the institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies.
all of the many goals that a government pursues in all of the many areas of human affairs in which it is involved. (laws)
the power to make a law and to frame public policies. (city council, county commissioners, state Congress, and Congress)
the power to execute, enforce, and administer law. (the mayor, head of county commission, governor, and President)
the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes within the society. (the courts)
the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government.
a form of government in which the leader has absolute power and authority.
a form of government in which the supreme authority rests with the people.
a body of people living in a defined territory who have a government with the power to make and enforce law without the consent of any higher authority.
having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority.
a form of government in which a single person holds unlimited political power.
a form of government in which the power to rule is held by a small, usually self-appointed elite.
a centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single, central agency.
a form of government in which powers are divided between a central government and several local governments.
Division of Powers
basic principle of federalism; the constitutional provisions by which governmental powers are divided on a geographic basis (in the United States, between the National Government and the States).
a joining of several groups for a common purpose.
a form of government in which the executive and legislative branches of the government are separate, independent, and coequal.
a form of government in which the executive branch is made up of the prime minister or premier, and that official's cabinet.
in a democracy, the majority of the people will be right more often than they will be wrong, and will be right more often than will any one person or small group.
an adjustment of opposing principles or systems by modifying some aspect of each.
a member of a state or nation who owes allegiance to it by birth or naturalization and is entitled to full civil rights.
Free Enterprise System
an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods; investments that are determined by private decision rather than by state control, and determined in a free market.
basic principle of American government which states that government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that government cannot take away.
system of government in which public policies are made by officials selected by the voters and held accountable in periodic elections.
Great Charter forced upon Kind John of England by his barons in 1215; established that the power of the monarchy was not absolute and guaranteed trial by jury and due process of law to the nobility.
Petition of Right
document prepared by Parliament and signed by King Charles I of England in 1628; challenged the idea of the divine right of kings and declared that even the monarch was subject to the laws of the land.
English Bill of Rights
document written by Parliament and agreed on by William and Mary of England in 1689, designed to prevent abuse of power by English monarchs; forms the basis for much in American government and politics today.
a city's basic law, its constitution; a written grant of authority from the king.
an adjective describing a legislative body composed of two chambers.
organized by a proprietor (a person to whom the king had made a grant of land).
an adjective describing a legislative body with one chamber.
Albany Plan of Union
plan proposed by Benjamin Franklin in 1754 that aimed to unite the 13 colonies for trade military, and other purposes; the plan was turned down by the colonies and the Crown.
representatives; members of Congress who cast votes based on the wishes of their constituents.
basic principle of the American system of government which asserts that the people are the source of any and all government power, and government can exist only with the consent of the governed.
Articles of Confederation
plan of government adopted by the Continental Congress after the American Revolution; established "a firm league of friendship" among the States, but allowed few important powers to the central government.
formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty.
group of delegates who drafted the United States Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
plan presented by delegates from Virginia at the Constitutional Convention; called for a three-branch government with a bicameral legislature in which each State's membership would be determined by its population or its financial support for the central government.
New Jersey Plan
plan presented as an alternative to the Virginia Plan at the Constitutional Convention; called for a unicameral legislature in which each State would be equally represented.
agreement during the Constitutional Convention that Congress should be composed of a Senate, in which States would be represented equally, and a House, in which representation would be based on a State's population.
an agreement at the Constitutional Convention to count a slave as 3/5 of a person when determining the population of a State.
Commerce and Slave Trade Compromise
an agreement during the Constitutional Convention protecting slave holders; denied Congress the power to tax the export of goods from any State, and, for 20 years, the power to act on the slave trade.
those persons who supported the ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788.
those persons who opposed the ratification of the Constitution in 1787-1788.
basic principle that government and those who govern must obey the law; the rule of law.
Rule of Law
concept that holds that government and its officers are always subject to the law.
Separation of Powers
basic principle of American system of government, that the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are divided among three independent and coequal branches of government.
Checks and Balances
system of overlapping the powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to permit each branch to check the actions of the others.
chief executive's (president) power to reject a bill passed by a legislature; Latin word of "I forbid".
the power of a court to determine the constitutionality of a government action.
contrary to constitutional provision and so illegal, null and void, of no force and effect.
a system of government in which a written constitution divides power between a central, or national, government and several regional governments.
a change in, or addition to, a constitution or a law.
formal approval, final consent to the effectiveness of a constitution, constitutional amendment, or treaty.
change or addition that becomes part of the written language of the Constitution itself through one of four methods set forth in the Constitution.
