problems. Using survey data, I show how measures of these pre-political dispositions are associated with political identities, attitudes, and behaviors at the individual lelve. I also develop measures of the distribution of these pre-political dispositions in the mass public (aggregated to the congressional district level) and show how legislators react to the concerns of their constituents. In the final part of the dissertation, I show how political elites harness the pre-political dispositions to frame political conflicts.