Government Vocab Chapter 1

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Politics

the struggle over power or influence within organizations or informal groups that can grant or withhold benefits or privileges

Institution

an ongoing organization that performs certain functions for society

Government

the institution in which decisions are made that resolve conflicts or allocate benefits and privileges

Government

the ultimate authority in society

Order

a state of peace and security

Order

oldest purpose of the government = to protect members of society from violence and criminal activity

Liberty

the greatest freedom of individuals that is consistent with the freedom of other individuals in society

Authority

The right and power of a government or other entity to enforce its decisions and compel obedience

Legitimacy

Popular acceptance of the right and power of a government or other entity to exercise authority

Totalitarian Regime

a form of government that controls all aspects of the political and social life of a nation

Authoritarianism

a type of regime in which only the government is fully controlled by the ruler, but social and economic institutions exist without the government's control.

Aristocracy

rule by the "best" aka rich upper-class people

Democracy

a system of government in which political authority is vested in the people

Direct Democracy

a system of government in which political decisions are made by the people directly, rather than by their elected representatives; attained most easily in small political communities

Legislature

a governmental body primarily responsible for the making of laws

Initiative

a procedure by which voters can propose a law or constitutional amendments

Referendum

an electoral device whereby legislative or constitutional measures are referred by the legislature to the voters for approval or disapproval

Recall

a procedure allowing the people to vote to dismiss an elected official from state office before his or her term has expired

Consent of the People

the idea that governments and laws derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed

Republic

a form of government in which sovereignty rests with the people as opposed to a king or monarch

Popular Sovereignty

the concept that ultimate political authority is based on the will of the people

Democratic Republic

a republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies

Representative Democracy

a republic in which representatives elected by the people make and enforce laws and policies (Democratic Republic), but the monarchy can remain in a ceremonial role

Universal Suffrage

the right of all adults to vote

Majority

more than 50%

Majority Rule

a basic principle of democracy asserting that the greatest number of citizens in any political unit should select officials and determine policies

Limited Government

the principle that the powers of the government should be limited, usually by institutional checks

Majoritarianism

a theory saying that in a democracy, the government ought to do what the majority of the people want

Elite Theory

a theory saying that society is ruled by a small number of people who exercise power to further their self-interest

Pluralism

a theory that views politics as a conflict among interest groups who make decisions based on bargaining and compromise

Political Socialization

the process through which individuals learn a set of political attitudes and form opinions about social issues. Ex: Family and the Education System

Dominant Culture

the values, customs, and language established by the group or groups that traditionally have controlled politics and government in a society

Equality

as a political value, the idea that all people are of equal worth

Property

anything that is or may be subject to ownership

Property

the natural right superior to laws made by the government

Capitalism

an economic system characterized by the private ownership of wealth-creating assets, free markets, and freedom of contract

Eminent Domain

a power set forth in the 5th Amendment that allows the government to take private property for public use under the condition that compensation is offered to the landowner

Ideology

a comprehensive set of beliefs about the nature of people and about the role of an institution or government

Conservatism

a set of beliefs that includes a limited role for the national government in helping individuals, support for traditional values and lifestyles, and a cautious response to change

Liberalism

a set of beliefs that included the advocacy of positive government action to improve the welfare of individuals, support for civil rights, and tollerance for political and social change

Socialism

a political ideology based on strong support for economic and social equality

Socialism

people who traditionally envisioned a society in which major businesses were taken over by the government or by employee cooperatives

Libertarianism

a political ideology based on skepticisms or opposition toward almost all government activities

Communism

a revolutionary variant of socialism that favors a partisan dictatorship, government control of all enterprises, and the replacement of free markets by central planning

Fascism

a 20th century ideology (often totalitarian) that exalts the national collective united behind an absolute ruler

Fascism

a ideology that rejects liberal individualism, values action over rational deliberation, and glorifies war

Hispanic

someone who can claim a heritage from a Spanish-speaking country other than Spain

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