Bill of Rights
the first ten amendments to the Constitution.
a pact made by the President directly with the head of a foreign state; a binding international agreement with the force of law but which (unlike a treaty) does not require Senate consent.
a formal agreement between two or more sovereign states.
group of persons chosen in each State and the District of Columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the President and Vice President.
presidential advisory body, traditionally made up of the heads of the executive departments and other officers.
custom that the Senate will not approve a presidential appointment opposed by a majority party senator from the State in which the appointee would serve.
those powers, expressed, implied, or inherent, granted to the National Government by the Constitution.
those delegated powers of the National Government that are spelled out, expressly, in the Constitution; also called the "enumerated powers".
those delegated powers of the National Government that are suggested by the expressed powers set out in the Constitution; those "necessary and proper" to carry out the expressed powers.
powers the Constitution is presumed to have delegated to the National Government because it is the government of a sovereign state within the world community.
those powers that the Constitution does not grant to the National Government and does not, at the same time, deny to the States.
those powers that can be exercised by the National Government alone.
those powers that both the National Government and the States possess and exercise.
a provision of the U.S. Constitution that states that the Constitution, federal law, and treaties of the United States are the "supreme Law of the Land".
a congressional act directing the people of a United States territory to frame a proposed State constitution as a step towards admission to the Union.
Act of Admission
congressional act admitting a new State to the Union.
grants of federal money or other resources to States, cities, counties, and other local units.
one type of federal grants-in-aid; made for some specific, closely defined, purpose.
one type of federal grants-in-aid for some particular but broadly defined area of public policy.
one type of federal grants-in-aid; made for specific projects to States, localities, and private agencies who apply for them.
formal agreement entered into with the consent of Congress, between or among States, or between a State and a foreign state.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Constitution's requirement that each State accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State.
the legal process by which a fugitive from justice in one State is returned to that State.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
constitution's stipulation (Article IV, Section 2) that all citizens are entitled to certain "privileges and immunities," regardless of their State or residence; no State can draw unreasonable distinctions between its own residents and those persons who happen to live in other States.
a group of persons who seek to control government through the winning of elections and the holding of public office.
the range of political views.
government action based on firm allegiance to a political party.
electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office.
in an election, the number of votes that the leading candidate obtains over the next highest candidate.
supported by two parties.
general agreement among various groups on fundamental matters; broad agreement on public questions.
a temporary alliance of several groups who come together to form a working majority and so to control a government.
the current officeholder.
a conflicting group.
the practice of giving offices and other favors of government to political supporters and friends.
a narrow-minded concern for, or devotion to, the interests of one section of a country.
parties based on a particular set of beliefs, a comprehensive view of social, economic, and political matters.
parties that concentrate on only one public policy matter.
Economic Protest Parties
parties rooted in poor economic times, lacking a clear ideological base, dissatisfied with current conditions and demanding better times.
parties that have split away from one of the major parties.
a unit into which cities are often divided for the election of city council members.
the smallest unit of election administration; a voting district.
the right to vote.
synonym for the right to vote.
denied the right to vote.
a special tax; demanded by States, as a condition of voting.
foreign-born resident, or noncitizen.
person living in a State for only a short time, without legal residence.
the process of reviewing lists of registered voters and removing the names of those no longer eligible to vote; a purification.
list of all registered voters in each precinct.
a person's ability to read or write.
congressional election that occurs between presidential election years.
the phenomenon by which voters cast fewer votes for offices listed toward the bottom of the ballot.
one's own influence or effectiveness on politics.
the process by which people gain their political attitudes and opinions.
measurable differences between the partisan choices of men and women today.
loyalty of people to a political party.
the practice of voting for candidates of only one party in an election.
voting for candidates of different parties for different offices at the same election.
a term used to describe people who have no party affiliation.
the process of candidate selection in an electoral system.
the regularly scheduled election at which voters make a final selection of officeholders.
as a nominating device, a group of like-minded people who meet to select the candidates they will support in an upcoming election.
a party nominating election in which only declared party members can vote.
a party-nominating election in which any qualified voter can take part.
a voting process in which voters receive a long ballot containing the names of all contenders, regardless of party, and can vote however they choose.
a primary in which the top two vote-getters in the first direct primary face one another.
election in which candidates are not identified by party labels.
the device voters use to register a choice in an election.
provisions made for those unable to get to their regular polling places on election day.
the effect of a strong candidate running for an office at the top of a ballot helping to attract voters to other candidates on the party's ticket.
the place where the voters who live in a certain precinct go to vote.
Political Action Committee (PAC)
the political extension of special-interest groups which have a major stake in public policy.
a grant of money, usually from a government.
campaign money that is subject to regulations by the FEC.
money given to State and local party organizations for voting-related activities.